Letter: Use masks as an opportunity for growth

Posted 8/25/21

One of the disturbing messages coming out of the more recent Bristol Warren Regional School Committee meeting was the idea that mask wearing is cognitively, physically, and emotionally harmful to …

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Letter: Use masks as an opportunity for growth

Posted

One of the disturbing messages coming out of the more recent Bristol Warren Regional School Committee meeting was the idea that mask wearing is cognitively, physically, and emotionally harmful to children.

Nobody likes wearing masks. That said, they are no more or less than a nuisance.

I personally for the first time in my life wore full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for 12-hour shifts while working at the Lifespan field hospital. That is a whole lot more than the masks that kids have been or would be required to wear at school. Neither my mental capacity nor my physical stamina were impaired by my N-95 mask and my plastic face shield.

Of course, every day across this country your neighbors and my colleagues competently take care of the Covid sick wearing this much more restrictive gear.

The “emotional stress” of mask wearing is in the eye of the beholder, and that could be dealt with with better messaging.

So at home: “Yes, wearing a mask is a pain and an example of government overreach, but there are a lot of things in life you are going to be asked to do that you aren't going to like. So take this as a challenge that you and your friends go through that you can tell your kids about when you grow up.”

At your place of worship: “The mask your friend is wearing actually protects you more than it protects them. You are returning the favor by wearing a mask for them. So you and all your classmates are a team working together to protect each other. Every day you wear a mask during the pandemic you all are practicing the golden rule.”

At school: “Let’s have a contest to see who has the best mask. In addition we will have an art project with disposable masks to see who can be the most creative. Since for the time being we have to wear masks, let's make mask wearing fun.”

Mask wearing is not hazardous to your children's health. Should the school board vote to impose a mask mandate, it would be in the best interest of our children, regardless of your stand on such a decision, to treat it as not a problem but an opportunity for personal, communal, and creative growth.

Geoffrey Berg, MD
Warren

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.