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Optimist donation helps purchase clear face masks

By Press Times Staff

ASHWAUBENON – Given the face covering mandate that has been in effect indoors in Wisconsin since the beginning of August, masks that cover the mouth from view pose a problem for the Ashwaubenon Co-op Preschool for 3-year-old children.

With clear masks being more expensive, costing the co-op $67 for a box of 24, the Ashwaubenon Optimist Club recently donated $377 toward their purchase, making it possible for the co-op to only have to purchase one box on its own to get to the end of the year.

Co-op teachers Patty Hunsader and Mallory Burzinski said they will continue to purchase the masks to ensure they can use clear masks for as long as masks are required.

In addition to the safety measures, Hunsader and Burzinski said the clear masks also provide:

• The ability to see their faces, which allows children entering the classroom to see a familiar face greeting them with a positive expression.

• The ability to teach feelings by modeling (learning and problem-solving are based around feelings at the preschool level).

• The ability to allow the students to hear what they are saying by being able to see their lips move.

• The ability for students to see their lips when teaching letters and sounds.

They said the clear masks are invaluable for the overall social/emotional well-being of preschool students, who do not wear masks because of their age.

The Ashwaubenon Co-op Preschool, located at 1310 Ponderosa Ave., has classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30-11 a.m. and is licensed to serve 19 children per session.

The co-op is near Pioneer Elementary School and has also offered an after-school program Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. for students ages 5-12.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-op is offering a virtual assistance program for ages 5-12 Mondays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-4 p.m.

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