COVID-19 update on face coverings for kids
As Indiana Hoosiers began to wear face coverings on Monday due to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order because of COVID-19, some children might not be comfortable wearing the masks.
Because many families have stayed home, and children have limited exposure to the public for several weeks, some children have not had to wear or might not be unfamiliar with wearing or seeing people wearing a face covering.
With the start of school in Clay County approximately eight days, wearing a face-covering is something that all age-appropriate children will have to become acclimated to during the upcoming school year.
The Clay Community School Corporation’s board of trustees approved a ‘roadmap’ of what going back to school will look like in July. Face coverings are a part of that plan.
“Face coverings are not required (to return to school), we do not require that, but we recommend it,” said Super4intendent Jeff Fritz during the4 July meeting. “That could change if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or our local health department says we have to do that, then we will follow those guidelines.”
The recent data for COVID-19 provided by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Clay County Health Department shows a trend of a potential second wave on the horizon, with positive cases slowly rising daily across the state and locally.
With 37 years of educational experience, Fritz wholeheartedly believes, “traditional in-school instruction – the direct, eyeball to eyeball instruction -is the most impactful and powerful” way for students to learn. The goal was to start the school year with everyone going back to school.
On July 23, the Clay Community Schools Facebook page updated the community about COVID-19 trend data:
“CCS Family & Community Members: As was mentioned when we developed our CCS 2020-21 School Year Roadmap, it will be a working document that will undoubtedly undergo several revisions throughout the school year. We will be working with our local health department, etc. to address the Governor’s new face mask requirement, etc. in our Roadmap, and we will share this information when finalized.
Thank you, Jeffery D. Fritz, CCS Superintendent.”
The school board will be meeting Thursday (July 30) to wrap up business before the start of school on August 5. Meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Central Administrative Office, with the policy about face-coverings on the agenda, as well as an update on the 2020-21 School Year Roadmap.
Young children and cloth face coverings
With Indiana on an executive order with Hoosiers required to wear face coverings in public places, it’s a good time for parents to educate and encourage their children about the proper use of cloth face coverings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides some information for parents and guardians about the topic on their website cdc.gov/cornoavirus/2019. According to the health officials, appropriate and consistent use of face coverings may be challenging for some children. Wearing cloth face coverings should be a priority when it is difficult for students to stay 6-feet apart from each other (e.g., during carpool drop off or pick up, when entering the building or standing in line at school, or while on the bus).
However, cloth face coverings should not be worn by:
Children younger than two years old
Anyone who has trouble breathing
Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance.
The Clay Community School website (https://www.clay.k12.in.us/) provides more details about students wearing face coverings to school.
The CDC recommends parents consider the following as the start of school counts down:
• Have multiple cloth face coverings, so you can wash them daily and have back-ups ready when needed.
• Choose multi-layered cloth face coverings that fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and completely cover the nose and mouth, secured by ties or ear loops,
• Label your child’s cloth face coverings clearly in a permanent marker so that they are not confused with those of other children.
• Provide a labeled clean container or plastic baggie with the child’s name on it to put their mask inside when not wearing it.
Health officials urge parents to practice with children putting on and taking off cloth face coverings without touching the cloth. They should also explain the importance of wearing a cloth face covering and how it protects other people from getting sick. Consider talking to other people who may not be able to wear cloth face coverings for medical reasons (e.g., asthma).
Families should consider modeling as a whole wearing cloth face coverings, especially when in situations where physical distancing is challenging to maintain or impossible.
Help build a child’s comfort wearing a cloth face covering and become comfortable seeing others in face covers, by offering praise for wearing a cloth face-covering correctly.
Other ways to ease tension and anxiety include:
Put a cloth face covering on stuffed animals.
Draw a cloth face covering on a favorite book character.
Show images of other children wearing cloth face coverings.
Allow your child to choose their cloth face covering that meets any dress requirements your school may have.