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Holding It All Together-Who Is That Masked Student?

By Jennifer Richardson
School has definitely gotten less fun and more complicated in the last few years, despite all of the efforts of the hard-working and dedicated people who keep the schools running. I have to say, teachers and administrators have done a fantastic job at dealing with all of the changes and hoop-jumping that the Powers That Be have put upon them. 

I can’t imagine the magnitude of stress and focus that these principals, administrators, teachers, and staff have had to work with and through to figure out a conducive plan for each school semester. I applaud our school systems for the incredible jobs they have been doing during these unfamiliar and unplanned times. You guys and gals are the bomb-diggity. It takes brilliant minds to overcome such obstacles on a mass scale to accommodate an entire school system. We are so very fortunate to have such wonderful people at the helm of our children’s very real future through their education.

Now I’m going to meddle a little bit, as an ole pastor used to say. This is my opinion, so take it or leave it, but I have raised seven kids, so I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two. Let’s talk about masks for a minute.

Masks. Kids wearing masks. I think parents have more to worry about than fretting over whether little “Junior” has to wear a mask at school. There, I said it out loud. Please don’t throw tomatoes. It’s only an opinion.

It’s a mask, and kids generally like masks. Of all of my friends, not one parent I know has complained that they have had trouble getting their child to keep their mask on at school. I think kids like the masks, honestly. My grandkids like theirs. I think parents are making a big deal when there are bigger fish to fry. Please don’t cause more problems for the school that is spending countless hours working hard to comply with tons of new rules and mandates just to stay open so your child can get an education and teachers can have jobs and people can have somewhat normal lives. 

Besides, children are naturally more germ-y than grown-ups because they have not learned to stop sneezing into the air, picking their nose, or wiping their mouths on their sleeves. Children touch everything, especially when told not to touch things. Children put their fingers in their mouths more often than adults, and touch their face a lot. Children like to poke their fingers in their ear holes, nose holes, and other holes just to see what comes out of those holes. 

Ok, I will say it. Children can be gross little creatures that carry around germs like they are pets. Just ask any daycare worker. Wearing face masks will help deter children from spreading germs. (Frankly, I personally think all children should be fitted with disposable gloves and germ-proof masks and suits and showered nightly in a decontamination chamber from birth through 18 years old, but that’s just me. No haters, please.) Admit it, you have had to hose a kid down in the yard before letting them in the house. 

I’m not a scientist, but I do know that wearing masks has kept seasonal allergies, colds, and stomach viruses down in my household this year. Well, plus extra hand washing. That data is based on my own SWAG Statistics, observations, and records, and I have a pie graph to prove it. I believe wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of disease and illness. But wait, there’s more.

I prefer to wear a mask while out and about, even though I am fully vaccinated. There have been many times a mask has helped me endure offensive odors like cigarette smoke, heavy perfume, or flatulent, unbathed individuals (such as teenage boys.) I also feel a bit of comfort behind the mask; it’s like when I wear a hoodie and can recede into my own little shell of anonymity. And although I have joked about it, and have had opportunities, I have not once tried to rob a bank since being able to be masked in public. I have never even felt that urge, so wearing a mask has not turned me into a thug.

My daughter Portia, who is autistic, chooses to wear her mask, even though she is fully vaccinated as well. She told me she likes the feeling of the pressure of the mask against her face, and it gives her comfort, like a blanket pulled up under her chin. I like that perspective.

I understand that some individuals with sensitivity issues don’t like anything touching their faces or have a hard time adjusting to wearing a mask. Fortunately, there are people who are working towards a solution for that and have developed special masks for people with sensory issues. Here is a website link to one such place that offers masks for that purpose. 

School may not be like it was, but neither is the world. As much as we don’t like it, unless we do something to change it, the decline will continue. So do something.

Educate yourself. Stop watching social media and believing it as the truth. Anybody with a camera and ISP connection can post something to the internet. Don’t believe everything you see and hear coming from the internet, even if it comes from a friend. I cannot believe the chaos all of this is causing…and chaos and confusion only comes from the Deceiver, Satan himself. (Watch the documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma.)

If you have a medical question, ask your own doctor, he/she is the only one with a direct true interest in your good health. Do masks work? Should kids wear masks? Is the vaccine safe? Ask your own doctor and follow their recommendations. That’s what I did.

(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)

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