Welcome back to this week’s segment of After School Tea Time! Get your tea cups ready because we have more to spill this week! Keep your questions coming because you could be helping someone who has similar questions!
Question from New Haven County- Kids have been wearing masks for about 2 years now, and routinely we still have children that don’t have them up correctly, chew on them, and need to be spoken to on a daily basis at the least. For the frequent offenders I have personally spoken to them politely, talked to parents, etc. Are there other schools having the same constant issue? Any suggestions?
Hey New Haven, thank you for asking this question. My first thought is positive reinforcement. For some it is easy to get in the habit of wearing a mask correctly, for others it is easy to get in the habit of wearing it incorrectly. Reminders will sometimes help but maybe adding some positive reinforcement would make it worth their while. I saw a program in New Britain where the teachers did random Mask Checks as they walked past a group. If they saw that everyone was wearing their mask correctly that group would get check on the chart. If they weren’t there was no talk or consequence, they just didn’t get a check. If the group got a certain number of checks by the end of the week, they would get a pizza party. I would also suggest an activity to explore some of the science behind why you wear a mask like the one they have. Not only is a wet mask so much less effective but you also wouldn’t lick your windshield or a screen door. Why? Well, I’m guessing you’re not interested in bird poop or squashed bug snacks. Your mask is a special shield/screen for your nose and mouth, and you don’t want the bugs (germs) it’s stopped in your mouth. Chewing is a super common behavior, often related to sensory issues. Here is a blog post exploring a number of solutions and here is a mask with a tube inside to chew. With the more recent recommendation to be wearing a high grade (n95, kn95) mask, they can also wear the chewing mask under the higher quality one. These solutions may involve getting a parent or guardian involved. We hope this helps!
We’ll see you next week for another segment of After School Tea Time! Don’t forget to submit your anonymous questions here.