An Iowa father and teacher is urging parents to capitalize on their children's love of screen time in order to boost their safety this fall.

By Maressa Brown
August 12, 2020
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As parents all over the U.S. worry about the risks associated with classroom instruction this fall, they're working to prepare their children to return to school in the safest way possible. And one of the main precautions kids can take will be to wear a mask throughout the school day. After all, the CDC has noted that cloth face coverings will be important to help slow the spread of COVID-19 if children are to return to the classroom in-person. It's for that reason that Iowa dad and teacher Leland Michael is urging fellow parents to consider preparing children for all-day mask-wearing by requiring face coverings when they're on a device at home.

Photo courtesy of Leland Michael

In a now-viral Facebook post, Michael shared his proposed tip: "For parents worried their kids won’t be able to wear masks for long periods of time this fall, try this rule for your last few weeks of summer: You're only allowed screen time if you’re wearing a mask. Either they will acclimate quickly, or you’ll get them off devices for the last weeks of their summer. I’ve got my money on them acclimating and your kid’s teacher having a much easier first week of school."

Alongside the tip, Michael included a photo of his son watching a tablet while wearing headphones and a mask—a pandemic safety success!

Many applauded and commented on Michael's post, which has earned over 166K shares.

"The lesson these kids will learn about the importance of protecting others outweighs any discomfort they find when wearing the mask," wrote Kelsee McGill. "Now is the perfect time to teach our kids the importance of being socially conscious." Another commenter named Marianne Davidson noted, "We have been doing this and oh man is my kid motivated to wear a mask!"

As for what inspired the trick, Michael explains to Parents.com, "The idea came spontaneously while he was playing on his tablet wearing a new mask he was excited about because his grandma made it for him."

Ultimately, he and his wife, Kylie Michael, who is also a teacher, hope that the post motivates parents—and, in turn, kids—to consider the safety and health of everyone in the classroom. "We would like parents to be empathetic and compassionate with their children's teachers," she notes. "Every district has different rules and guidelines, but teachers are almost never the ones who created those. If parents talk positively about wearing masks and returning to school, it will create a smoother school year for everyone."

That said, no doubt that encouraging kids to wear masks for longer periods of time will serve as valuable back-to-school prep for many families.

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