Millie Butler, Hemingford Public Schools (HPS) Art Teacher, has been masking since last spring and encouraging others to embrace the COVID prevention tool as school started this fall. Her mask preference? A clear one so you can see her bright smile. She challenged her fellow school staff, students, and the community to think of how they can encourage others to think more selflessly about those around them.
Butler shared it was important to her and her family because one of her five children became extremely ill with pneumonia and was in-and-out of the hospital on two separate occasions last January. She wanted to highlight how we can think less of it as political and more by looking around ourselves and who could be severely impacted by COVID.
HPS student, Avery Davies, masks for her grandma who endured a rare cancer in her stomach lining for the past two years and recently was deemed cancer-free. Masking has allowed Davies to still be able to see her grandma regularly.
HPS staff shared they mask for their family members and favorite people while another, Pat Vogel, masks for her daughter-in-law enduring a recent cancer diagnosis. Butler was inspired to share other’s stories as this is the whole reason for masking, not to protect just the wearer but those around them.
She has created an environment throughout her school art room for expression with various art forms and mediums as a critical outlet. Butler conveyed, it’s not just important during this time of unrest due to the pandemic, but each child has their own story of what impacts them and if she can create a space that allows them to just be, she’s achieved her goal for the day.
Mask effectiveness as a proven tool to slow the spread of COVID
Masks have been proven to slow the spread of COVID. They are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. Respiratory droplets spread the virus, and masks, covering the nose and mouth, reduce these droplets.
- CDC recommends that people wear masks in public and when around people who don’t live in your household.
- Masks should NOT be worn by children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.