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Face Masks and Face Coverings for Kids Attending School

Schools are opening up again, but with a few conditions. Masks are now part of the dress code. Where can you find face covers for school? Just about anywhere! You can shop online or go to just about any drug store, grocery store, or department store. Some entrepreneurial people even sell them as individuals. They come both in plain and practical styles but also in fun prints and bright colors so you can express yourself even while covering your face. 

What Kind of Face Mask is Needed?

There are disposable ones, but washable ones are more cost-effective. the World Health Organization recommends that a face cover has three layers to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Cotton is comfortable and breathable. Teachers working with deaf/hearing impaired students and students still learning how to read or speak another language may want to use masks with a clear window that shows the mouth while keeping it covered. Legally, children under age 11 are not required to wear face masks, but if they are otherwise unimpaired it is a good idea. For safety reasons, children under three should not wear masks but perhaps their handlers should. 

How to Wear a Face Cover?

A face mask has to cover both your mouth and nose. Wearing the mask just covers the mouth while leaving the most exposed is an incorrect way to wear a mask. The fit should be comfortable but very secure against the side of the face. A mask that is too large for the face will not fit near the face in the correct way. The mask needs to be secured to the head using ties or ear loops. People with unusually large heads may find they have to do alterations to make a mask fit. This is acceptable as long as the ties are secure. 

What Should Schools Do?

Masks should be included on the school supply list. Remember to specify clear masks for students who might need them. The office should have some disposable masks available for anyone who does not have one. All students and staff should be taught the proper use of masks including not to wear them while wet. Masks should be marked with names or initials and sharing them is to be highly discouraged. Teachers or staff who help younger students with their masks should sanitize their hands directly afterward. Autistic children may need extra encouragement to get them to wear their masks. Letting them choose their own or putting a small one on a favorite toy can help. Even older children can be swayed into wearing masks if they see influential people wearing them. High school students may be able to understand a lesson on how masks can prevent the spread of communicable diseases. 

What If the Student has a Medical Excuse?

Occasionally, a student may bring a note from a health care provider excusing them from wearing a mask. The reasoning behind it is usually the student has breathing problems even while at rest or is disabled in some way that makes it so that they are unable to remove the mask. In this case, the student may wear a face shield and should practice six feet of social distancing. 

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