D96 COVID-19 Information & Resources » Face Coverings on School Premises

Face Coverings on School Premises

 

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, face coverings will be required for all District staff members, students, and visitors who are present in school district buildings. Face coverings will also be required on school grounds in circumstances where social distancing (six feet of distance between individuals) cannot be maintained. Face coverings are masks or other cloth face coverings which cover an individual’s nose and mouth. They should be fitted to the face, but permit breathing without restriction. Face shields may not be used in place of face coverings.

 

District Employees

All District employees will be provided with a cloth face covering for use during work hours. Employees must wear the District-provided face covering, or, if preferred, a face covering of their choice that adheres to the guidance published by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), available at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/mask-use. Face coverings may not be constructed of material that is sheer or resembles mesh or netting.

 

Face coverings must be worn by employees at all times in school buildings, whether on-duty or on a designated break time. Face coverings must also be worn on school grounds when social distancing cannot be maintained. The District will provide designated outdoor and indoor spaces, marked to provide for social distancing, which employees may use for meal breaks and other designated breaks where face coverings may be removed.

 

Employees who have a medical condition or other disability that may prevent them from safely wearing a face covering must complete the District’s “Face Covering Accommodation Form.” The information on the Form must be verified by a physician licensed to practice medicine in Illinois. Upon review of the information provided by the employee, the District may seek its own independent determination of the employee’s need for reasonable accommodation of the face covering requirement through the fitness for duty provision set forth in Section 24-5 of the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/24-5).

 

Employees who have not been approved for an accommodation under this protocol but refuse to comply with its requirements will be subject to discipline.

 

Students

All students will be provided with a cloth face covering for use during school hours. Students must wear the District-provided face covering, or, if preferred, a face covering of their choice that adheres to the guidance published by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), available at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/mask-use.

 

Face coverings must be worn by students at all times in school buildings, on school busses and any other District vehicles providing transportation to and from school, on school grounds when social distancing cannot be maintained, and at all school activities.

 

The District will provide designated indoor space, marked for social distancing and/or otherwise fitted with shields or other materials, for student use during lunch periods. The District will also provide designated outdoor space which allows for social distancing, to permit recess and other break periods for students where face coverings are not required. All lunch/recess/break periods will be supervised by District staff.

 

Students who are not wearing a face covering upon entry to school or a vehicle, or at any other school event where face coverings are required will be provided a disposable or clean cloth face covering for immediate use. Students who have not been provided an accommodation to the face covering requirement and who refuse to wear a face covering in the school building, or other school activity where face coverings are required may be sent home and excluded from instruction, transportation, and other school activities.

 

Early Childhood Students (Pre-K and K)

The District’s early childhood programs will develop modified face covering protocols based on the needs of each classroom. Parents/guardians of students enrolled in the District’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs should consult with their child’s teacher for the face covering protocol that applies to their student’s classroom

 

Tips on How to Get Kids to Wear Facemasks (Stanford Children’s Health)

By now, we all know that the novel coronavirus spreads when an infected person speaks, sneezes, or coughs within six feet of others and that wearing a mask or cloth face covering can slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the release of virus into the air. As schools get ready to reopen in the fall, many parents are looking for guidance, especially on how to encourage their child to wear a face covering during the pandemic.

Hayden Schwenk, MD, MPH, pediatric infectious diseases physician at Stanford Children’s Health, answers some frequently asked questions about face coverings for children: the best types, how to wear them properly, and why they are considered essential barriers.

Why should kids over the age of 2 wear a face covering if COVID-19 seems to be showing up predominantly in adults?

We know that the main way SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is spread is by respiratory droplets. Although it appears that children may be less likely to become infected and spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus, if infected, they may still be able to transmit the virus. 

People can spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms or are pre-symptomatic, and children are commonly asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic when infected, so the recommendation is that everyone over 2 years of age wear a mask to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

What is the best type of face covering for a child, and do the type of material, the number of layers, and use of a filter matter?

The World Health Organization recommends having a multilayer face covering to stop particles from getting in; however, having a number of layers and a filter may make it difficult for the wearer to breathe. I agree with the CDC recommendations that standard cotton masks (preferably, using tightly woven fabric like that used in a T-shirt) are fine for children.

Can wearing a mask be harmful for a child?

Children under the age of 2 should not wear a mask. Parents of children with special health care needs should speak to their child’s pediatrician about face coverings. Also, when a mask impedes a child’s ability to breathe normally, or when they are unable to remove the mask on their own if needed, the CDC recommends that a face covering should not be worn.

If the mask resulted in a child constantly touching his or her face, I would consider forgoing its use and focusing on other measures, like frequent hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and social distancing, instead.

What should parents do to encourage their child to wear a mask?

It’s important for parents to be open and honest with their child when talking about face masks, and keep the conversation at a level the child can understand. Explain to her why the masks are needed for her safety and the safety of others. Encourage the children to wear face coverings mainly when it is difficult to maintain a distance of six feet from others.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has helpful information for parents about cloth face coverings for children during COVID-19, including:

  • Have your child practice wearing the face covering in small increments of time to help him get used to it.
  • Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal.
  • Decorate the masks so that they are more personalized and fun.
  • Encourage the child to name the mask and care for it himself.

What is the best way for a child to wear a face covering?

  • Have her wear it over her nose and mouth, and make sure that it fits snugly against the sides of her face.
  • Show her how to take the mask off by pulling on the ear loops or ties.
  • Have her wash her hands before and after handling the mask.
  • Teach children not to touch or share their mask.

For more information and guidance on best practices to prevent risk of exposure or transmission of COVID-19, contact your child’s physician.

 

Students with Disabilities

Students who cannot independently remove a face covering due to their age or a physical or intellectual disability may be exempt from the District’s requirements to wear face coverings or may be entitled to accommodations to the requirement.  In rare cases, students with a medical condition that impacts their ability to breath may also be entitled to accommodation in regard to this requirement.

 

Parents/guardians of students who have a medical condition or other disability which may prevent the safe wearing of face coverings and who are currently receiving accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) should confer with [their student’s case manager/administrator/special education director]. Parents/guardians will be required to complete the District’s “Face Covering Accommodation Form” which must be verified by the student’s physician. Upon review of the completed and verified form, the District will schedule a meeting with parents/guardians and the student’s Section 504/IEP team to review the form and consider accommodations for the student.

 

The District may verify all information provided by the student’s parent/guardian and/or the student’s physician through an independent review by a licensed medical provider of the District’s choice.

 

General Education Students

Parents/guardians of students who are not currently served under Section 504 or IDEA who believe their student requires reasonable accommodation to the District’s face covering requirement must complete the District’s “Face Covering Accommodation Form” which must be verified by the Student’s physician. The completed form should be provided to the [insert administrator title], who will contact parents to set a meeting to consider the accommodation request.

 

The District may verify all information provided by the student’s parent/guardian and/or the student’s physician through an independent review by a licensed medical provider of the District’s choice.

 

Visitors to School Buildings and Face Coverings

Visitors to school are limited in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus as part of the District’s reopening plan. Visitors who are permitted must adhere to the face covering requirements. 

 

School Board Meetings

Members of the public who wish to attend Board of Education meetings must adhere to the District’s established face covering requirements. Members of the public who require accommodation to the face covering requirements should contact Cathy Perino via email at perinom@district96.org.