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MTSD Pandemic Team

Most Asked Questions About Masks

Most asked questions about masks graphic

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions we have received regarding face coverings and masks for the upcoming 2020 School Year.

Which face masks are approved for school?

Updated 8/28/2020

  • Disposable Masks
  • Cloth Masks
  • Face Shields ONLY with a mask underneath at the same time.
  • Neck Gaiter Style is acceptable ONLY if the material is 2 ply per CDC guidance

8/28/2020 Update on Face Coverings:

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, and protect our students/staff while providing instruction face to face the Pandemic Team has determined at this time, MTSD will continue to follow the CDC's recommendations for face coverings for the 2020 School Year and Athletics. We have developed a resource guide for parents and students with the guidelines from the CDC to be referenced for the style and types of face coverings to be worn to school and athletics. Our Pandemic Team is sensitive with regards to any additional anxiety that may occur due to the classroom and building environments for our Students, Administrators, Staff, and Teachers. As a school district, it is critical we offer an environment that is inclusive, accepting, and fair to all who enter our buildings and engage with our staff, students, teachers, and administration. Our core value of acceptance extends to the preventative measures we have put in place to provide instruction face to face, including the style and types of face coverings permitted in our schools.

Millcreek Township School District understands and anticipates that some students/staff will be unable to wear a face mask and will use a face shield as a substitute based on their IEPs or other specific circumstances. We will remain supportive of those staff/students as per DOH guidelines, with the caution that a face shield has not been shown to protect against COVID-19 infection as well as a face mask. Parents with this concern should contact their building principals for additional information or guidance. We also recognize that a neck gaiter is a style of mask, and upon further review see that style as acceptable, as long as the material is 2-ply, no valves, no vents, as recommended by the CDC.

Our administrators look forward to welcoming all our students back to school in the coming weeks and continue to ask our parents and staff to remain flexible as new research evolves providing new guidance for the school environment.

Thank you!

Return to School Mask Resource 8/28/20

How should a mask be worn?

Graphic showing a child wearing a mask correctly and incorrectly.
CDC Image or how to safely weat and take off a cloth face covering

How to wash a mask:

  • Masks should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove masks correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask.
  • Visit the CDC guidelines on How to Wash a Mask
CDC content on how to wash your hands correctly
Graphic to tell you to clean your mask every day.

Where do students wear masks?

  • Inside at all times.
  • Outside the school when social distancing isn't possible.
  • On the bus.
  • If you are 6' distanced from others AND your teacher gave permission, the following are instances when you may remove your mask:
    1. Eating or drinking
    2. Engaged in any activity such as recess or a mask break
  • K-5 Students are encouraged to store extra masks with their teachers.
  • 6-12 may store extra masks in their book bags or their lockers.
8 where to wear

10 TIPS TO HELP KIDS WEAR FACE MASKS

1. EXPLAIN IN SIMPLE TERMS WHY KIDS SHOULD WEAR THEM

Wearing a mask is an act of kindness. Just like we have taught you to sneeze into your elbow, we’re asking you to wear a mask to prevent germs from spreading. It’s telling others that you care about them and you’re trying your best to keep your germs to yourself. This is why everyone needs to wear one.

2. ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR FRUSTRATIONS

Kids are frustrated by how coronavirus has impacted their lives. It can be helpful to acknowledge this and normalize their feelings, especially when they may feel like this is another negative way that COVID-19 is affecting their normal way of life.

3. BEGIN PRACTICING WHEN THE TIMING IS RIGHT

The best time to first practice is when everyone is well-rested, well-fed, and in a pleasant mood! It will be easier for everyone to have a positive experience with the practice when they’re in the right mindset.

4. DO PRACTICE SESSIONS AT HOME

Allow them to touch it, sniff it, and hold it in their hands for an increasing amount of time to build skill and comfort (5, 10, 30 seconds for example). Then have them hold it to their mouth for 1, 2, 5, 10 seconds, progressing up to a minute or more. Keep a few masks handy for play. Kids can pretend to be a doctor or a nurse or teacher while wearing their mask.

5. STAY POSITIVE AND MAKE IT FUN!

Give them lots and lots of compliments for practicing and keeping the mask on for longer periods of time. Point out when your kids are keeping their hands away from the mask (instead of only commenting on when they are touching it). Once they’re more comfortable keeping it on, have them do fun things while wearing it. Do a silly dance, paint pictures, play their favorite games, or read their most-loved books. Practice putting masks on their toys, dolls, or stuffed animals. If they’re into superheroes, they may enjoy being called a “masked superhero” when they wear the facial covering. Distraction can really help them to ignore some of the yucky sensations that kids may feel when wearing it, such as the warm, wet breath and tightness around the face. You can also decorate your own mask using markers and stickers.

6. USE POSITIVE, CLEAR, POLITE COMMANDS AND BE CONSISTENT

It might take some practice to change how we give commands. Rather than saying “Stop touching your mask”, instead say, “Please keep your hands away from your face.” When setting limits say, “If you’d like to go with me to drop this off, you’ll need to wear a mask, please” instead of “You can’t go if you don’t wear your mask”. Replacing “NO, STOP, CAN’T or DON’T” statements with positive and active (“DO”) statements can make those desired behaviors more likely to happen!

7. PRACTICE WITH OTHERS

Set up a video chat with friends or family members to practice wearing masks together. It will help normalize wearing them as well as provide encouragement for people on both ends of the call. Kids also learn new things quickly from their friends (like using “potty talk”!) and practicing together can make it more fun.

8. PLAN TO TAKE BREAKS FOR RELAXATION AS NEEDED DURING PRACTICE SESSIONS

Allow your children to take breaks if they seem overwhelmed to make sure that practice is happening when they are calm. Your child may find it helpful to practice mind and body relaxation during these rehearsal sessions. Taking a quick break from wearing the mask can be helpful if it is getting uncomfortable. We want to be sure that your children are prepared that the mask will be put right back on for practice once they are more relaxed.

9. PROVIDE INCENTIVES WHEN NECESSARY

Many kids will simply need extra practice and encouragement to build comfort with this new behavior. However, if your children typically need incentives when trying something new, you can provide one here as well. Use approaches that have worked well in the past, such as sticker charts, picking favorite meals, and extra quality time playing and reading with a parent.

10. BE A ROLE MODEL

Parents can set a good example by practicing wearing masks too. The more positive, calm and easy-going we are about it, the more likely kids will be to follow our lead. It can be hard to see your child in a mask, especially at first, so breathe deep and give yourself grace that this can be hard for you, too.