Masks and young students are like oil and water

Columnist Tatyiana Hayes. Photo courtesy Hayes

I am getting ready to graduate from Florida A&M University later this year. In the meantime, I am a substitute teacher for the Leon County School District.

Oftentimes I am assigned to elementary schools. It’s amazing what I have learned about these youngsters when it comes to wearing a mask during the pandemic.

Children in the class have a hard time projecting their voice in the classroom, which forces them to have to take their mask off or down in order to get whatever it is that they need to say out.

Being assigned to high schools, I notice that the older students are, of course, more aware of their mask and the measures they need to take while in school in order to be safe.

At the beginning of the day when the students arrive, they go through a mandatory check-in before entering the school.

During this check-in, a mask can be provided to students who may not have arrived with one. If their temperature is at a certain level the student is to return home and complete the remainder of the day at home until a test is done.

In the classrooms there are dividers that separate the students while they are at their desks.

Most people would think that the younger students would be a little more destructive on the dividers but it turns out it’s the older students who are.

Students will pick at the dividers to potentially try and take them down so they have easy access to the person that may be sitting on the side or in front of them.

The traffic between the transition classes seems to still be as hectic as it was before the pandemic started. There is nothing in place to avoid the students from having close contact with one another. The administration  at the schools I’ve been assigned to seem to believe that letting the students out at certain times whereas they used to be let out all together is a better solution. However, with the number of students in the schools there is no logical way to transition while adhering to CDC guidelines and being timely.

It is a constant struggle on the teachers whether it was a good idea to return to work, especially if it was an elementary school teacher.

Working in both areas has shown me that realistically the students know what to do its just a matter of them putting what they know into action while they’re in school.