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Following Fraser Health's recent mandate requiring Grade 4 to 12 students to wear non-medical masks indoors, the district would like to highlight mask safety among children and address any related health and safety concerns.
Experts agree that wearing a mask is an effective way to protect yourself and others against the coronavirus. It prevents the spread of droplets from a person's mouth and nose when talking, laughing, yelling, singing, coughing or sneezing.
According to the BCCDC, masks are considered safe for children two or older, provided they are worn properly and handled correctly.
Young children may find masks irritating and inadvertently touch their face and eyes more. The health order does not require kindergarten to Grade 3 students to wear masks, though they are encouraged to do so if they would like to, in line with the Gr. 4-12 requirements.
To ensure the effectiveness of your mask, remember to bring at least one clean mask to school every day. Try not to touch it while you're wearing it. Replace your mask if it gets wet or soiled during the day if you have a spare one.
It's important to remember that even when wearing a mask, you need to continue to wash your hands, keep your distance from others and stay home when sick.
For cloth masks, hand or machine wash after each use using the directions on the original material, preferably with hot or warm water, and allow the mask to dry completely before use. Replace the mask if it tears, as any damage or breakdown to the fabric or change in fit will reduce the protection of cloth masks.
For more information on masks, including how to wear a mask and cleaning and disposal instructions, visit the BCCDC.