The Side Effect of Masks

To most people, masks have completely altered the mood and atmosphere of everyday life.


By Maddie Ellis, Editor-in-Chief

This school year has already been extremely strange and difficult compared to previous school years. From being in a brand new school and having no senior class, to assigned seating areas in the lunchroom, so far, the 2020-2021 school year has proven much different than other years, especially for Elkhorn North High. Are masks contributing to the strange school environment?

Although the masks students are mandated to wear have a purpose of protecting their health and well-being, the moods and overall atmosphere of ENHS have felt gloomy this past month and a half. Some classes have almost no social interaction at all, which, in this pandemic, might be a good thing. Aside from the few benefits of less social interaction, masks create a less upbeat environment for students and teachers.

Sophomore Raeanna LaFleur wearing her mask during lunch.

Some students have noticed less talking and class participation in the majority of their class periods. When teachers ask for volunteers, there is complete silence at times. 

One of the main reasons students and teachers believe classes are quieter this year is because it’s harder to understand one another. The inability to understand classmates is causing more and more kids to become disengaged and silent during class periods.

It is also extremely difficult to read the facial expressions of students, classmates, and teachers. ENHS teacher, Teresa Huber, said, “You can’t tell what people are thinking or feeling. There is a lot you can pick up by just looking at your students.”

Another hardship caused by the masks is not being able to interact with classmates as often or in as close of contact as the previous years. Sophomore Kylee Kudlacz said, “It’s super weird not being able to have group activities this year.”

When asked about the strangest thing this year, sophomore Kayla Beachy said that the assigned seats at lunch were the weirdest rule this year. At lunch, students have assigned seating areas correlated with their 4th hour class. Unlike any other year, students cannot sit with their friends unless they are in the same lunch period. This may have an effect on the atmosphere of lunch, which many students believe is much quieter than previous school years. Along with assigned seats, lunch tables also have a limited amount of available seats. They range from 2 seat booths to long tables seating around 5.

While there are students who follow the mask mandate, there is a handful of those who do not fully listen to the rules or just have some disagreements with the rules. The students who don’t follow the rules are not only putting themselves and others at risk, but they have also created a toxic environment for teachers, who feel unappreciated. Huber said, “Like every other rule, the students who are choosing to keep their noses out and not follow the rules, are making me feel disrespected.”

This year has been extremely different for everyone, but especially for students who have never experienced anything like this before. The masks have seriously impacted student’s moods and behaviors during school.