My kids’ school went mask-optional two weeks ago. I have feelings about this.
I asked both my kids to keep wearing their masks, and so far they both are. I just saw pictures from the middle school holiday party. Groups of happy kids playing twister, doing crafts, answering trivia questions. One kid in all of grade six has a mask on in every non-snack photo. My kid. High schoolers don’t have class parties, but I believe my teen that their mask is staying on as well.
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You want your kids safe, and you want your kids happy. A friend of mine who works in health care - someone whose judgment I deeply trust - made the decision to send her kids to school unmasked. Her interactions with teachers, and their local culture, left her worried that her kids would be bullied if they went to school with masks on.
We’re lucky right now. My teen is old enough to read and understand the science of why masks work. My middle-schooler is young enough to trust that Mom and Dad know what they’re doing. Both my children are socially secure, ensconced in groups of friends that value them. Both my kids are stubborn when they choose to be. They may get mocked at school for wearing their masks, but I don’t think they’ll be bullied.
What do we do if they are bullied, though? I’d like to say I have a plan for this, but I don’t.
What do we do if they decide not to wear their masks any more? There’s no plan for that either. It’s not like their dad and I can follow them around in school demanding they put those things back on.
We’re trying to make good choices as easy as possible. They both have kn-95 equivalent masks in their favorite color. When my younger kid complained the masks didn’t fit any more, we tried out new ones until we found some that were comfortable. I remind them they don’t have to wear their masks outside, or at home.
So far, it’s working. Eventually, it won’t. My kids won’t always be this cooperative, and masks aren’t a magic barrier against COVID. It’s not enough to be careful. You have to be both careful and lucky, and luck runs out.
Everyone’s going to get COVID eventually. I know that, but I also know this is a long game. You can get COVID more than once. You can get COVID sooner or you can get it later. I want to push their first COVID infection as late in their lives as possible. That buys us time for COVID care and treatment to improve, and it helps reduce how many COVID infections they’ll have in their lifetimes.
I wish I had a better plan, but this is the plan I’ve got.
So many feelings that I waited to write this. It’s an emotional topic - your kids’ safety. I wanted to see how it felt for my kids, and I wanted to see how it felt for me.
Apparently joy is for pre-teens.
Trust me, we see this at home all the time.
Smart Mom. Good Mom.
I am a teacher at a middle school in Upstate New York that is heavily populated by Trump supporters. Students that wear masks here are never bullied -- and if they aren't made fun of HERE, my guess is they are safe everywhere. ...I hope this puts some parent's minds at ease...