‘I hope it’s short-term’

Features

Mayo parents react to mask mandate

Oisín McGovern

The announcement of mask wearing for older primary-school children has sparked much debate on the airwaves.
While commentator Larissa Nolan described the mask mandate as ‘a form of child abuse’, Clonbur-based GP Dr Joe Curran believes that much of the negative commentary around mask-wearing in children is ‘overplayed’.
Dr Curran maintains that mask-wearing and hand hygiene will have to continue for all age groups for some time to come, even if vaccines are approved for under-12s by the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC).
“As time goes by, we’ll eventually be able to take away the [restrictions] and mask wearing. It really depends on how numbers go,” Dr Curren told The Mayo News.
However, the Government’s move came as little surprise to parents who gave their thoughts to The Mayo News on the issue.
“I wasn’t surprised due to number of cases among younger children,” said one mother, wished to remain anonymous.
She expressed concerns that the measure could hinder the quality of communication among students and teachers, but she praised the way teachers are handling the situation:
“I feel teachers are doing a great job encouraging kids to adhere to the new guidelines that surround Covid. It is important that kids continue to attend school for their mental health.
“From a personal perspective my kids don’t mind wearing masks, as they feel safer. But for me, I hope it’s short-term, as it is sad to see young kids at school looking out over masks.”
Another parent said she had no issue with her children wearing masks and that she too is hoping that the measure will not be a long-term one.
“Honestly I thought it would come sooner,” said the mother, whose child attends a small rural school.
“Young children (under ten) are more susceptible to picking up any kind if virus, so I don’t believe wearing a mask is going to prevent that from happening in nine or ten year olds and younger,” she said, adding: “They’re being told they must wear a mask to school and yet they can go indoor to basketball training or swimming lessons where masks are not worn … We just have to learn to live with this virus, young and old.”
Another Mayo parent said that children are paying ‘an awful price’ because of adults who refuse to be vaccinated. “If everyone got vaccinated, then it would lower the risk of everyone getting seriously ill. I think vaccinations should be made compulsory, that’s my feeling on it,” she said.
“My own fella is only 12, he suffered depression during the lockdowns. He found it very hard going. I don’t like him wearing a mask a school, but we’re doing it because we’re following the rules all the time. We’re doing the best for everyone, not just our own family.”