Is it already that time of the year again?! The summer is over, and students are going back to school here in Orlando, Florida. While students and teachers are switching their focus from the sandy beaches of summer to the essence of a ready-to-go classroom, there is certainly anticipation about how the school year is going to go, given that the everlasting virus of Covid-19 is still affecting people every day. Even more so, Covid-19 is not only still in existence as we are entering another school year, but there is now a new variant that appears to be affecting vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. With this in mind, there are two important factors to consider as we enter another school year.
1. Wearing a mask is optional, but also risky
Let’s face the facts: Covid-19 can be passed from one individual to another through the form of air particles, and can even be contracted from contaminated surfaces. As we begin another school year, one important factor to consider is that although most schools are allowing students to choose whether they wear a mask or not, it must be taken into consideration how the virus spreads.
Particularly during the first week of school, when students are hugging their friends, or entering a new classroom with unfamiliar germs, there is the risk of the virus spreading, either from personal contact, or surface to person. Therefore, students and parents need to consider the facts before making a decision on wearing a mask.
2. Teachers are people, too
In most news outlets, there will be a headline about how students and parents have been given the choice to wear a mask while in school. What is often left out of these headlines is how this is going to affect teachers.
Teachers are people, too, and while most teachers will have to wear a mask as they teach for an extensive amount of time, this will not completely eliminate the possibility of contagion. Rather, by wearing a mask, teachers will be protecting their students, not necessarily themselves. So, if you are a parent reading this article, stop and think for a second what teachers have to take on Monday through Friday. Do they deserve to fear for their health on a daily basis?
By taking these two factors into consideration, both students and teachers will have the opportunity to feel just a little bit safer when going outside of their homes and into the classroom setting. While there is the realization that Covid-19 is continuing to spread, with no end in sight, by taking small steps, such as considering wearing a mask, to the consistency of washing hands and utilizing social distancing, the prevention of contagion can be lessened to an extent, and the school year can continue with the focus on learning. We can only hope that one day, Covid-19 and its variant can be stopped, but for now, we must come together as a community, and help protect those wanting to teach, and those ready to learn.