Reopening schools: Clarity on facemask usage for students

By Sarah Hannan

With schools starting from today, schoolchildren will have to be equipped with either two disposable masks or one reusable mask along with a case to store the latter when removed. Schoolchildren are to wear a facemask when travelling to school and when leaving school, the Health Promotion Bureau revealed.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe noted: “The kids will have to wear facemasks when taking the bus or school van, as they will be seated in close quarters with other children or passengers. They are to either dispose of the mask or store the reusable mask in its case when entering school.”

Within the school premises, schoolkids are not required to wear the facemask. However, they are to maintain physical distance from one another, wash hands or sanitise as required, and are also required to bring their own meals as sharing of meals would not be recommended.

Prior to departing the school premises, the kids are required to put on their reusable mask or the second disposable facemask they bring with them.

“Considering the discomfort and possible breathing difficulties children would face, we have agreed that they do not have to wear facemasks during schooltime. However, they should follow the rest of the health guidelines that will be communicated to them by their schools,” Dr. Jasinghe added.

While this is the general guideline schoolchildren will have to adhere to in their respective schools, some schools have decided that children will wear facemasks at all times and will only be allowed to remove it when consuming food during the interval.

Teachers are requested to educate the kids on the guidelines that should be followed when schools reopen for students.