Returning to School During COVID-19

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Jan 19

Allegro Pediatrics

Returning to School During COVID-19

by Allegro Pediatrics

Many schools in the area will soon be returning to in-person learning. You are probably feeling both excitement and nervousness as you prepare your child for a new and different learning environment. One of the most important steps you can take as a parent to keep your child healthy is making sure they wear a mask.

Wearing a mask works in two ways. If you are healthy, masks help protect you by preventing you from breathing in COVID-19 virus droplets. If you have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic, masks protect others by preventing virus droplets from spreading into the air. Wearing masks at school will be critical to children and teachers staying healthy and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Allegro Pediatrics will not be signing mask exemption letters for students returning for in-person learning. We understand that the idea of wearing a mask may feel stressful as you prepare your child, but we have been delighted to find that most kids are resilient and settle into wearing a mask routinely. There are no medical circumstances in which a mask is harmful to a child’s wellbeing. There are some children that may be sensitive to sensory or need support learning to wear a mask and we are here to support your child in this process. If you have any specific questions about your individual child's situation, please schedule a Virtual Visit to talk with your doctor. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions and ways you can support your child in learning this skill:

My child has asthma. Does wearing a mask inhibit their ability to breathe?

If your child is having an active asthma flare, they should not be attending school in person that day. If they just have underlying asthma, a mask is their best defense to avoid germs or dust that could trigger an asthma attack. Wearing a mask does not alter the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that occurs when breathing and cannot cause your child to have an asthma flare.

My child has sensory issues. How can I help them learn to wear a mask?

It is important to understand that it may take practice and experimenting with several different types of masks to find one that is comfortable to your child. There are many options for meeting your child’s particular sensory needs. For example, try finding soft materials, adjustable straps or straps that secure behind their head, and a pattern that alights to their interests. It may take several different styles and fits to find the one that your child is most comfortable with. Also, make sure your child has plenty of practice wearing a mask at home before sending them to school. Have them start wearing their mask now while reading books or during screen time. Once your child sees everyone else at school they will likely feel more comfortable wearing their mask. Allegro Pediatrics does NOT support the use of neck gaiters, shirts with built in face coverings, or hats with shields for use as masks. 

What is the correct way to wear a mask?

A mask should be worn so it covers just under the bridge of your nose to under your chin. The loops or ties should be tightened so it is snug around your face without gaps. Please do not wear a neck gaiter as a mask or a mask with a valve as these do not provide adequate protection.

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Here are additional resources with tips on how to help your children adapt and feel comfortable wearing a mask: