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Centerpointe Research

Facial Expressions Mean Something Unless They Are Covered Up

A recent doctor’s or rather Nurse Practitioner’s visit did not go as well as have been expected because the nurse practitioner wore a face mask and a plastic shield over the top of it. It was difficult to impossible to tell what emphasis she put on things that she said. The last thing she said was the emergency room. Was it that I should have gone there instead of making a second convenient care visit or that I should go there next time instead of coming there. This became more confusing when I woke up in the night after going to convenient care the second time with coughing,, upper chest pain (new to me), and I couldn’t stop coughing.. I feel that her emphasis could have been clearer without all that stuff covering her face. It made the medical visit seem more generic than personal.

What does these type of coverings in the schoolroom do to confuse the student’s understanding of what the teacher is trying to say and on the school does a child really mean to stop another child from doing something or are they just telling the other child to not be so strong. Could a child just be joking? or could a child really mean what they are trying to say? Social mores are things that children learn in school and masks get in the way of this. Teasing when misunderstood can cause trouble. If you don’t understand what the other person or child is trying to imply you can at the very least get confused or at the worst get into a fight.

Current regulations about wearing masks in school do not seem to take this into account. A teacher can raise an eyebrow, twinkle an eye, grit her teeth, and might not be seen. The same can be true of children in the classroom. Smiles can be lost. Words can be misunderstood when muffled by the masks. Zoom classes can make three-dimensional things one-dimensional. Instead of child psychologists, well-experienced teachers’ decisions about mask-wearing or made by school boards, governors, some doctors, usually people with no regular classroom experience.

Governments are set up to have local decisions made by local people.  Even voting requirements are set up to be made by the state, not federal governments.  We have teachers’ unions from the top down doing this.  Where are the children in this equation?  Aren’t the children’s requirements the most important part of the equation?  Where is the children’s union?  What pull do children have in this equation?  They are not learning social skills.  Teachers are not conveying the total meaning of what they are saying.  A wink of an eye can convey to a student not to take a teacher seriously especially if accompanied by a change in the tone of voice.  What do masks and face shields do when covering a teacher’s face or a child’s face.  It can be very confusing.

Then there are the doctor’s contributions to this controversy.  What experience and education do the doctors have in this particular area.  Opinions can just be opinions with little or no facts or logical conclusions to back them up.  Doctors should be cautious in making these opinions.  Pediatricians may have more to weigh in on these problems than general doctors.  Those with research backgrounds should have covered research in this particular area/  Psychologists, school psychologists should have been researchers in this area and should be well acquainted with the research in this area.  Clinical psychologists, child psychiatrists all may have knowledge in this area.  Parents actually may know about what has affected their child’s behavior and performance in school after masking.

Decisions such as these about masking must be made very carefully because any mistakes that are made can have long-term consequences for social development and learning.

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