Students, teachers adhere to mask mandate

DMS+Assistant+Principal+Christy+McIntyre+shows+off+her+mask.+This+school+year%2C+the+Duncan+Board+of+Education+mandated+that+all+students%2C+parents+and+teachers+wear+masks+when+entering+any+school+site.

Isaac Pain

DMS Assistant Principal Christy McIntyre shows off her mask. This school year, the Duncan Board of Education mandated that all students, parents and teachers wear masks when entering any school site.

Before COVID-19, only doctors, nurses and dentists wore masks. Now people around the world wear masks every day.

DMS Assistant Principal Christy McIntyre shows off her mask. This school year, the Duncan Board of Education mandated that all students, parents and teachers wear masks when entering any school site. (Isaac Pain)

When Duncan Public Schools was getting ready to reopen, the Duncan Board of Education mandated that all students and staff wear masks while in the school buildings.

“I don’t like to wear masks, but to keep school, I would wear them,” Assistant Principal Christy McIntyre said.

McIntyre said she would have never thought she’d have to remember her mask on her way out the door.

“In my twenty years of teaching, I have never had to deal with a pandemic,” she said.

The goal of the masks is to limit the spread and exposure to the COVID-19 virus. In addition to masks, Duncan Middle School teachers also got face shield they can wear when social distancing while teaching.

In March, students and teachers went to distancing learning for school. Instead of returning to the school buildings, everything went online, from instruction to assignments. The masks are intended to help the school remain in person, but there are some drawbacks.

Bricen Mendinghall, a seventh-grade student, said the masks have added more stress to the school day.

“I don’t like wearing masks because it’s hard to breathe,” Mendinghall said. “I didn’t think that we would have to wear masks. It’s hard to learn with the masks because sometimes the masks get stuck on the teachers and I can’t hear them very well.”

McIntyre said the pandemic has caused a lot of stress and confusion for many students and teachers. She hopes the masks will help keep everyone safe.

She said a lot of students have come to heard to tell her that they’re stressed. She said there are plenty of teachers who are also dealing with various levels of stress as they navigate the unusual school year.

But even with the masks, there are still concerns about students returning to distance learning.

“It will take all of us working together to help stop this pandemic,” Mclntyre said.