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Adults have a lot to say about masks. How do students feel about them?


We've heard a lot of debate about masks in schools from grown-ups. The debate has gotten pretty contentious and at times pretty ugly. But we haven't really heard a lot from the actual students. Elementary school teacher Katie Wright (ph) in Montana decided to ask her class of 6-to-9-year-olds how they felt.

NPR producer Lauren Migaki has this postcard.

KATIE WRIGHT: So class, I would just like to know, how do you feel about wearing masks? Do you know why we wear them?


WRIGHT: Do you know...


WRIGHT: ...How they work?


WRIGHT: Raise your hands so we can just have one person at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #4: It makes me feel cool because it makes me feel like I'm in a different dimension with no breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #5: Basically, it just feels like COVID's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #6: For me, it feels sort of hard to breathe sometimes. But I know it's protecting us from delta COVID, so I kind of roll with it.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #7: It suffocates me, but I still wear it.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #8: What I don't like about wearing masks is that I have a pair of glasses. They do get fogged up, and so I can see the fog.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #9: I don't really like masks because sometimes they can make you itch. Also, if you don't have the right size, it can make your ears hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #10: I know it protects you because it's supposed to so you don't get sick. I don't want to get my parents sick or any of my brothers.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #11: Right now, I don't get COVID, but I like wearing masks. My mom and my brother both had COVID, so I just know that it's very bad for me to get. That's why I wear my masks. My mask feels good. But when I wear it, COVID doesn't get in.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #12: Masks kind of suck because they kind of don't let you breathe that much fresh air in. My dad doesn't believe in COVID, so he doesn't wear masks.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #13: I don't like masks because they make it so you can't see the faces when you smile at each other.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #14: But going to school, I think, is - I would wear a mask the whole day if I got to go to school.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #15: I wear a mask so much, I just forget it's on after a while. But it does make your face kind of hot.

WRIGHT: I have to say, I'm really impressed. I didn't really know how much you guys didn't like wearing them because you don't complain. You guys just wear them. So thank you for sharing how you feel about it, and thank you for doing it, even though you feel that way about it. I'm impressed with your maturity about that.

DETROW: That was teacher Katie Wright. For privacy purposes, we are not using her students' names.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Migaki is a senior producer with NPR's education desk. She helps tell stories about teacher strikes, college access and a new high school for young men in Washington D.C. She also produces and hosts NPR's podcast about the Student Podcast Challenge.