Teaching and learning with masks


Emily Steele, Head Editor

It’s hard to ignore how fast masks became an essential part of our everyday lives when COVID-19 hit. Now, almost everywhere you go a mask is required. Although at first masks were met with a bit of resistance and hesitation, most people have become comfortable with the use of masks in everyday life.

Back in March, Kelly Walsh High School had to shut down due to this global pandemic. As virtual classes continued through June and the class of 2020 graduated, administration had to find a way to make school a safe and healthy environment for students to return to in September. As a result of this, masks were implemented in order to have school as normal as possible for new and returning students. Staff and students at Kelly Walsh are required to wear masks at all times unless socially distanced. Teachers had to learn to do their job with a mask and how to handle the obstacles that come with it.

“I have to be more intentional and aware of how I present information, myself, and my humor to my classes. I try to use humor in my class daily, but when students can’t see me smile after I say something sarcastic, they might not catch that what I said was not meant to be taken literally. That is difficult and can harm relationships,” said Lacey Wilson, an English teacher at KWHS.

Not only did teachers have to adjust the way they present themselves or how they give information, but teachers had to adjust to not being able to see their students’ faces while teaching. 

“Facial cues and expressions have a lot of meaning behind them. When I can’t see if a student is smiling or scowling, it is difficult to tell if a student is using humor, being serious, or needs something. The eyes might be the window to the soul, but the rest of the face is a view into whether or not learning is taking place,” said Wilson.

Before COVID-19 students at Kelly Walsh students were only required to wear their student identification around their necks. Now, students must wear both ID and masks in order for staff to properly identify them. Students are still learning to adjust to this change.

“The mask really affected my learning on the first couple of days because I wasn’t used to the constricted air flow but also talking became an issue with teachers. I couldn’t read their lips,” said Stephen Christensen, a Senior. 

Masks have now become almost like a school supply for students. Everyday students are expected to show up on time with their masks, if not prepared with a mask, they must go get one from the office. 

“I often forget my mask at home, and I don’t really like the ones in the office so I have to run home and get it. I’m late sometimes but I just have to get used to wearing a mask,” said Nick Johnson, a senior. 

Masks were implemented to protect the health of both students and staff. Many people in the world are experiencing different and scary times. As the world continues to find a solution to this virus, students across the nation are trying to remain normal as possible.

“ I understand the use of masks and I am so proud of how the students and staff are staying consistent with wearing them. I find no harm in wearing them, and although we might be inconvenienced for the moment, we shouldn’t confuse that inconvenience with oppression. I am looking forward to a world where we can be mask-free, but until then, we can keep showing our love for others by masking up,” said Wilson.