Students’ Experiences of Wearing Face Masks During Teaching and Learning at Health Tutors’ College Mulago
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO,) recommended that due to the dominant strains of COVID 19 infection, all students, teachers, staff and visitors in all education institutions wear face masks consistently while indoors regardless of their vaccination status as they return to face to face learning. This study sought to establish the experiences of students wearing face masks during the teaching and learning process at Health Tutors’ College Mulago in Uganda. Specifically, the study sought to identify the types of standard operating procedures being observed; establish the benefits and challenges of wearing face masks among students during the teaching and learning processes at Health Tutors’ College-Mulago. This was a qualitative study employing a phenomenological design and the purposive sampling technique was used. A group of 12 participants from different medical backgrounds pursuing the Post Graduate Diploma in Medial Education course were interviewed. Data were analyzed qualitatively using themes and categories in line with the specific objectives. The findings indicated that wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene were rated highest among the SOPs being observed; the benefits ranged from protection from the virus and dust to increased attentiveness, while the challenges included poor audibility and physical symptoms resulting into incorrect and inconsistent mask use of face masks. Wearing face masks, social distancing and hand hygiene were rated highest among the SOPs being observed at Health Tutors’ College-Mulago. The benefits of wearing face masks ranged from protection from the virus and dust, to increased attentiveness, while the challenges included poor audibility and physical symptoms resulting into incorrect and inconsistent mask use of face masks. The study recommended that there is need to devise ways to mitigate the identified challenges of wearing face masks and to encourage all members of school communities to adhere to the recommended SOPs against COVID-19.
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