Civics service project promotes pandemic safety


Photo by Isabel Richmond

Adams’ Instagram page

From students’ posture to their parking, OPRF social media accounts have been popping up everywhere, for almost anything. While most of these accounts don’t gain much traction, this wasn’t the case for @oprfbelowthenose, active between Dec. 6-14. 

Over the course of two weeks, the account gained over 1,000 followers. With a total of 68 posts, the account quickly became the talk of the school. The posts were made up of a gallery of photo submissions of students, along with a sarcastic, seemingly disappointed caption.

Junior Noa Adams created the account for her Civics service-learning project. Inspired by the various OPRF accounts, Adams came up with the idea during a conversation with friends. “The idea of a page about people who didn’t wear their masks correctly was brought up,” Adams said, “In the beginning, it was a joke but as it grew I noticed how people were beginning to wear their masks correctly more often and how much of a positive response the page was getting and I realized I could make a difference with the page.”

While Adams tried to keep her ownership a secret, if people asked she would tell them it was her. The first people that knew were her friends and civics teacher, Matt McMurray.

  Anyone who has taken Civics in the past knows the end of semester service learning project is arguably the biggest part of the class. While most students choose to volunteer or donate, Adam’s take on the project was very different. This project was totally unique. The current context of a global pandemic is a contributing factor, but Noa was definitely thinking outside of the box.” McMurray said, “Additionally, I haven’t really seen anyone use a social media campaign this effectively before.”

The account was flooded with over 50 photo submissions daily. When choosing which photos to post, and which to exclude, Adam’s process was simple. “I tried not to post any photos that were obviously making fun of the account such as photos with people wearing masks over their eyes or on their heads,” she said.

 At first, Adams said she thought the account encouraged people to wear their mask below the nose for a better chance of being posted. But as the project continued, she realized that wasn’t the case.

“While some people may have lowered their mask for their friend to take a picture, no one wanted to be truly caught not wearing their mask,” she said.

Junior Will Kelly was one of the many featured on the page. “I was petrified of being posted on below-the-nose Instagram, it was traumatic,” he said.

“I saw many people put their masks up when someone mentioned taking a picture of them to send to the page,” Adams said.