How Can Kids Possibly Wear a Mask All Day? This Montessori Teacher Explains
Of all the objections parents have to the reopening of schools this fall, one of the foundational non-starters is expecting children to wear masks all day long.
"I've seen children who wear their mask without a single complaint for an entire school day, and I have seen children who consistently have a hard time keeping it on or clean."
It's certainly been a concern of mine, and I'd venture to say my two kids – an upcoming kindergartner and preschooler – are early adopters to masking. They've been wearing masks whenever they leave the house since March, but for the short bursts they wear them at the park, I'm still having to remind one to pull it up over her nose and I'm still having to bring spare masks for the other, who not even two minutes out of our front door, will have sucked on the inside of her cloth face covering so fervently that it's one giant wet patch.
So, how do we expect kids – particularly those who still haven't worn one, those who struggle with sensory issues, and those who are, frankly, too young to guarantee even a modicum of consistency – to not simply wear a mask in school all day, but to wear it correctly and safely?
I asked Gretchen Solomon, a teacher at a Montessori school in Chicago, who has been back in the classroom since early July. If anyone understands acutely the struggle with keeping young kids masked, it's her.
"I've seen children who wear their mask without a single complaint for an entire school day," Solomon, also a mom to a preschooler, told POPSUGAR. "I have seen children who consistently have a hard time keeping it on or clean."
Still, she said that with proper guidance and practice, "I know it is possible for children to wear a mask all day."