Mask trial by the University of Gloucestershire
The University of Gloucestershire welcomes 9,000 students each year, encompassing eight schools across 3 campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester. Founded nearly 200 years ago, the University has taken on many different names and forms over the decades, but the institution and its staff have always been committed to providing an inclusive and supportive place to study, which is why we were interested to be involved in the Let’s Be Clear campaign.
We were asked to trial a few clear face masks, and we were eager to see whether they made a positive difference to the people taking part.
Of the masks we were sent, we would like to talk about the clear panel mask from the Molly-Watt Trust and the Friendly Face Mask. Our reactions to the masks we tried were a mixed bag, with some positives to report and some issues too.
There was a lot to say in favour of them. We found that both masks were easy to clean, stow and maintain. One of our lecturers particularly commented that, during the trial, their clear mask made communicating easier. They had some good reactions from students, for instance: “It was great to be able to smile, students said they could see my mouth easily.”
The Molly-Watt Trust mask was not as comfortable as the other and left large gaps at the sides, which didn’t feel secure and both masks became fogged up after about half an hour which was tricky.
The clear masks made a noticeable difference to our students who rely on lip reading for communication. The designs we tried weren’t hugely practical for teaching and speaking for long periods of time, but they did make communicating easier for shorter periods, especially once we had overcome the fogging issue: “It wasn’t as comfortable as cotton masks I’m currently using, I will use [the clear panel mask] when I have a student with hearing issues, for lip reading purposes.”
Overall, we felt that the Friendly Face Mask was the easiest to wear but neither were quite right. The benefits of going ‘clear’ are evident, so the search continues for a really snug-fitting and effective clear face mask for our staff and students.
To find out more about the University of Gloucestershire visit: www.glos.ac.uk