Wearing a face covering during the coronavirus pandemic helps prevent the spread of germs, in addition to social distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick. Masks will be an important part of our “stay healthy” protocols this fall, and now is the perfect time to begin looking for masks that will fit and be comfortable for your child, and practicing for their wear.
While you have considerable latitude when it comes to choosing face masks for your child, we do have several standards that masks must meet to qualify for use at school, including:
- Two layers of material. To be a useful barrier, masks must have a minimum of two layers of breathable material. If the face mask has a third layer or an insert for a filter, even better!
- Loop or tie. Secure with ear loops or behind the head ties and allow students to remain hands-free.
- Fit to face. Masks should fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin without gaps between the mask and face. A number of manufacturers are producing masks in small sizes and we encourage you to take time now to find one that fits your child well. Built-in nose wires are helpful for ensuring that the mask is snug to the face and doesn’t slip off the bridge of the nose.
- School-appropriate. Masks must be school-appropriate without violent or offensive images or text.
- Purchase multiples. Students will be expected to wear clean masks each day so be sure to purchase enough to ensure this is possible. We also suggest your child bring a backup mask to store at school just in case it’s needed.
- Don’t buy masks with built-in breathing valves. Built-in breathing valves are not permitted in masks unless a second cloth mask is worn over the mask with vents.
- No Face shields on their own. Similar to the valves, face shields are permitted only if worn in conjunction with a mask.
- No neck gaiters or bandanas. Neither provides adequate protection when worn on their own.
- No violent or offensive images or text. Any image or text must be appropriate for a school with students in K-8th grade.
The CDC provides helpful information about cloth masks, including how to make them, how to wear them, and how to wash them, here.
This article from Forbes contains links to numerous retailers who are offering kid-sized masks at all different price points. If a link in the article takes you to a mask that is sold out, look for a restocking date or search that retailer’s site for alternatives. For example, the Nordstrom masks linked in the article are sold out, but a search of Nordstrom’s site brings you to numerous other in-stock options. Additional retailers shared with us include Head Covers , Vistaprint, Ki Collection, NxTSTOP , CASETiFY, VIDA., and Fabric Mask USA.
If you find that purchasing masks is becoming cost-prohibitive for your family, please contact Margie Gottfried to talk about how we can help.
If you have any questions about whether a mask meets our standards, please contact Annie Wilcoxen.