Non-Medical Masks, Cloth Masks and Face Coverings
Non-medical/cloth masks or face coverings are mandatory for all students in K-12. Families are responsible for providing their child(ren) with the mask(s) or face covering needed each day and are encouraged to find a style that provides fit and comfort. The school may assist families who are unable to secure masks for their child(ren); please contact your school for more information. For further information about non-medical masks, cloth masks and face coverings, please visit the Health & Facility section
of the September 2021 plan.
Halton Region Public Health has shared information on the use of non-medical masks/face coverings in schools. We encourage all families to view this fact sheet
as it contains helpful tips to support students in wearing masks/face coverings in schools. The following tips have been provided by Halton Region Public Health to support students with wearing masks.
- Tip #1: Involve your child in choosing a fun pattern they like for their mask. Or let them decorate a plain mask. When you involve your child in decision making they feel empowered.
- Tip #2: Normalize face masks through play. Children learn and process feelings through play. Make a mini mask for your child's favourite stuffy, doll or superhero. Your child can practice taking the doll's mask on and off as well as their own. Listen as your child plays. This is a good way to gain insight into questions or concerns they may have! You can also draw masks onto characters in a colouring book. Thanks Children's Health for this tip! https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/7-tips-to-help-your-child-wear-a-face-mask
- Tip #3: Make sure the mask fits comfortably. The mask should cover the child's nose, mouth and chin, There shouldn't be any gaps at the sides. Ask your child if the mask fits comfortably. Also ensure they can still breathe easily. You can watch the video from our Medical Officer of Health on Masks, including safely putting it on and taking it off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6584PcBCnm4&list=PLTNdBXhX4tDKE3ypsocv785ZJWIepEuDI&index=8
- Tip # 4: Practice with your child how to safely put on and take off the mask. This includes washing or sanitizing their hands before putting on the mask and after removing the mask. Remind the child that they should not touch the mask. If they accidentally do, they should wash or sanitize their hands (which could have been contaminated by touching the mask). Practice the steps before eating lunch at home. Your child can help choose and personalize their individually labeled container or sealed bag to store their mask in. Include this in your practice! Check out this Fact Sheet on our webpages 'Use of Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings in Schools' http://ow.ly/Ej5W50BbMFX
- Tip #5: Consider motivating kids to get used to wearing a mask by pairing it with something they enjoy, like reading stories with you or allowing video game time (within your limits) while wearing their mask. Gradually increase the time the child practices wearing the mask (giving breaks as needed). Thanks for the tip CHEO!
- Tip #6: Practice calming strategies like deep breathing, going outside, colouring, etc. You can also use distraction to help your child get used to wearing a mask (listening to music, playing a board game, etc)
- Tip #7: Review the rules around wearing a mask at school:
- 1. Change the mask if it is wet, damp or dirty (sending your child with a second clean mask will be helpful in these cases).
- 2. Do not share masks or touch someone else’s mask. Label your child’s mask with their initials.
- 3. Ensure your child knows which side is up/down, inside vs outside. Consider labeling to help your child if they are unsure.
- 4. Rules specific to your school.
- 5. Remind your child that not everyone will be wearing a mask, some people are unable to due to medical or other issues. Also remind your child that classmates shouldn’t be treated differently because of this or due to different mask patterns, styles, etc.
Staying Safe and Healthy at School - Tips from Halton Region
Halton Region Public Health has created the following videos for students with tips from Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health, on how to stay safe and healthy at school: