School principals in Hickory team up to encourage others to wear masks

HICKORY, N.C. — There is a new social media campaign underway to promote safety in schools. Principals in Hickory are encouraging people to wear masks.

They have posted photos of themselves wearing them along with their reasons for doing so.

Channel 9′s Dave Faherty when to middle and elementary schools to speak with those principals about the campaign for face masks and their efforts to get children safely back in the classroom.

“As teachers, we talk about the importance of modeling for our students, modeling the behavior we want to see. I think it is really important for them to see that you can wear your mask. It’s not what I would describe as fun but it’s not hard,” said Dr. Jennifer Griffin, principal al Grandview Middle School.

Griffin is not only wearing a mask but also doing temperature checks of anyone visiting the middle school. She along with eight other principals in the district recently had her photo taken sporting a facial covering.

Across town at Viewmont Elementary, Jeff Hodakowski thought it was a great idea for the principals to talk about wearing masks before the school year started. He said he has asthma which could cause more health issues for him if he contracted COVID-19 but that’s not the reason he wears a mask.

“The reason I do it is because I care about my family here. We all look at our students and our parents and our teachers as one big family. It’s my responsibility to be the leader and show that it can be done,” Hodakowski said.

The school district shared some of the photos of the principals wearing masks posted on its Twitter and Facebook pages. Griffin wrote that she does it to protect the immunocompromised and as an act of kindness for others.

“Teaching is who we are. And if you’re in education you want to make the world a better place. It’s not hard and we all need to take care of each other and this is one simple thing we can do,” Griffin said.

And as part of that, Hickory Public Schools decided to start school with remote learning for the first four weeks. The district website said there’s more information to come about what happens after that.