In an effort to balance the goal of reducing the risk of viral transmission between students and staff against the potential negative impacts of face masks on a student’s learning experience, the following recommendations and requirements will be implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. All SGWS employees are required to wear a face mask unless there is a health-related concern that prohibits one from being worn. Employees are required to provide documentation from a healthcare provider for SCPH approval if they believe they have a medical exemption from wearing a face mask.
2. Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten students are required to wear a face mask at all times from arrival to dismissal with some exceptions throughout the day.
- It is important for parents to help teach and support their child in putting on and taking off their own mask.
- Teachers will reinforce the teaching on proper wearing and removal of face masks.
- In case of a soiled or wet mask, all students should have two extra face masks in their backpacks in addition to the face mask they wear to school.
- Students may remove their face mask when:
- They are seated in their designated area for snack and lunch or while
getting a drink of water;
- Seated outside while maintaining 6 ft of physical distance;
- When a student needs a short break or a new mask and can be seated in a safe area designated by the teacher away from the class
3. Kindergarten, Grades 1-8 students are required to wear a face mask at all times from arrival to dismissal with some exceptions throughout the day.
- It is important for parents to help teach and support their child in putting on and
taking off their own mask. Teachers will reinforce the teaching on proper wearing
and removal of face masks.
- Students may remove their face mask when:
- they are seated in their designated area for snack and lunch;
- during outdoor learning and/or recess where students are able to maintaina distance of 6 ft or more physical distance;
- while getting a drink of water following classroom rules and maintaining physical distance; or
- when a student needs a short break or a new mask and can be seated in a safe area designated by the teacher away from the class.
- Face masks that are visibly soiled or wet must be exchanged for a clean one.
- Documentation from a healthcare provider is required if a student has a medical or developmental reason for not wearing a face mask. Additional accommodations will be considered for any student who cannot wear a face mask for those reasons.
4. In accordance with ODH Director’s order issued 7/23/20, all adults must wear face masks inside the building AND outdoors when they cannot consistently maintain 6 feet of distance from individuals not in their family/household.
5. CDC recommends that the general population wear cloth face masks (unless otherwise recommended by a healthcare provider) so that N95 and surgical-type masks are reserved for healthcare workers. The cloth face mask should fit snugly yet comfortably on the face, mask the nose, mouth and chin and reach from before the ear around to the
other side of the face. Bandanas and neck gaiters have been shown to be ineffective at controlling droplet emission and should not be worn at school. Face masks with a translucent, plastic window that show a person’s mouth are permitted.
6. All students should wear a clean face mask daily. It should be marked clearly with their name. Consider writing front and back in case it is not obvious for the student. All students should have two spare face masks in their backpacks in addition to the face mask they wear to school. The school will provide a bag to store the face mask in use for the day. Face masks should be washed regularly at home.
7. A staff member may remove their face mask:
- if they are sitting at their own desk in an otherwise empty classroom or office;
- while eating with 6 ft physical distance from all other individuals; or
- outside at a distance of 6 feet or greater from all other individuals.
8. Face masks should be worn if staff members are working in an indoor communal space and any other individual is present. Teachers and staff should have their face mask accessible at all times.
9. Face shields are intended to provide additional protection to an individual by reducing viral transmission from droplets entering the eyes and face where a face mask does not provide protection. Reusable face shields or eye protection can be worn WITH a face mask if a student or staff member chooses to do so. Per CDC guidance, face shields are not known “to provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles.” The CDC does not recommend face shields as a substitute for face masks. ODH guidance states that face shields can be an alternative where cloth face masks would hinder the learning process. Therefore, SGWS will permit face shields to be worn by a teacher WITHOUT a face mask only when they are outdoors, or 6 feet or more distance from anyone else and the use of a face mask will impair the learning process. Use of face shields may be impacted by county or state public health orders. They must be cleaned and disinfected properly after use.