Egg Harbor Township/Rowan University
Dr. Lisa Rose Johnson, Ed.D. is currently the Teacher Education SIG Representative for NJTESOL/NJBE. She began her teaching career in 2003. In 2008, she began working with English Language Learners and students who are dually enrolled in ESL and Special Education. Additionally, she has trained preserve teachers for Stockton University, Mississippi State University-Meridian and currently for Rowan University. Her current research is related to ESL teachers using the Friend and Cook Co-Teaching Models, integrating responsive classroom techniques.
What concerns do you have about returning back to school and the risks of COVID-19 transmission?
My biggest concern is safety. Currently I am wearing a mask but I would like to have extra protection with a face shield. I also work on school district that did not purchase safety partitions that would provide a barrier.
How do you feel your students will tolerate wearing a mask for a full day of school?
I feel students will be able to wear them for short periods of time. Currently, I am engaged in in-person testing and students are wearing masks for the whole 2 hours they are testing. I feel that schools should allow for time outside and also provide safety materials including wipes and hand sanitizer.
Teachers that have returned to school have already complained about chapped faces and lips, hoarse voices, facial breakouts, and dehydration from not drinking enough as it’s hard to sip water while wearing a mask. Which of these (one, some, or all) present concerns to you? I agree that getting dehydrated is an issue. My school also closed all of the water fountains and asks that employees bring their own water. I typically wear 2 masks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I use sanitizing laundry detergent and that can be harsh on my skin.
How do you feel about the risk of students touching their faces and possibly self-infecting as a result?
Yes, there are risks of self infection and also dangers with hand sanitizer as it is made of alcohol. Too much exposure to young people can cause health problems. Also, children who touch their faces is always an issue during cold, flu or COVID.
Why is it important for you to be able to see student’s full facial expressions and lip movements, meaning verbal and non-verbal communication, while teaching? It is difficult to assess students when they are wearing a mask. It is hard to see their mouth moves and when they read aloud it is hard to hear what they are saying. This also makes it hard for students to learn from each other.
Why is it important for the student to be able to see your full facial expressions and lip movements, meaning verbal and non-verbal communication, while teaching? As an ESL teacher it is important for the students to see how the sounds are made. Also, when students learn languages it is important to see how the teacher's mouth moves. All students benefit from verbal and nonverbal communication and wearing a mask makes it hard to see this. Wearing a face shield would allow for safety for students to see teachers.
Face shields are 100 % recyclable, re-usable, and easily sanitized between uses with warm water and antibacterial soap. Face shields also retain less facial heat; eyeglasses won’t fog, and one is less likely to touch their face. They are also tolerated longer. As a teacher, which aspects of a face shield are most important to you and why?
As an environmental steward I love the reusability [of a face shield] and that they are recycled. I love that they are easy to clean with soap and water. Also, since I wear eyeglasses masks do make my glasses fog and do hurt my ears. Wearing a face shield would have multiple benefits to me when I am in the classroom with my students.
If you (teacher) and students wore face shields instead of masks, how would the teaching experience differ in your opinion? Face shields would allow for safety and allow for communication to be easily maintained. Face shields would keep the students and they could wash them at home or at school.
Please feel free to add anything you feel about the efficacy of face shields vs masks in the education setting. Face shields are a safe way to protect students and teachers. They allow for students to see clearly and provide full face protection. They also allow for communication and social distanced group work to happen in classrooms.