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Children In Masks, Can They Really?

As I write this post, I am peaking at the park across the way where a little girl is all dressed up and celebrating her birthday. Looks like a socially responsible gathering. Everyone is masked and keeping their distance, and it is a small gathering with only three girls. She may be turning six or seven today.

She and her friends sat very responsibly at different corners of a picnic blanket for the first fifteen minutes or so before they couldn't bottle their energy in any longer and started playing tag.

In the middle of running around, two of them wanted to take their mask off for just a moment to take a deeper breath. I can't blame them. Running around in a mask must feel quite limiting. They helped each other stay unseen as they gasped for air. In that brief moment, the two girls were standing shoulder to shoulder with their noses barely six inches apart. They took a deep breath of fresh air, exhaled on one another's faces, then they secured the mask to their faces, and continued running.

This was one example of a school day's very real moments.

The simplicity and genuine nature of this moment worries me. It only took these responsible girls about 20 minutes to exhale directly on one another's faces and for good reason. They did nothing wrong. They needed to breathe.

In my mind, this moment froze just long enough to wonder about social/emotional implications on these young children.

When I think of children, I think free, happy, curious, and lots of energy. To a child, recess is typically the highlight of the school day where they get to run and play with their friends. Would young children really be able to handle a full day mask and social distance without losing something of their childhood? Are we asking too much?

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