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Seeing Double

Students and faculty adjust to seeing each other in a new perspective: without a mask

October 21, 2021


Tea Perez

An illustration of a student wearing a mask and not wearing a mask overlaps each other. As students transition to not wearing masks, there is an added challenge of recognizing faces because last year only their eyes were visible.

The last two years have been nothing less than chaotic. Even though we have come back to school with COVID-19 calmed, it is still apparent that has been an adjustment. One adjustment that everyone can relate to is how strange it has been seeing people’s faces again or for the first time.

Returning to school with not only masks being optional, but with many more people in school as well, has been a transition for not only students, but teachers and faculty as well. This transition is something that can be described as strange for some people. For math teacher Dena Dauve, this is something she can agree with whole heartedly.

“For me, it is very strange, I know it makes a lot of people glad and happy. It just makes me feel worried because I want to keep everybody safe here,” Mrs. Duave said.

However, for others it’s a sign of a return to normalcy. Junior Dylan Hirth finds it strange that people had to wear masks to begin with.

“It is not strange because I have gone to school without a mask before and it feels normal again,” Hirth said. “Because it was strange coming to school with a mask, I don’t think it’s strange coming back without one.”

Seeing people’s faces again is not only strange but makes it harder to recognize people as well. Junior Hanna Lange has experienced the struggle of not being able to recognize people.

“Some people have come up to me and said ‘Hi Hanna’ and all I think is ‘I don’t know who you are,’” Lange said.

Mrs. Dauve comes from the other side of the spectrum, just being a person that is good with facial recognition she doesn’t struggle as much as others with recognizing students she’s only known behind a mask.

“I am big on facial recognition, I really like to put faces to names and I really like to imprint that,” Mrs. Dauve said. “So for me it is not hard, there have been a couple people that I look at and I get a little thrown off but then I just look at the eyes and I’m like ‘Oh it’s you.’”

With all of this change and transition happening it has made many question: is this the new normal or is normal a concept that is constantly changing? For Hirth it is the latter, not only because of everything evolving with COVID-19, but also because of today’s day and age and the changes happening with society.

“Normal is a concept that is changing because everybody is trying to normalize all different kinds of things nowadays other than what has been set by society,” Dylan said.

For Lange she believes that normal is not only constantly changing but also that how life now is considered to be the new temporary normal.

“Normal is a concept that is constantly changing but normal is also seeing some people wear masks, seeing some people who don’t,” Hanna said.

For Mrs. Dauve it is neither, she believes that what we consider normal is neither changing nor new. For Mrs. Dauve it is what life used to be.

“I think this feels so unnormal to us because we have never experienced anything like this in our lives. Do I feel like we will get back to what things were like pre-COVID? Yes. I don’t think this is our new normal,” Mrs. Dauve said. “Sure things ebb and flow and change, but I know that at some point in the near future things will look like they did pre-COVID. As far as what we consider normal, yes normal is what life was like pre-COVID.”

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