During the advancement of COVID-19, safety protocols (including facial masks) were incorporated into public settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), due to safety regulations, recommend wearing face masks when in close contact with other people in public environments, such as in a classroom, where social distancing is difficult. Understanding these CDC recommendations is still critical when looking for effective and safe alternative forms of masking for particular industries. Many industries smoothly transitioned to daily use of traditional cloth masks, but other industries (such as education) serving clients with high communicational needs and communication-centered services sought masking alternatives. This study examines related research to explore the question of whether wearing masks may have any impacts on student engagement, particularly with regards to Early Childhood Education (ECE) or in the Education of Students with Exceptionalities (ESE). Research found that masks have a significant impact on factors of engagement (i.e., physical, behavioral, intellectual, social, emotional; The Glossary of Education Reform, 2016) and suggests transparent masks paired with Remote Microphones as a viable alternative to traditional masking. Future recommendations are provided in hopes of impacting the use of face masks with young students for both safety and for engagement. Future research should focus on ECE or ESE classrooms using observable language and literacy acquisition skills and visual cues related to the Categories of Engagement defined by The Glossary of Education Reform (2016).
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Frahm, Anna M., "Exploring the Effects of Masks on Student Engagement in ECE and ESE: A Literature Review of Related Research" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1238.