Masks are a great way to reduce COVID-19 in schools. Masks help stop the virus from getting into the air if the person wearing it is infected. Masks also help protect people from breathing in the virus from the air.
Image used with permission from the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
An effective mask has both
good fit and
filtration. A well-fitting mask is snug to the face, covers the nose, and has no gaps around the edges. Elastic head straps generally provide better fit than ear loops. Good filtration blocks viruses from going through the mask. The highest quality mask that will be comfortably worn is better than no mask at all.
Persons younger than two years old must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
Double Mask (cloth mask over a medical mask)
N95 for older children
Cloth Mask with three or more fabric layers
KF94, KN95 and N95s
KF94s and KN95s are both available in kid's sizes with good fit and good filtration. Be sure ear loops are sized for a snug fit. Carefully check reviews before purchasing online, as many counterfeit KN95s are on the market. N95s also provide excellent fit and filtration but will not fit smaller faces. N95s in size "small" may fit older children. These masks may be safely reused if the ear loops and nose clip continue to provide a snug fit unless they become damaged or dirty.
Medical Masks (Including Surgical and Disposable Face Masks)
Kid-sized medical masks provide good filtration, but do not provide a tight fit. The fit of a medical mask can be improved with a simple
modification, by tying a knot on the ear loops to create a snug fit, or using a
mask brace. To find a high-quality medical mask, search for "ASTM medical masks for kids."
Fabric masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but many have both poor fit and filtration. Effective kid-sized fabric masks have:
- Two layers of tightly woven fabric with a third layer of non-woven fabric (such as polypropylene)
- A nose wire to reduce gaps around the nose
- Adjustable ear loops