MISE & Agrave; DAY
Wearing a mask all the time in elementary school classes does not only have positive effects. It helps fight the virus, while waiting for this age group to be vaccinated, but it also causes its share of irritants and less quantifiable, but not insurmountable, problems.
In the first year of primary school, Vanessa Bernier's daughter found it increasingly difficult to bear wearing a mask in class. “She has a headache all the time,” explains the mother of the six-and-a-half-year-old girl. She is irritable and very tired. ” The mother even complained that the teacher prevented the students from keeping their water bottles at their desks. “They take breaks during the day to drink, but my daughter can't drink when she wants. She's sure she lacks focus at the end of the day, and her motivation is waning. ” According to her, her daughter prevents herself from answering questions and speaking in class because of the mask.
Another phenomenon has also appeared in elementary schools, it is bullying linked to wearing a mask. Vanessa's daughter fell victim to it. “When my daughter lowers her mask a bit because she can't breathe anymore, she gets bullied by other friends in the class. It's made serious. “
Lack of focus
Simone, Carolyne's daughter, is in third year at a public school in Granby. She developed much more intense symptoms. “She has a special medical condition that prevents her from wearing the pediatric mask,” says the mom. She missed a month of school because the school refused to let her wear a homemade mask. It was not until the advice of a specialized pediatrician that she could return to class. “
Despite this, she still has recurring headaches, and she is isolating herself more and more. She is also demotivated to go to school, she does not speak much in class and her grades are dropping.
“At the beginning of the year, the teacher did not let the children drink when they were wanted, but I intervened with the manager, and things are better now. Fortunately, the school is quite new. There is air conditioning and a good ventilation system, which is still encouraging. “
Several parents also pointed out aberrations in the organization of some schools. Children from several classes and from several levels can be gathered in the same group at the daycare. An operation that could promote a school-wide outbreak.
A minimal impact
Apart from one or two recalcitrant, most children wear the mask without complaining, according to Brigitte Michon, childcare educator in Sorel. “The biggest impact is the difficulty of communication. We must speak louder since our mouth is hidden. They hear us less well. Sometimes you even have to touch their shoulders to let them know that this is the one we're talking to. They listen less and pay less attention. ”
She admits that children's headaches were more common at the start of the school year, but over time everyone seems to get used to the news reality.
“On the other hand, the proximity is the same, insists Brigitte Michon. We are even closer to them so that they can hear us. They are cuddled as before, because they need comfort and social connection even more. “
Inform and explain
The pediatrician Bernard Delépine confirmed that the mask could cause certain difficulties. “Some children may have a feeling of suffocation, and there may be loss of breathing ability, as well as headaches from low oxygen and increased carbon dioxide.” However, he has found that most quickly get used to this new reality. “There are some who are more intolerant, but there are no generalized side effects.”
For Beatrice, the daughter of Vicky Marchand, wearing a mask quickly became natural. “It has become normal to live with COVID. She is sometimes tanned, but she wears it anyway. When she sees friends who wear it under their nose, or others who don't, she still finds it unfair. ”
At first reluctant, Béatrice even agreed to be vaccinated . “She's afraid of needles and she didn't want to know anything at first. It was explained to him that it was a civic duty to get vaccinated to help everyone. She finally agreed and everything went well. ”
Informing and explaining the situation to the children, without scaring them, seems to be a process to be followed to obtain their consent, and for them. help us become responsible in the face of this virus which concerns us all.