Face Covering Guidance

Face Covering Guidance
Posted on 09/01/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Face Covering GuidanceThe July 1, 2020 order from the Pennsylvania Department of Health mandates the wearing of face coverings for all students and staff in public schools.  This order was updated on August 17, 2020.

As this is a Pennsylvania Department of Health order, wearing face coverings will be strictly enforced through the respective Student Handbook practices of each school.

WHAT IS A FACE COVERING?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health defines a “face covering” as a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face.  A “face covering” can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk or linen, and, for the purposes of the order, can include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth.  “Face coverings” may be factory-made, sewn by hand or improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.  While procedural and surgical masks intended for health care providers and first responders, such as N95 respirators, would meet these requirements, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.

WHO IS REQUIRED TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS AT SCHOOL?

According to the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, children two years and older are required to wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student’s health care provider, school nurse and IEP/504 team. The district will ask for medical documentation.

WHEN ARE FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED? WHEN CAN THEY BE REMOVED?

Students may remove face coverings only when eating or drinking when spaced at least six feet apart, when wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task or when at least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes. Face coverings must be worn at all other times.

ARE STUDENTS TO PROVIDE THEIR OWN FACE COVERING?

Yes. Students are to bring their own face coverings to school every day. We encourage families to send their children to school with an extra face covering. Younger students can make their face covering their own by selecting the fabric, color or pattern they like best.

HOW TO WEAR A FACE COVERING

Wash or Sanitize Your Hands Before Putting On A Face Covering

Put It On Over Your Nose And Mouth And Secure It Under Your Chin

Try To Fit It Snuggly Against The Sides Of Your Face

Make Sure You Can Breathe Easily

Do Not Touch Your Face Covering While Wearing It

If You Touch Your Face Covering, Wash Or Sanitize Your Hands Immediately

Use The Strings Or Ear Loops To Adjust Your Face Covering While Wearing

HOW TO REMOVE A FACE COVERING

Face Coverings Can Only Be Removed In The Instances Outlined By The Pennsylvania Department Of Health’s Order (See Page 1 Of This Document)

Untie The Strings Behind Your Head Or Stretch The Ear Loops

Handle Only By The Ear Loops Or Ties

Fold Outside Corners Together

Do Not Touch Your Eyes, Nose Or Mouth When Removing Your Face Covering

Wash Or Sanitize Your Hands Immediately After Removing Your Face Covering

When Removing Your Mask When Permitted To Do So During The School Day, Store Your Mask In A Safe Place, Like A Paper Bag, Book Bag, Pocket, Or On A Sanitized Lunch Table

Wash Reusable Face Covering After Use

Never Share Face Coverings!

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

We strongly encourage families, especially those with young children, to start practicing wearing and removing a face covering  now. We understand that wearing a face covering may be uncomfortable for children. However, we believe practicing and gradually increasing the time children wear face coverings now will better prepare them for the school day. It is essential that our younger students know how to put on and remove the face covering independently so that an adult does not need to touch your child’s face covering.

Sources: PA Department of Health, PA Department of Education, CDC
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