Masks and social distancing become part of daily life

On March 13, schools closed due to Covid-19 when no one knew what to do or what would help to stop spreading the virus. On May 29, 2020, masks were declared mandatory when inside public settings; however, they are not required when going outside to take a walk. Schools are enforcing the social distancing rule along with masks. The Virginia Department of Education recommends to keep everyone at least three feet from each other whenever possible.

Masks are recommended to be worn to slow the spread of the virus down according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health experts say that the evidence is clear that the masks can help prevent the spread of Covid, and that the more people wearing them the better. “They have protected me around people who have gotten the virus. We were all wearing them, and I am still safe from Covid, and they have protected me from getting sick,” Ajani Wade (10) said.

The public is also being instructed to social distance about two arms’ length, which is about 6 feet away, from anyone who is not in the same household to minimize spread of the virus. “I think that to avoid spreading the virus  is a good thing. It wont stop you from getting it, but it will stop it from spreading, so it is definitely good to have in school,” Rachel White (10) said.

At the start of the pandemic the public was told N95 masks were the most effective in preventing Covid 19; however, they were all reserved for hospitals considering the hospitals were constantly in close contact with patients who have been in contact or have the virus. Cloth masks or reusable masks have become more popular since the pandemic first struck the U.S.  It is advised to constantly wear a mask in a public setting and practice social distancing at the same time. Citizens are told to wear a mask even when being six feet or more apart. “If they don’t do anything when they are on within six feet then what is the point in wearing them at all? We still have to be six feet apart even with a mask on,” Emma Donchetz (11) said.

“I do not think we need the masks because it is proven that Covid-19 can go through them and social distancing is just annoying,”  Gabe Hall (10) said. Hall is referring to masks not being 100% reliable with preventing the virus. Similar to Hall’s statement, Savannah Doss (10) said, “I agree with social distancing, but I don’t think masks really help. They do, but they don’t at the same time because the virus still spreads with them on.” The CDC has stated before that the masks will not completely wipe out the chances of  getting Covid, but they minimize the chances and they also minimize spreading.

Not only have students experiences changed but teachers’ methods of teaching has as well. “The problems are I can’t do what I normally do which is working in pairs because of social distancing, so it does affect how I teach,” Mrs. Arthur from the math department said. “It makes it more boring with direct instruction. Also, there is no review time but that is because of just two classes a week. Mrs. Arthur is referring to the social distancing guidelines set by Tazewell County Public Schools. Students have to be at least three feet apart which is difficult for teachers who like to use groups as a teaching method.

Students have found struggles that masking and social distancing have caused since the guidelines were put into action. “It is hard to breathe, and it fogs up your glasses constantly,” Summer Graham (10) said.  “I don’t hate them, they’re just hard to breathe in, but I know they are for our health so they are important,”  Amelia Wolfe (9) said.

Masks and social distancing have impacted both students and staff.  Neither of the methods will completely eliminate the chances of contracting the virus, but they will lower chances of catching, spreading, and shutting the school down.