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School and effective face masks

Riverside ESC opens for the start of the school year on Monday 8 February. That is great news for parents and carers, our staff and especially for our students. The Department of Education will shortly issue directives to schools about how we need to conduct activities at school over the next week and we will share their advice with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, please note the following.

The WA government has advised:

  • masks are required to be worn by all school staff.
  • masks are not required to be worn by primary school students, that is, anyone under 12 years of age.
  • everyone else must wear a mask when in public (such as when bringing your children to school) or at work.
  • teaching staff are permitted to remove their mask while teaching to help with clear commuication and instruction.
  • No one has to wear a face mask if they have an illness, condition or disability which makes wearing a face mask unsuitable.

PARENTS VISITING SCHOOL

Parents are allowed on school sites; provided they:

  • wear a mask at all times
  • practice 1.5m between adults physical distancing, where practicable
  • follow good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.

As you will be aware, the hallmark of this period is fluidity - what is the rule today may change tomorrow, or next week, or later - and it is truly remarkable how agile we have all become. As always, we direct you to the WA Government COVID website for the latest information that may affect you and your family, by going to https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus, or phoning 13COVID (13 26843).

FABRIC MASK GUIDE - ESSENTIAL INFORMATION (derived from the government website)

Many people have become very resourceful with the creation of homemade masks and perhaps you have already witnesed or heard of weird and wonderful creations, some delightfully lighthearted. However, the serious side is that a mask needs to meet basic criteria to be effective. Creating masks by cutting up socks, even new ones, does not keep you or those around you safe.

Fabric masks are used for source control. That is, they act as a barrier between your mouth and nose and the surrounding environment to protect those around you.

Fabric masks must be 3 layers. Each layer requires a different type of fabric.

These should be washed after every use, or when wet or visibly dirty. Wash with laundry detergent on the hottest setting (preferably at least 60 degrees C). Avoid using disinfectants to clean the mask because they may produce fumes that are harmful to inhale.

If you are unable to machine wash, wash in hot water with a laundry detergent then rinse thoroughly..

Make sure your fabric mask is dry before re-using.

Once dry, store your clean fabric masks in a disposable, sealable plastic bag to protect from contamination.

Over time, your fabric masks will need to be replaced. Replace your fabric mask if:

  • it no longer fits snugly
  • it starts to slide or fall off
  • there are any holes
  • you find you need to keep adjusting the fit
  • the material has started to wear or fray.

Stary safe and keep well.

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