September 29, 2021

10 Reasons to Wear a Facemask at School

10 Reasons to Wear a Facemask at School Featured Image

Whether our districts require us to do so or not, WEAC and the NEA strongly recommend that all educators and support staff wear masks in school for the time being. Here are some reasons why.

The Delta Variant is Shockingly Contagious. In Marin County, California, an unmasked elementary teacher infected with the Delta variant took her mask off to read aloud to her students. Here’s what happened.

Vaccines are effective, but masking is still needed.  With the Delta variant we are experiencing many “breakthrough” infections. Vaccinated people with COVID infect other people including children who can’t get vaccinated, teens who are far less likely to be vaccinated and vulnerable loved ones at home. 

Vulnerable people are getting hurt. Even when vaccinated, older people and people with underlying health conditions are still vulnerable to severe cases of COVID that can hospitalize, cause long term damage or death. 

The science is solid and not controversial. There is no debate among scientists who study disease and its transmission. Every authoritative scientific institution says that for now everyone in schools should wear masks all the time.

Keep the schools open and in-person. The more we contain the pandemic, the fewer disruptions to learning and the safer our students will be.

Save your sick days. Few districts will have our backs when we get COVID. It is not in our interest to get infected, miss school and burn through our sick days. 

Our behavior matters. We are role models. We serve as examples for good and appropriate behavior. If we want our students to behave safely, we need to be safe.

We have come a long way, but we’re not there yet. Schools can and should be open for in-person education. But we must respond to the surging pandemic by following the advice of scientists and masking up. 

Professional voice and respect. Our union strives to raise up our profession as one worthy of respect and consideration. If we want better compensation, teaching conditions and more of a voice in our schools, then we need to act as responsible professionals who follow the science.

We can handle it. As educators, we have to deal with many challenges that “just shouldn’t be.” Wearing a mask is simple and effective. We wore them all last year. We can wear them now to protect ourselves and the people we love and serve.