The car comes to a screeching halt as it pulls into the GCHS car rider line. The student takes a deep breath, inhaling the last breath of fresh air he’d have until fourth period when mask break came. 3…2…1… he steps out of the car, wrapping the familiar white cotton loops around his ears, pulling the mask up to snugly cover his mouth and nose. He exhales the breath he’d been holding in and the hot air hits his face. He walks across the terrace and into the school building.
As he enters the hallway at the entrance, he glances up at the walls to see the COVID precaution posters hanging up. He searches the crowd, looking for the face with the black and white stripes covering the front of it. This year, students are able to identify each other based on the type of masks they usually wear.
As he looks around, he can’t help but wonder about the masks his peers are wearing. Some masks have elaborate patterns with bright colors on them, while others are a solid color, or even just a simple disposable mask. He wonders about the students that attend Great Crossing: if they prefer cloth masks or disposables, a comfortable or a fashionable mask, and if there is a way to incorporate both elements into selecting the perfect mask for them.
Since the outbreak of COVID in March of 2020, individuals nationwide have been required to wear face masks that cover both the nose and mouth in public, in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.
Although masks are frustrating, many community members and students also believe that they are necessary components in staying safe from the virus, and support the mandatory guideline stating that students must wear masks while attending in-person schooling. “”
Students can attest to the fact that masks can get agitating when wearing them throughout an eight hour school or work day, but by finding the type of mask that feels most comfortable for you, some of these concerns can be taken away. Whether you prefer a cloth/nylon mask, a simple disposable mask, or a gaiter mask, many believe that comfort is the most important factor behind wearing the mask for long periods of time.
Freshman at GCHS, Thomas James, explained the factors that contribute to what type of mask he, personally, liked to wear, “To me, disposable masks are more lightweight and easier to breathe through, but they hurt my nose, since the metal wire continuously presses against it throughout the day.” James continued, “Disposable masks also produce a lot of waste, since you’re supposed to throw them away every time after you use one.”
One factor plays a key role in why James prefers a cloth mask. “With a cloth mask you can incorporate more designs to express yourself, and it’s generally more comfortable, so I overall prefer wearing cloth masks.”
Junior at GCHS, Evelyn Holderman, also prefers wearing a cloth mask that she can coordinate to her outfits. Holderman explained. “If we look at the mask as a burden, something we are forced to wear, then that’s what we’re going to feel like when we’re wearing it, but if we look at it as a way to express ourselves, and an extra opportunity to add splash and contrast to a typical outfit, then masks become much more bearable, in my opinion.”
Mr. Shane Rathbun, math teacher at Great Crossing, had a differing preference for the type of mask he wears every day. “I like gaiter masks because it conforms to the contour of my face, all other types of masks would fall off my face,” he explained. “I’ve broken my nose a couple of times, so the gaiter mask adapts best to my face, when I talk.”
Whether you prefer a cloth, disposable, or gaiter mask, it is a necessity to find the mask that is most comfortable for you. By choosing from a variation of three styles of masks, you are able to find the mask that is most bearable, and one that you’re able to wear throughout the length of an eight-hour school day at Great Crossing High School.