The McWane Science Center has advice for schools considering face coverings

How will kids fare wearing masks at school?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As school districts put the finishing touches on their plans to reopen this fall, some have doubts about the likelihood of children wearing masks all day in the classroom.

But, the Vice President of Education at the McWane Science Center in Downtown Birmingham said children are much more resilient and adaptable than we may sometimes give them credit for.

The start of the school year is quickly approaching in Alabama, and while some districts may be concerned about how to encourage students to wear face coverings, educators at the McWane Science Center are having no problems getting children to comply.

“We really thought that the face masks would be a problem, and we were ready to gently remind them constantly, but we really haven’t had to,” said Vice President of Education, Peggy Chowning.

“They’ve been really good about keeping the masks on, and it doesn’t seem to bother them at all,” Chowning explained.

Summer camps have been going on at McWane for the last few weeks, and campers must wear a face covering.

The children are arranged in small groups of ten, making the task a little easier to manage.

“I think training kids at home to be prepared to wear masks, to socially distance, that’s been a great way for us to be ready for camps. We can tell when kids are used to wearing masks, when they’re used to socially distancing,” Chowning said.

McWane educators also recommend keeping kids informed about wearing masks at age-appropriate levels and leading by example.

“We just let them know that all of the doctors are recommending that we wear masks, and it’s easier for the children because they see us wearing masks every day, they see the teen volunteers wearing masks and all the other teachers, so it’s easy for them to understand because they see everyone else wearing masks,” Chowning explained.

Chowning said she understands that it may be a bit more difficult for school administrators to get children to comply with wearing face coverings because classrooms have larger groups of children than their camps, but she said if schools do decide to require masks, it may be easier to implement than they think.

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