Appropriate and consistent use of cloth face coverings may be challenging for some students, teachers, and staff, including:
- Younger students, such as those in early elementary school.
- Students, teachers, and staff with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties.
- Students, teachers, and staff with special educational or healthcare needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.
Consider use of clear face coverings that cover the nose and wrap securely around the face by some teachers and staff. Clear face coverings should be determined not to cause any breathing difficulties or overheating for the wearer. Teachers and staff who may consider using clear face coverings include:
- Those who interact with students or staff who are deaf or hard of hearing, per IDEA
- Teachers of young students learning to read
- Teachers of students in ESL classes
- Teachers of students with disabilities
Clear face coverings are not face shields. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness for source control.
Not all families will agree with school policies about cloth face coverings. Schools should have a plan to address challenges that may arise and refer parents, caregivers, and guardians to CDC’s guidance on cloth face coverings.
- Include cloth face coverings on school supply lists and provide cloth face coverings as needed to students, teachers, staff, or visitors who do not have them available.
- Include clear face coverings on school supply lists for teachers and staff who regularly interact with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students learning to read, students with disabilities, and those who rely on lip reading as a part of learning, such as students who are English Language Learners.
- Ensure that students and staff are aware of the correct use of cloth face coverings, including wearing cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth and securely around the face.
- Ensure that students, teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize their hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before putting on a cloth face covering.
- Ensure that students, teachers, and staff are aware that they should not touch their cloth face coverings while wearing them and, if they do, they should wash their hands before and after with soap and water or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
- Ensure teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before and after helping a student put on or adjust a cloth face covering.
- Ensure that all students and staff are aware that cloth face coverings should not be worn if they are wet. A wet cloth face covering may make it difficult to breathe.
- Ensure that all students and staff are aware that they should never share or swap cloth face coverings.
- Students’ cloth face coverings should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping.
- Students’ face coverings may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.
- Cloth face coverings should be stored in a space designated for each student that is separate from others when not being worn (e.g., in individually labeled containers or bags, personal lockers, or cubbies).
- Cloth face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.
- Students and schools should consider having additional cloth face coverings available for students, teachers, and staff in case a back-up cloth face covering is needed during the day and to facilitate every day washing of cloth face coverings.
Source: Guidance for K-12 School Administrators on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings in Schools