Face Mask Protocol

Needham Public Schools Protocol for Face Masks

In every school building, mask wearing is required for all staff and students in grades Pre-K to 12. Students will provide their own masks, although each school will have an extra supply of masks available. Our school nurses prepared a video to explain and demonstrate the proper use of masks to ensure everyone's safety.

Face masks are an effective measure to take in preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially when used in combination with hand washing and social distancing. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes and/or talks; these droplets can land in another person’s mouth, eyes or nose, or be inhaled into the lungs. A large portion of people may be infected with COVID-19 and not have symptoms (asymptomatic); masks can protect the general public by containing the respiratory droplets of an infected person who is asymptomatic, therefore reducing the spread. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has provided the following requirements and guidance regarding face masks:


Who Should Wear a Mask?

- Students in grades Pre-K to 12 are required to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth.

- If a student or students are at school, and are notified that they were in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, they will need to wear a face mask for the remainder of the day.

- Adults are required to wear masks.

- Face masks must be worn during bus transportation (all students).

- Mask breaks must be provided throughout the school day as determined by the teacher, and the ability for students to maintain a distance of a minimum of 6 feet while not wearing a mask.

- Masks must be worn under face shields, unless staff are able to maintain physical distancing of greater than 6 feet from others; in that case, the mask can be removed from under the face shield and must be reapplied once distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.


Who May be Exempt from Wearing a Mask?

- Students who have disability or safety impact may be exempt from wearing a mask.

- Nursing will evaluate whether a medical 504 is indicated.

- Nurses will share information about students’ exemptions with staff directly working with those students.

- Staff with who are unable to wear a mask due to disability or safety impact should notify Human Resources and their principal.


Who Should Supply the Masks?

- Face masks should be provided by the student/family; a supply of masks is available in each of the buildings for those students who can’t provide their own supply or who may forget their mask.

- Masks must be clearly labeled with the student’s name/initials.

- The District will provide face masks for staff, although staff may provide their own and, a supply of disposable masks will be available in each of the buildings.

- Students should bring a minimum of 2 cloth face coverings per day in case one becomes soiled and needs to be replaced.

- Students and staff should bring a labeled paper bag to school to keep mask clean when eating or taking a mask break and should store properly: https://youtu.be/ZHQN3YrmDqo

- If a student becomes ill during the school day, the nurse will provide a disposable surgical mask to the student to be worn until dismissal from the isolation area/medical waiting room.

- Gaiters/Buffs/Bandanas and masks with valves are not permitted.


Removal of Face Masks

- Staff/students will be provided with education re: proper removal and disposal of face masks/ cloth face coverings.

- Hands must be washed prior to reapplying clean face masks.


Mask Breaks

- Mask breaks should occur throughout the day when students can maintain physical/social distancing of 6 feet.

- Mask breaks should occur in a well-ventilated area. If possible, mask breaks should be encouraged when students are outside, and/or if windows are able to be opened.

- Mask breaks should occur for a minimum of 10 minutes. If students are 6 feet apart, one suggestion could be to have every other student take a mask break for 10 minutes while in class.

- Students should wash/hand sanitize hands before and after removal and/or reapplication of mask.

- Students should place mask in clean bag that has initials/name, and/or on a clean paper towel, removing the mask by the ear loops or ties and avoiding touching the outside of the mask.

- If mask becomes contaminated during break, a new mask should be applied; soiled disposable face masks should be placed in regular trash receptacle.

- After break, student should pick mask up by ear loops/ties and place back on face, covering nose/mouth and chin, and should not touch the outside of the mask.

- Cloth/reusable race masks that are soiled should be placed in clearly labeled paper bag and brought home each night for laundering.

- If a student needs to cough/sneeze, they should keep their mask on and cough/sneeze into their elbow. If the mask appears wet from the outside, or feels wet to the student, they should be at least 6 feet away from others, replace the soiled mask with a clean one, and wash their hands.








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