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COVID-19 Update: New Mask Protocols (Gr 1-6)

Topics covered in this post:

  1. New Mask Protocols for Grades 1 to 6

  2. Fit

  3. Quantity and Type

  4. Mask Containers

  5. What Teachers Will Do

  6. How Parents Can Help

  7. Recess and Outdoor Play

1. New Mask Protocols for Grades 1 to 6


SUMMARY:
• Recommend 3 proper-fitting masks per child, 2 labelled containers “clean” & “used”
• Masks to be worn at recess

Our experiences and observation of the children since the start of the school year have taught us valuable information about effective student mask use. We have created a new mask protocol and recommendations that we hope will provide clarity to parents.

a) Fit


Proper fit is extremely important to the effectiveness of masks. We notice that children touch and remove their masks less frequently if they fit snuggly and comfortably.

b) Quantity and Mask Type


We recommend that Grade 1-6 children bring (at least) 3 cloth masks (or disposable masks) to school: one on their face when they arrive, and two laundered masks stored in a container. Teachers will schedule “mask changing times” at specific times of day (for example, following morning recess and after lunch or afternoon recess). Cloth masks need to be laundered before re-use.


A good cloth mask or face covering should:

  • Be at least two layers of tightly woven cotton or linen.

  • Cover over nose, mouth and chin, and be easy to breathe through.

  • Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops without gaping or impairing vision.

  • Be comfortable to avoid the need for adjustments when wearing.

  • Maintain their shape after washing and drying.

  • Not contain non-breathable materials such as plastic.

(https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-reduce-virus-spread/)


Children with medical conditions are not required to wear masks.

We recognize that some parents will need some time to gather the requested materials we have requested. Our hope is for you to have this in place by Tuesday, October 13.

The PA is working with JICS parent, Dr. Lisa Strug (Senior Scientist Genetics & Genome Biology, Sick Kids) to source reusable 3-ply face masks and/or a laundering service that would be a future optional program for parents to enroll in. More details coming soon by the PA in response to the Parent Survey.

c) Mask Containers


We ask that children have two labelled containers: one for clean, ready to use, laundered mask and the other for “used masks”. Please add the child’s name to each container.

d) What Teachers Will Do


  • Students will be reminded to avoid touching the front of their mask when removing it. Face masks should be removed by un-tying it or removing the loops from the ears.

  • Teachers provide hand hygiene to students before students put on a new mask.

  • Teachers (especially of young children) provide support to students regarding adjusting fit during the day.

e) How Parents Can Help


Parents are asked to review proper use of and wear of masks with their child/ren. These TPH resources may be helpful:

f) Recess & Outdoor Play


At the Lab School, we value outdoor playtime as a vital part of the school day. When children play freely during recess, they have the opportunity to grow in socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively important ways. We view recess as a time for children to be as autonomous as possible. Our goal is to provide developmentally appropriate parameters that allow for independence, choice, physical challenge, solitude, exertion, and social connection.


“Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where children initiate their own games and even invent their own rules.” David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally


These past weeks of school have demonstrated that despite their best efforts, children do not have the capacity to gauge safe distance when playing outdoors. We have decided that, rather than stopping their natural play, we are recommending that children in Grade 1-6 wear their masks at recess. If children need a “mask break” during recess, we will identify safe, socially distanced spaces where they can go and we will provide hand sanitizer. We will formally share this new information with children tomorrow and we ask parents to support this initiative by speaking with their child/ren about the reasons why mask wearing is important at recess. (The children in Gr 1 and 2 have successfully piloted wearing their masks at recess this week.)

Parents, thank you for your flexibility and support as we continuously examine ways to improve the safety of our community.


All the best,

Richard

DR. ERIC JACKMAN INSTITUTE OF CHILD STUDY

LAB SCHOOL

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