Back in August when our school district began considering having in-person school, many people wondered if they would be able to get the students to wear masks all day. Would the kindergartners be able to keep their masks on? Would teens think they didn’t need them and keep taking them off? Would teachers spend most of their time telling students to put back on or to stop messing with their masks?
When students started going back to school in the middle of September, these concerns seemed baseless as it seems students are able to keep their masks on and somewhat consistently follow the social distancing guidelines.
Last week, I saw on a social media site a parent complaining about high school students standing outside of a restaurant before school. They were not social distanced or wearing masks. This parent thought it was bad form for the parents to not stress to their children the importance of these important precautions to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
But I think this is more an isolated incident. I pick my high schooler up every day from school. To do so, I park in the student parking lot and wait for him. I see lots of high schoolers walking to their car (or to other parents waiting). And you know what, 98% of them are wearing masks as they walk to their cars. It impresses me as I don’t even do that. Once I leave a store, my mask is off. (I rarely wear a mask while outside and socially distant from others.)
And if I was walking to school as my middle schooler does, I probably wouldn’t be wearing my mask until I reached the school grounds. But the few times I have driven her to school, I see students walking to school with their masks on. Even my daughter wears her mask as she walks to or from school.
Now I don’t have a child in the elementary school so I have not seen how well they are or are not handling it but from what I can see at my kids’ schools, the mask wearing is not an issue. The socially distancing part is a different matter. I know in the classrooms and at lunch, the students are keeping apart, but at school dismissal and when they change classrooms, I know they aren’t keeping 6 feet apart.
Overall our school district is doing a good job of keeping our students safe. The positivity rate for the school has been 1-2% while the positivitiy rate in our city is significantly higher (12% last week). The school does contact tracing and the positive cases have all been traced back to off campus activities. Just look at social media and I bet you can guess where these transmissions occur. There are tons of posts of people gathering – and few if any are wearing masks. It seems the schools are doing a better job of preventing the spread of COVID than the parents and other adults are.