Should I continue to wear my mask at school?

When masks became optional for my second-grade son, I decided to talk over the options with him.

Yes, it was a chance to practice decision-making skills. But, even more so, I thought that if he worked out his own decision, he was less likely to be influenced or bothered by peer pressure that was to be expected, whichever choice he made.

We started by reframing the question, deciding this really was not about wearing a mask or not. It was about how he felt about wearing it. He said the mask made him feel a little safer, but also really uncomfortable and it was distracting in the classroom.

Then we looked at options and the impact of each.

He determined that wearing a mask in class came with more negatives than positives. He knew the students, felt more comfortable with them, and didn’t feel he needed the extra protection. He also thought the mask made him less willing and interested in participating during class.

But, being in the larger school population, where he didn’t know everyone, made him feel anxious and vulnerable.

In the end, he decided on his own “hybrid strategy.” He would wear his mask while entering school and moving through the hallways, but remove it in the classroom.

We also talked about whether this was an irreversible decision. He decided it was not. He could always take it off or put it back on if he felt different in the moment.

In the end, he felt good about his own decision. He also came to an interesting understanding that perhaps wearing a mask in the grocery story might be a good idea. It was like being in his school hallways—surrounded by people you didn’t know.

(Special thanks to the Society of Decision Professionals, for sharing personal stories from their members—experts in the field and also parents, spouses, friends, and family-members.)

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