Tips about wearing masks for students going back to school

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As children prepare to go back to school, most will be wearing masks for in-person learning.

The chair of pediatrics for Carilion Children’s, Dr. Kimberly Dunsmore says wearing a mask is key. She also gave some tips for parents about the topic, since many parents have concerns about young kids and masks.

For students who will be returning to in-person learning she says wearing a mask is key.

Dr. Dunsmore says children over the age of 2 should wear masks unless they have special medical conditions that would prevent them from wearing one. She says if they do have special medical needs, that should be a conversation between the child’s medical provider.

She says it may be harder for younger kids, but there are some things parents can do to make it more engaging.

Dr. Dunsmore recommends making it fun. She says parents can put it on a favorite toy or stuffed animal.

She says parent should practice wearing masks with their children to make them more comfortable.

“The mask should be fun and it can be decorated as long as it’s not a surgical mask like I’m wearing. The surgical masks lose their integrity when they are decorated,” said Dr. Dunsmore.

“So cloth masks can be decorated, but not these. And talk about it being a personal hygiene object. So just like we don’t share toothbrushes or brushes, you don’t share masks. That’s your own personal mask.”

She says to store them for lunch, remove it and place it with the outside up, or in a paper bag.

And she says it’s important to clean them.

“As far as cleaning the masks, a surgical mask like I’m wearing is disposable and shouldn’t be washed, it can’t be cleaned and should be discarded after they are used. And for the cloth masks, they should be washed daily after their use.”

She says parents should try to work up to 30-minute intervals of wearing the mask. And make a rewards system for doing it correctly.

Dr. Dunsmore also says it’s also important for children to be current on their immunizations.

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