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Strategies to Support Students’ Wearing Cloth Face Coverings in Schools

Masking at School

Published on August 25, 2020

Disclaimer
General masking guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Phelps Health Clinical Psychologist Dr. Forrest Rackham. Parents, caregivers or guardians who are unsure about what to do or who have questions regarding masks should check with their local school districts for specific policies and guidance.

To protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, the CDC recommends ​wearing cloth face coverings in public settings. Since so many people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms, wearing cloth face coverings reduces the chance of transmitting the virus through the spray of spit or respiratory droplets. ​​

Read on for strategies to help students at all ages adjust to wearing cloth face coverings in the classroom.

Face Coverings in Elementary School Settings

  • Ensure that teachers and school staff are available to help students put on and adjust face coverings as needed. Also make sure teachers and staff wash or sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer that includes at least 60% alcohol before and after helping students adjust their face coverings.
  • Play games or engage in other fun activities that teach students how to properly wear a face covering.
  • Consider using art materials or other creative outlets to help students understand why face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Face Coverings Middle School Settings

  • Show short videos or incorporate short lessons (less than 10 minutes) that teach students how to wear a face covering.
  • Follow videos with verbal instructions that demonstrate the correct ways to wear a face covering.
  • Engage the class in discussions about why face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Incorporate a lesson into the science curriculum on how respiratory droplets spread infectious disease.
  • Create a school competition for the best health communication strategy to highlight the importance of wearing a cloth face covering to middle school students.

Face Coverings High School Settings

  • Show videos or incorporate lessons that teach students how to wear a face covering, including the correct and incorrect ways to wear a face covering.
  • Follow videos with verbal instructions that demonstrate the correct ways to wear a face covering.
  • Ask students to write a short paper on the science behind the use of cloth face coverings as a form of source control.
  • Create a school competition for the best health communication strategy to highlight the importance of wearing cloth face coverings to high school students.

Students with Special Healthcare Needs

  • Ask students to practice wearing face coverings at home before they return to school.
  • Share social stories about face coverings with students so they know what to expect at school. A social story is similar to a simple picture book that teaches students about what to expect in social settings.
  • Introduce students with sensory concerns or tactile sensitivities to face coverings with a variety of materials, prints and textures, and allow them to choose which face covering is most comfortable.

Babies and Children under Age 2

Babies and children under the age of 2 should not wear cloth face coverings because of the danger of suffocation. Talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions about your child wearing a cloth face covering this school year.

Supporting Your Child During the School Year

Learn more about supporting your child during COVID-19 and access a back-to-school checklist here.

Found in: Safety Wellness