Looking Forward and Back: Mask Mandate

Looking Forward and Back: Mask Mandate

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February 24, 2022

Our faculty board resolved to call an unexpected emergency meeting at 3:00 yesterday afternoon to discuss the recent mask mandate that is in spot.  The conference was announced on Tuesday afternoon.  Wednesday at 3:00, of program, instructors are nonetheless in their responsibility several hours and are even now at work, thus lecturers would not be in the home talking about the mandate that every day influences us inside of the scope of our classroom.

This is definitely par for the class.  The conference was termed because our ‘task force’ of board members experienced been meeting consistently about no matter if or not we could perform about with semantics and get all over the condition-mandated requirement that all learners and instructors in university configurations will have to be masked.  They did not inquire for instructor enter, nor did they truly feel about the simple application of their slippery definition of the mandate–which they decided they could ‘faithfully’ uphold by means of education and learning, somewhat than enforcement, considering that the language of the mandate suggests that faculties have some overall flexibility in enforcement.  In their unexpected emergency meeting, our board voted unanimously (by the board associates in attendance) that our district could uphold the mask mandate by ‘educating’ learners/staff members with the posters now plastered all through our college buildings.  Nonetheless, enforcement of masking was efficiently shut down.  Even though the condition mandate is still in location, which implies masking is a necessity, our board decided that as of today, students who refuse to dress in a mask can do so with no penalty or consequence.  As teachers, we are however required to notify them that masking is the expectation and continue to demanded, and we are to offer them masks, but if they refuse very little transpires.  This places teachers (and web page directors) in the untenable situation of inquiring learners to stick to regulations, but owning totally no recourse need to they choose not to do so.  What could possibly go mistaken?

The sad detail about this is that the governor is established to make an announcement on Monday, and they realized that.  The assumption was that the governor would reduce the mask mandate, so their Wednesday assembly is nothing at all much more than grandstanding–an try to appease a quite loud minority team who has been begging the board to disregard the condition mandate that was oppressing the ‘freedoms’ of their small children.  Earning a shift a handful of days in advance of the governor’s conclusion allows them to claim that they are performing on behalf of individuals men and women to whom they are kowtowing, and allows them to acquire credit for currently being ‘forward-thinking’ and ‘trailblazers’ forward of the other universities and the state.  It is a transparent go–a non-final decision decision–that is a desperate try to mimic motion with no actually taking any.  The difficulty is that they are also still beholden to the condition for funding, so their non-selection in fact asks us, in the classrooms, to send the message that we need to uphold the mandate, but ought to not in any way basically ask the kids to adhere to the need.  Even a temporary discussion with even a handful of teachers in the classroom would have enable them know how tough this would be in implementation.  And if the messaging to pupils is that we have principles, but you only have to observe some of them, how could it perhaps not occur to some of individuals students that the other regulations are ‘suggestions’ as well?  How are we not sending the message to the moms and dads that if you yell loudly enough, our board will finally get worn out of battling the struggle and lay the challenge down at the feet of the lecturers in the classroom to uphold on their own, without having guidance?  How does it not come about to any of them that we are, in truth, sending a fairly solid concept by illustration that we only have to abide by the condition rules if we like them, and if we never, all we have to do is glance for a loophole?

Since we are still essential to remind learners that the mandate is nevertheless in position, I made the decision to take care of it in my way in the classroom (as did all of the teachers, due to the fact we had been specified no advice, direction, or plan for utilizing this).  I simply just reminded my pupils that the mandate was continue to in position, and that it was even now the expectation that learners would have on masks.  I additional that as a cancer survivor, and one particular who is immunocompromised, I would talk to them respectfully to keep on to put on the mask in my course, at the very least till the condition mandate was lifted.  The reaction?  I however experienced four learners in every single of my lessons simply just stare at me blankly, silently drawing their line in the sand.  I never have to, and I will not want to.  Honestly, it was disheartening.  I get that not every person believes in the efficacy of the masks, and that no one actually likes to dress in them, but this is the detail: When I questioned them, as a human becoming, for my gain (and for the profit of some others in the class who may well be hesitant to talk up about their very own fears or wellbeing issues) to wear them anyway–even for just a pair more days–the stance for breaking no cost of the regulations superseded empathy and kindness.  These are youngsters who are amazing persons–young ones I actually like and who like me.  But at the conclusion of the working day, what we have now taught them is that their specific desire is more crucial than concern for any person about them.  That they are justified in not thinking of others- righteous, even.  That unique option isn’t going to carry with it social accountability.   And I think individuals lessons are ones that will take a extremely lengthy time to unlearn.  It was one particular of my saddest times in education and learning.

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