NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As students begin to face the new normal in schools, one of the hardest challenges of adjusting will be having to wear masks all day.

And it’s not just knowing how to wear them properly, but also understanding why they’re needed, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported Tuesday.

“I think we’re gonna get new masks for school,” sixth grader Lucy said.

The 11-year-old cannot wait to coordinate her masks with her back-to-school clothes.

“Sparkles and like colorful and rainbow,” she said.


Lucy and her friend are getting the hang of putting the masks on themselves. Younger brother Bryce still needs a little help. Their mom spent the last few days getting the kids used to the face coverings they’ll be forced to wear in New York City schools starting soon.

“I think it is a good idea for all parents to get their kids familiar with what it’s like to keep a mask on for a long period of time and to speak with it and just almost make it feel like clothing, part of your body that goes with you,” mother Lauren said.

“I have many different masks, so I might wear a more smaller one for school,” said Bryce, who is starting the fourth grade.

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In fact, pediatrician Dr. Jeffrey Bienstock said finding the right fit is the first step.

“We want to make sure they fit well around the ears, covering the nose, covering the mouth. We want to make sure people put them on correctly, holding them by the straps, not pulling them off in front because we don’t know what we may pick up,” Bienstock said.

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He is advising children to practice wearing a mask at home, adding more time each day to build up that so-called “mask endurance.” Make it fun. Allow your child to choose a design that fits his or her personality.

“I think the big thing is the children that are a little frightened. So whether it’s a funny mask … I’ve had children come in with animals on them. I had a boy come in with a tiger earlier. He was kind of jovial about wearing his mask,” Bienstock said.

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Doctors say make sure your kids understand why they have to wear a mask in school. It can be as simple as saying we have to do this so nobody gets sick.

“Parents need to have as positive an attitude as they can because this is a requirement for school,” pediatric mental health expert Dr. Roseann Campanna Hodge said.

Campanna Hodge said explain whether it’s rainbows and stars, colorful or camouflage, their mask maybe the most important accessory they sport in class this year. Eight-year-old Bryce already knows that, but he still doesn’t know if he can deal with it all day.

“For five hours, definitely not,” Bryce said.

It will all be a work in progress, like so many other challenges during this pandemic.

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