As our children go back to school there's a new norm in that they must wear a mask literally all day long.  There is talk of there being 'mask breaks', which would require children to be outside as opposed to inside of the school, but with colder temperatures on the way, a 'mask break' outside of school could be a bit challenging,

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What are the best masks to get as schools begin to re-open?  

According to WGRZ News, Dr. Thomas Russo, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University at Buffalo, suggests that cloth masks are least effective relative to COVID-19. If a cloth mask is a preference these are the guidelines, per Dr. Russo (according to WGRZ)

"A cloth mask should be multi-layered, ideally at least three layers, and the material should be a dense cloth with a high thread count,"

Dr. Russo added this directive as well regarding face coverings/masks in general (according to the WGRZ News article)

"If you could see through it, or if the mask is on and you blow and you can feel air on the other side, then the density of the material is really not sufficient to afford protection for your child, or if they're infectious, to afford protection for others."

Another Spokesperson from the Erie County Department of Health said that "Children should wear masks that fit snugly on the sides of the face and are secure under the chin. Cotton fabric or T-shirt material is recommended, especially if making your own at home." 

Dr. Russo identified which types of face coverings/ masks should be avoided (according to the WGRZ News report) :

  • Gaters,
  • Bandanas,
  • Scarfs and
  • Any mask that you might see with valves, even though they look cool because those are one-way valves, so if an individual is infected, they will expel infectious material and put others at risk, according to Dr. Russo in the WGRZ article.     

Both Dr. Russo and Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein are urging parents to get your kids a mask as soon as possible and begin mask training so they'll get used to wearing a mask because they'll have to wear one all day long while in school, with the exception of 'Mask Breaks' which may or may not happen at all schools. (WGRZ).

The Erie County Health Department spokesperson recommends this for parents:

  • Label masks with the child's name and
  • Wash the masks daily, in addition to
  • Pack extra face coverings in case the one they're wearing gets damaged throughout the day.