Letter to the editor

Samara Coakley

Dear Editor,

I have written this letter to address my experience getting introduced to mask breaks/brain breaks.

Last year was my junior year in high school. This was during the time where COVID had at least calmed down a little bit so school could function more cohesively and wasn’t split into cohorts anymore; we had transitioned from daily Zoom meetings for classes. It was the first time that it had felt like normal school that year other than the fact that masks inside the building were mandatory and we had to use protective shields on our desks. I have very strong opinions about this, but that’s another story. It was such a drag; more than usual. The environment in classrooms had shifted dramatically for students: focus must’ve decreased, there was so much going on. For me, specifically, it all felt extremely isolating. I had already thought that hauling my large backpack to and fro all my junior classes was enough: add a 2 foot shield to that. You always had to have one with you for class. Otherwise, teachers made students go searching for one in the hallways or in other classrooms. I hated those things.

When it came to the end of the school day, after lunch, I always felt like time stood still and this was more exhausting. Honestly, I was less inclined to care about the material when it was late in the day. This trend pretty much went for all my classmates that I shared those classes with. Everything seemed to drag, everyone wanted to leave class but couldn’t. Eventually, it fell into the consideration of teachers that students should be allowed mask breaks at the end of class.

Personally speaking, as well as broadly speaking, taking quick laps around the track was such an effective way to increase engagement and raise energy. This gave everyone the chance to take a second from learning material and ground themselves. Taking breaks during class began to peak the interest of students including my classmates and I. We need to make brain breaks mandatory!


Samara Coakley (12)