There has been considerable debate over the wearing of face coverings in public places, and that this debate has now extended to their use in schools. The government issued guidance to schools on 26th August 2020.
In order to allay any anxieties, and to reduce confusion about what is required, the school has decided to take the following proactive measures. These measures supersede any previous references to face masks or coverings in communications with parents:
- Face coverings to be worn by staff and students in our corridors and communal areas, but not in the classroom or outside areas
- Face coverings to be worn by visitors on arrival as a minimum (the nature of the visit to school and the areas visited will dictate whether or not face coverings may be removed)
- Face coverings may be worn at all times if an individual chooses to do so
It is vital that everyone affected (parents, staff, students and visitors) are given clear instructions on the safe and correct wearing, removal, storage and disposal of protective face coverings, and that all are clear that face coverings do not provide protection to the individual - they protect others from themselves.
A face covering should:
- Cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
- Fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
- Be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
- Be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
- Ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
- Unless disposable, be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged.
When wearing a face covering you should:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
- Avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
- Avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
- Change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
- Avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession.
When removing a face covering you should:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
- Only handle the straps, ties or clips
- Do not give it to someone else to use
- If single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
- If reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed
- Once removed, store reusable face coverings in a sealable plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them
- If the face covering is single use, dispose of it in a residual waste bin. Do not put it in a recycling bin.
Students will need to come to school equipped with enough coverings to provide them with safe cover throughout the day, and separate sealable plastic bags to store them in prior to use and after use if they are reusable. The school will ensure that residual waste bins are available in all classrooms and at visible points around the school.