OLDS – Area students say they are prepared to do their part in keeping the community-at-large safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective next month, students in Grade 4-12 will be required to wear non-medical face masks when in common areas in schools and on school buses.
In interviews last week, students said wearing the masks will be something new but also something they know is aimed at keeping everyone safe.
Olds sisters Jane and Hannah Turnbull say they don't foresee wearing masks being too difficult once classes resume.
Jane, a Grade 11 student at Olds High School, says wearing masks will be worthwhile if it helps keep people safe.
“I think it's going to be annoying but I do think it is for the best,” said Jane. “It will be hard to get used to but it will help us stay safe. And it will allow us to come closer.
“It might be a little harder to understand people who are speaking when they are wearing masks. It will be different not seeing people’s mouths and seeing their facial expressions.”
Hannah, a Grade 9 student, echoed her sister’s comments.
“I think they will be annoying but it should be helpful to help prevent the spread of COVID,” said Hannah, noting she hopes the schools will be able to provide students with masks that are comfortable and fit well.
Both sisters say they hope the requirement to wear masks in school will not last too long.
Olds High School Grade 11 student Jacob Wiper, 15, also said wearing the face coverings will not be too much trouble.
“I think it’s necessary and especially when everyone is close together,” said Wiper. “It might be annoying but we will do it. It will help prevent the spread of COVID.”
Wiper was in Europe on a student exchange when the pandemic broke out, so he already has some experience with masks.
“There were some weird stares when someone cleared their throat on the plane. At least there were masks on hand for use to use,” he said.
Didsbury High School Grade 11 student Joshua Nowlen, 16, said he has good reason to want to prevent the spread of COVID.
“I have a sister going through some health stuff right now,” said Nowlen. “Wearing masks will hopefully help.”
Staff and teachers will also be required to wear masks in school common areas.