Letter to the Editor: Masking helps keep students in the classroom

I’ve taught for 35 years using all manner of scheduling formats – traditional seven period days, rotating schedules, block schedules, modified block schedules, half-day cohorts AND online learning. One could debate the efficacy of each format. I can say definitively, that the least effective method is online learning. When we locked down March 2020, teachers did what was needed to keep our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues and children healthy. We went online doing our best to teach through a computer screen. Parents did their best to log their young children into virtual classrooms. My students did their best to stay engaged through innumerable disappointments.

We were grateful to return to in-person classes. We social distanced, sanitized like crazy and wore masks. We listened to the science. Aside from universal vaccinations, the most effective way to keep COVID out of our schools is to mask indoors. It’s a small sacrifice really. I did not hear one masking complaint from students. They adapted just fine. Teachers and students understood it was a far better alternative to having to return to “computer school”. I would do whatever it took to safely teach my students in my classroom.

As the 2021-2022 school year begins, I won’t be in the classroom and will miss it terribly. I’m still passionate about education and want all of Cordova kids to have the best possible learning opportunities. Our schools have a duty of care to their academic needs, but more important to their health and safety first. Wearing a mask keeps everyone healthy. The pandemic is NOT over. Anchorage hospitals are teetering on capacity (Anchorage Daily News, July 25, 2021). We need continued vigilance. We all want our kids to return to their respective school buildings. The safest, most responsible way is to do so with a mask.

Debra Adams

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