Despite the effects of COVID-19, WVU students are still performing thanks to a mask designed by Kym Scott, the University's director of choral activities.
According to Scott, these masks were made available to WVU students in vocal performing classes, theatre and more.
“So, people who were involved in choral ensembles, in voice classes, in theatre classes, our music theatre students in particular, all got one,” Scott said. “Also, our music therapy students that were going out into the community for their practicums were all issued with a mask for this semester.”
These masks are different from regular ones because they have more space, according to Scott.
“It has this whole section in the inside that sits away from the nose and mouth, and that allows for not just resonance, so it creates more sound and clearer," Scott said. "Basically you are more easily understood."
According to Scott, there are two types of masks that are available: the performer’s mask and the teacher’s mask.
The performer’s mask comes in two sizes. One size is designed for adult singers, while the other is designed for middle school and elementary school students.
“The main product is what we’re calling the performer’s mask, so it’s really designed predominantly for singers, but it’s also being used by theatre students,” Scott said. “It has sort of the most space, so it allows for more resonance and more ability to take a good breath.”
The teacher’s mask is a smaller-sized mask that is more comfortable for teachers and public speakers.
“A different product, which is basically a smaller version, so it still sits out from the nose and the mouth, but not as far, and that I’ve really marketed to teachers and public speakers,” Scott said.
Scott worked with WVU’s Center for Inhalation to test the masks’ effectiveness.
“We looked at basically two things: the fabric, so different fabrics obviously filter better than others, and we looked at the fit,” Scott said. “We worked predominantly on making a mask that didn’t have gaps.”
Due to the fit of the masks, glasses will not get fogged up like with most masks.
“So, for people wearing glasses it’s ideal because it fits so snug,” Scott said.
These masks aren’t only available for WVU students but also the general public. Both the performer’s and teacher’s masks are available on the Sing-Safe website.