Are mask breaks enough of a break?

J.Hop scholars balance learning with the discomfort of wearing masks.


Lilianna Randolph | JHT

Eighth grader Tyshawn Europe massages his face during a mask break.

Lilianna Randolph, JHT Staff Writer

At John Hopkins Middle School, we now have mask breaks. Students must wear masks at all times indoors, but talking and breathing can be hard after wearing a mask for so long. So, teachers are allowed to take student outside for short mask breaks. 

Are they enough of a break, and do they even help? According to math teacher Ms. Smith, class is too long and sometimes students need a little fresh air. 

“I think it’s really nice to split class up, and take a mask break, so that we can all get some fresh air, and I can take my mask down because you’re six feet away from me,” Smith says. “It’s also nice to see what everyone looks like, because most of the time we’re only looking at people’s eyes and eyebrows.”

Ms. Smith added it can be helpful for students to take a little mental break as well, and get some fresh air, so that they can get back in the zone for class.

Sixth grader Vincent Deperro thinks the breaks should not be optional. “Right now, teachers can decide if they take students on a mask break. It should be required, because the air on campus can get stuffy.”

Students with respiratory issues like asthma might have some trouble with the masks, which makes mask breaks that much more important. 

“I do believe I have a few students with asthma, luckily, they have all been able to wear the masks in class like they’re supposed to,” Smith says. “And of course, if they’re ever having trouble, they can let me know, and they can step out for a second.”

Is all the trouble worth it? Ms. Smith thinks so: The most important thing is to keep everyone safe and healthy, and not spread COVID-19. 

“I do think it’s super important that we all take mask breaks so (students) can have some time to not stress or worry about wearing the mask, but it also very important for them to wear the mask… because it helps keep them, and everyone else, safe from corona.”