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Mask/Face Covering Protocols - Bulletin #7

Mask/Face Covering Protocols - Bulletin #7

Belmont Public Schools Mask/Face Covering Protocols

  • Masks or face coverings are one of the most important mitigation tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks covering the nose and mouth are to be worn by ALL students, staff, visitors, and vendors. 

  • Masks are an important measure to take to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and are effective, especially when used in combination with social distancing, proper handwashing, and staying home when sick. Some people are infected with COVID-19 and don’t have symptoms (asymptomatic); face coverings help reduce the spread by containing the infected person’s respiratory droplets from traveling to other people.

  • With students being spaced at a minimum of 3 feet in the classroom, wearing masks consistently and properly is imperative to decrease the spread of the virus from person to person. Administrators, faculty & staff will continue to monitor and reinforce adherence to this policy. Unless students are eating lunch or taking a mask break and at a 6-foot distance, masks (covering nose and face) will be expected to be worn.

Exemptions

  • If a student/staff cannot wear a face mask due to a medical condition, disability impact, or other health and safety factors, please contact your school nurse. BPS requires a note with the medical condition exempting the individual from wearing a mask from a PCP, Neurologist, or Psychologist. 

Minimal requirements for masks:

  • The effective fabrics for cloth masks are tightly woven, such as cotton and cotton blends, breathable, and in 2-3 fabric layers (CDC)
  • Gaiters and bandanas will not be permitted
  • Masks with one-way exhalation valves will not be permitted. These masks make it easier to breathe, but also allows air to escape unfiltered, which could increase the risk of the spread of the virus.
  • N95 or KN95 masks are not recommended for general use
  • It is very important to wash cloth masks daily after each use.
  • Change mask when soiled
  • Families are to provide their child with a mask to wear and one or two for a backup
  • When taking a mask break/removing a mask, we need to be cognizant as to where we place the mask. Parents/guardians, teachers, and staff should remind students to place their masks in a paper bag, or a pocket of their backpack.  When changing into a new mask, please throw old disposable masks in a trash receptacle.  ALWAYS wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
  • Mask Disposal: if a reusable mask breaks and needs to be thrown out or if a single-use mask needs to be disposed of, it should be placed into the nearest trash can by the individual who wore the mask. The individual should immediately put on a new mask after washing their hands.
  • Schools will support adherence to masking, including putting up signs with reminders to wear masks and how to remove them safely, having a supply of masks for staff and students who may need them, identifying spaces that are appropriate for mask breaks, and making available more trash cans to throw away used masks.
  • Face Shields are not a replacement for masks

Mask Guidelines:

  • It is important to find a mask that fits your child properly and that they are comfortable wearing to school. 
  • Please send your child to school wearing a mask/face coverings and pack an additional one in their backpack, in the event, they soil their mask during the school day. 
  • Please label your child’s mask(s) with his/her/their name. 
  • The teachers and support staff that service all students that have hearing impairments must wear a mask that has a transparent window (smile mask) on it to enable the student to lip read.  
  • Parents, guardians, and/or visitors during any drop-off or pick up of children from school or on school premises must have a mask on at all times. 
  • All students will be provided mask breaks throughout the school day and at the discretion of the teacher.  It is important that:
    • Students will need to be 6 feet apart and preferably outside while this takes place.
    • If inside the classroom, while maintaining 6 feet social distance with classroom windows open, every student can remove their mask for a break.  In the classrooms where we are not consistently maintaining a 6-foot distance, mask breaks and snacks should be provided utilizing an every other row process to ensure over a 6-foot distance between unmasked students.  
    • Masks help prevent the spread of the virus, and although it is ideal for students to be outside during mask breaks, if children are going to be playing outside and unable to maintain 6 feet distance from each other and will be using their “outside voices”, it would be beneficial for them to remain masked at that time and take their mask break when they can maintain social distancing and using “inside voices”.
    • When students remove their masks, the contaminated side of the mask must be placed on a student's own individual paper towel or other means of storage.
    • Students need to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after touching their mask/face covering.

How to Improve Fit

Ways to Increase Mask Protection: Improve Fit and Filtration

Knotting and Tucking of a 3-ply mask video

Face Covering Masks that are NOT allowed in Belmont Public Schools: These types of masks are exempt as they pose safety challenges in mitigating the spread of the virus in the school setting:

  • Bandanas and gaiter face coverings are not allowed because they do not seal the face and tend to be touched and adjusted more frequently by the user.   
  • Face masks that have an exhalation valve are prohibited as they could increase the risk of the spread of Covid-19

Plan to handle a student who is noncompliant with wearing a mask with no documented exemption:

  • BPS staff will educate the class (all students) and assist in developing a positive culture of mask-wearing. 
  • BPS staff will reinforce the policy of mask-wearing and contact parent/guardian about the student being noncompliant with mask-wearing.
  • If a student is still non-compliant at this point, then the student is to have a conversation with the school administrator and the administrator is to contact the parent/guardian about concern about the student being noncompliant with mask-wearing.
  • If a student continues to be non-compliant with mask-wearing then the student may be moved to remote learning. 

How to put on a face mask: 

  • Ensure your face mask is clean, dry, and not damaged
  • Wash and dry your hands before putting on your face covering
  • When putting on your mask, do not touch the front of it
  • You should only handle the ties or ear straps 
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face- no gaps
  • Make sure you can breathe easily
  • Wash or use hand sanitizer to your hands after touching your mask

To safely remove your mask: 

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 percent alcohol). Ensure your hands are dry.
  • Remove the face mask from behind (do not touch the front or inside of the mask) by untying ties or removing loops and pull it away from your face. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing your mask
  • Clean, store or dispose of it appropriately 
  • Clean your hands again (as above)

While wearing a face mask: 

  • Do not touch the front of the face mask. If you do, clean your hands and dry them thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your face, as infection can still be introduced by touching your eyes or if you are not wearing your face mask correctly.
  • Face masks should not be moved during use. This includes being pulled up or pulled down below your chin. If you need to remove your mask (for example, to eat) - remove it safely, dispose of it appropriately (or wash if a home-made facial covering or cloth mask) and clean your hands.
  • Replace the face mask if it becomes damp, damaged, or soiled.

 How to properly wear a mask – Insider

Do wear mask that fit well

Special considerations

How to select a mask

Wash your mask

Wash your cloth mask whenever it gets dirty or at least daily. If you have a disposable face mask, throw it away after wearing it once.

Using a washing machine

  • Include your mask with your regular laundry.
  • Use regular laundry detergent and the appropriate settings according to the fabric label.

illustration, washing machine

By hand

  • Wash your mask with tap water and laundry detergent or soap.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove detergent or soap.

laundry detergent

Dry your mask

Dryer

  • Dry your mask completely in a warm or hot dryer

Illustration clothes in dryer

Air dry

  • Hang your mask in direct sunlight to dry completely. If you cannot hang it in direct sunlight, hang or lay it flat and let it dry completely.

illustration, cloth masks hanging on a clothes line

Resources: 

Categories: Health and Nursing Bulletin

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