Mask mandate impacts teachers


Genny Kootsouradis

All Masked Up: Seniors Sarah Carlile, Megan Linsky, and Gia Berardinelli work in Mr. Somich’s G1 class.

Genny Kootsouradis, Staff Writer

With the mask mandate once again in effect, teachers have been affected and have needed to adjust their teaching.

Principal Jeff Legan believes there have been some newfound difficulties regarding teaching with the masks, especially for world language teachers. He said, “You want to be able to see your teacher’s mouth as they’re trying to pronounce. [For] students with hearing impairments, it makes it very difficult.”

The mask mandate is in effect solely to keep everyone safe, according to Legan. He said, “Overall, I hope people realize that we are just trying to keep students and staff in school because we know what it’s like when kids are not in the building. So, if this is what it takes, I would rather wear a mask even if I don’t want to.”

English and creative writing teacher Kari Beery also thinks that the mask mandate has slightly affected her teaching. She said, “The only thing I’ve had to do was make sure everyone can hear me and I project my voice a little bit more and if students need extra, like if they can’t necessarily discern things from my facial features or something like that, then I need to articulate things differently. I just have to be cognitive of that, but other than that, it’s one of those moments to learn and adjust.”

Beery also believes this mandate has had a few beneficial aspects. She said, “We’ve always known that students learn things differently, but now we can hopefully provide more and that can be something that’s a good thing that’s come out of this. It’s time-consuming, but I think that the benefits are reaching more people.”

Legan hopes the good that comes out of wearing masks is opportunities for personalized instruction. He said, “What better way than to be able to meet in smaller groups and confer with students more often and identify their areas of growth, even using technology to better enhance our instruction. It’s never going to take away from the role of the teacher in a classroom, but it’s really enhanced instruction and learning.”

Michael Bokovitz, who teaches Digital Media Productions and also oversees the production of Wildcat Weekly, agrees that there have been some adjustments due to the mandate, but nothing too complicated. He said, “I’ve shifted to the disposable [masks] because I think they’re clearer than the cotton; The voice gets muffled more so I guess that would be a thing… But no, I don’t think it’s really affected me at all.”

Bokovitz has also made some adjustments to his classes to conform to the social distancing guidelines. He said, “If they’re outside we tell them that they need to show that there’s distance… so it’s hard to do interviews. What we’ll do is we’ll have [class] outside, but maybe we’ll have an extension on a microphone so people could walk up to it and talk to it versus us normally holding it next to them.”

Other than these few minor adjustments, Bokovitz doesn’t think masks have made that much of a difference. He said, “I think the school day is going along as it would. There’s just a piece of cloth on your face.”

For more information on the school’s mask mandate, refer to Superintendent Barnes’ letter to the community. For the latest Covid numbers at Mayfield, visit the Covid Dashboard.