Elementary school students in Elmont. For now, no matter how...

Elementary school students in Elmont. For now, no matter how much parents yell, kids will have to continue wearing masks. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The successes keep coming.

There are the ones we hear about. The Regeneron Science Talent Search semifinalists and finalists. The thousands of students who passed Advanced Placement exams last spring, ranking the region first in the state. The Miller Place teen who coordinated a virtual "hackathon" for girls learning how to code.

Imagine the ones we don’t hear about. The students who graduated or became the first in their families to go to college. Those who did well on a test, who completed papers and science experiments, who debated or played a sport or acted on stage, who finished the school year with a report card full of A’s.

And somehow, in some way, those thousands upon thousands of Long Island students achieved such academic success — even while wearing a mask.

It’s been a challenging time for our students. Virtual learning, time away from friends, canceled proms and shows and graduations, the deaths of loved ones. Long Island’s children have overcome huge obstacles to reach their goals and enjoy their victories.

But in many cases, mask-wearing hasn’t been the hard part — at least not for the kids. Our students, indeed, are the smart ones. The ones who understand that mask-wearing keeps them and their families safe, often while allowing them to keep learning and doing activities they love. When my 17-year-old daughter and her classmates performed on a stage last month for the first time in a year and a half, they did so in masks. They — and their masked audience — embraced every moment.

Nonetheless, the pushback against mask-wearing has been intense — mostly from a subset of vocal parents. It’s not every parent; it’s likely not even the majority. But it’s adults, not kids, who’ve been the loudest, who’ve protested at school board meetings, who’ve gotten angry and even rude, who’ve bullied others. Not surprisingly, it’s some of the same parents opposed to vaccination.

Those adults seem to feel validated by a court ruling Monday that overturned Gov. Kathy Hochul’s indoor mask mandate. On Tuesday, they protested at schools where masks were still required and will continue to be required. An appeals court has reinstated the mandate while the challenge to the authority of the state to issue it remains under court review.

So for now, no matter how much parents yell, kids will have to continue wearing masks. And hopefully, those children can teach us how to behave, by wearing their masks without complaint, by respecting their teachers and fellow classmates, by serving as an example of how to treat one another, no matter what future court rulings say.

There will be children — especially some of our older ones — who learn the wrong lessons from their protesting parents. But in the chaos and controversy, among the loudest of angry adult voices, it’s those children who are doing the right thing, who are learning and playing while wearing a mask, whom we should be listening to and learning from. The children who continue to succeed in school, who care about their friends and teachers, who wear a mask and, even if they don’t have to wear a mask some day in the future, treat those who do wear them with care.

Perhaps our kids can teach adults a thing or two. If only the adults would stop screaming long enough to listen.

Columnist Randi F. Marshall’s opinions are her own.