Information on Face Masks for Elementary Students

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How will I recognize my teacher or classmate in a face mask?

Some children may feel frightened if they cannot see someone’s full face. Become familiar with masks in a safe place, such as your home. Try putting a mask on a favorite doll or a stuffed animal, then taking it off again … they’re still there, and the same friend as always.

But I can’t tell if someone is smiling or frowning if they’re wearing a mask. I am confused!

People still have feelings, even if you cannot see their full facial expression. It is natural to wonder. Do feelings seem hidden behind a mask? Let’s try a game to play at home, Feelings Hide and Seek:

Ask a partner at home to put on a mask. Notice how body language (posture, hand gestures) expresses feelings. See if you can tell. Try asking, “Are you glad or mad?” Look closely at their eyes! Notice how a person’s eyes often show feelings. Ask your partner to explain their thoughts or feelings using words. You can let others know your feelings! When it’s your turn to wear your mask, try saying, “I wish you could see my big smile!” Or, “I am frowning right now.”

We can express caring through words. Tell someone you love them! Share your feelings with others. Let people know if you’re scared, sad or glad! Ask about other’s feelings. In this way, we learn to care and share even better.

Superheroes wear masks! Let’s pretend!

Your own imagination can be reassuring. All superheroes want to protect and help people. Superman wears a cape. Spiderman wears an entire costume! Doctors and nurses are helping people cope and be cured from illness. Their “costume” includes scrubs, stethoscopes, and face masks—like the ones we’re talking about. You can pretend your very own teacher is a superhero in disguise, ready to help you learn AND protect you from viruses!

How does Covid-19 spread?

When people cough, sneeze, breathe, or talk, tiny droplets are released into the air and may land on surfaces. Droplets containing virus particles may enter a nearby person’s nose, mouth or eyes. Or, if touching a contaminated surface and then touching eyes, nose, or mouth is another way the virus spreads.

How does wearing a face mask help?

If an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, the chance that their droplets are spread are reduced if they are wearing a mask. A cloth face may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. Since people may be infected before they feel sick, if everyone wears a mask, we will all be protecting each other!

Who has to wear a face mask? And when?

Masks are recommended by the CDC for everyone older than 2 years old when away from home in the community, such as at school, shopping, or among groups of people.

If someone is wearing a face mask, are they sick?

The idea behind wearing a face mask while in public is to prevent someone who has the virus, but doesn’t feel sick, from spreading the virus to others through their droplets. People who are sick should stay home. If very sick, they can wear a mask while at the doctor’s office.

Is “physical distancing” still necessary?

Yes. Physical (or social) distancing means keeping six feet away from others. Six feet is about the distance of two giant steps. Mask wearing is not a substitute for keeping distance.

And, YES, hands still need frequent washing!

Coughing, sneezing and talking can cause droplets that land on tables, books, tablets and toys. Imagine if someone touches those and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. This would be another way someone might catch the virus. So, keep those hands clean! Practice not touching your eyes, nose and mouth, even if wearing a face mask.

How comfortable is a face mask?

Face masks should fit comfortably, but snugly. Even though the mouth and nose are covered, masks should be easy to breathe through!

Noses may want to peek out, but noses should know that it is safer to be behind the mask! That way, both nose AND mouth are safe from spreading droplets.

What’s the hardest part about wearing a mask?

Not touching eyes, face or mask! Germs can still be spread from toys, books, tablets and tables from fingers to face masks. Then, if a face mask is touched, those pesky germs can spread further.

It takes practice to learn how to take masks on and off safely without touching the fabric. Touch only the ear loops or the ties that keep it on. Masks can be kept in their own special bag or other designated place while not being worn.

Oops! What if someone accidentally touched their eyes, face or face mask?

Do not worry, they should just go wash their hands! In fact, handwashing is recommended before AND after wearing face masks.

Helpful Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

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