Face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
Here are the top seven things you should know.
1. Do all students have to wear face coverings?
Yes, face coverings are required for all students inside school buildings and anywhere on school grounds, including outside. They are required while traveling on buses, vendor transportation or other WCPSS vehicles. They are also required when 6 feet or more apart from other individuals. Students will be allowed to remove them only when eating, drinking, or during a scheduled ‘face covering break’. Students who require medical accommodations should speak with their school.
2. Are there requirements for the types of face coverings that must be worn?
- Yes. Your child’s face covering must:
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face
- Be reasonably comfortable
- Allow them to breathe easily
- Be secured safely over nose, mouth and under your chin
- Be changed if it becomes soiled or wet
View the CDC’s website: How to Select, Wear, and Clean Your Mask for more information.
3. Can my child wear a gaiter?
Gaiters can be considered if they are designed to secure safely over their nose, mouth and under their chin. Note that the CDC guidance states that evaluation of gaiters is ongoing.
4. Can students wear a face covering with a vent?
No. The CDC advises that masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others.
5. Can my child wear a face shield instead of a face covering?
No. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness.
6. What if my child won’t wear a face covering?
It is understandable that some children may struggle with wearing a face covering at first. That’s why it’s critically important that you practice wearing the face covering at home to help your child get used to it. To help them get comfortable, try putting a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal or show your child pictures of other children wearing them. You can include your child in the selection of their mask. Finally, try using behavioral techniques such as positive reinforcement to increase the likelihood that children will comply with mask guidance and other prevention practices.
7. What if the face covering doesn’t fit?
Review these instructions from NCDHHS on how to adjust the fit of face coverings, as needed, for students or adults.
Use these social stories to help your child learn about face coverings
We’ve developed these two ‘social stories’ to explain why it’s important to wear a face covering.
- Face Covering social story for younger students
- Face Covering social story for special education students
Do you have additional questions?
Do you have questions about the face covering requirements for students? Let us know here. We’ll gather your questions over the next few days and use them to develop an FAQ. We’ll update this blog post with those FAQs and share them via social media.