I don’t know about you but I’ve learned more about masks during the past six weeks than I ever thought I would in my lifetime. I knew that nurses, dental technicians, doctors, wood workers, etc. used them as a matter of course. Like many, I guess I just took them for granted.
I now know about N95 versus regular masks versus … whatever happened to those N96 masks that were going to be made in the Toronto area? There’s a big different in price.
I know that the material used to makes comes from a pulp mill in British Columbia. I know that workers are asked to wear their for their entire shifts. I know that Heather Durnin and others have been 3D printing adjusters to help them be more comfortable.
The advice is to wear masks if you’re going to be out in places where there are other people, such as grocery stores. My wife went on the internet where you’ll find all kinds of designs for masks and made us a couple.
I’m not sure where she got the material for this but I’m guessing that I might be missing a summer shirt if summer ever arrives. She evaluated a number of designs and settled on this one because there’s a pocket in there for a filter. The filter? It’s half a piece of a paper towel. They get washed after every outing and so far I haven’t forgotten to remove the paper towel.
I’m now reading that there is a plan to re-open schools in Quebec and have read some of the restrictions that will be placed on teachers and students. One will be the requirement to wear a mask. People active in the profession are scoffing at some of the requirements including social distancing of young students. Like always, I’m sure that there will be adjustments and accommodations.
Schools and masks brought back a reminder of my first couple of years of teaching.
There was one student who was doing OK in class. The student wasn’t setting the world on fire but also wasn’t in danger of not getting a credit. A moment happened during a parent/teacher interview with the parents. This was me in the day.
What a handsome dude! Look at that hair. Not the hairy arms! Also look at that wonderful beard.
Now, this student sat in the back row. I never was particular about student seating and allowed choice. What the student’s mom and dad told me took me by surprise.
The student had difficulty understanding me at times. The accommodation was lip reading and even with my perfectly trimmed beard often had difficulties. I think most teachers would react as I did inwardly – why am I finding this out 6 weeks into the course? I promised mom and dad that I would re-seat the class to adjust. I remember it bothering me all through that evening and went home and cut the beard off with a pair of sewing scissors. That got me into trouble too; I didn’t realize how protective people are of their “best” scissors. Before you go thinking about this noble gesture of mine, I’m guessing that I was probably leaning toward getting rid of it anyway. Beards are itchy and they attract chalk dust. I went the rest of my career with just a moustache. It was later that I decided to go with a goatee. If it was only that dark brown…
Recently, I ran into this infographic from Randy Krum’s Cool Infographics Blog. It’s advice for people with facial hair and how some are not suitable for use with a face mask. I guess it makes sense for those commercial well-sealing masks. I doubt that it makes a difference with a mask made from my best summer shirt.
The whole mask thing though takes on a new perspective should a child absolutely need to be able to read lips. I know that most of us lip read to a certain extent. Facial expressions help to emphasize the message being delivered. There are solutions; if you search you can find masks with a clear front. Here’s one.
As I said when I started this post, I now know way more about masks that I ever thought I would. It’s also important to think about all of these proposed solutions for opening things back up. We all want to do that but I’m sure that we want to do it under the conditions that it’s good for everyone. I hope that the powers that be are listening and making intelligent modifications for the benefit of all.