All students, staff and families are expected to wear face coverings consistent with Washington Department of Health and Labor and Industries requirements. Face coverings are required in Washington in all public indoor spaces, and outdoors when you cannot maintain 6 feet from others according to a July 7, 2020 statewide order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee. The Bellevue School District will post information and signage in our buildings consistent with that expectation.
Will students have to wear masks for the entire time they are at school?
Students are expected to wear face coverings when they are at school. Teachers will provide regular, safe, mask-free time (mask breaks) for students, with a focus on breaks for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Are there exceptions to the mask requirement?
Yes. There are exceptions to the mask requirement, they include:
- Babies and toddlers under age 2 should never wear cloth face coverings.
- Anyone with a disability that makes it hard for them to wear or remove a face covering.
- Anyone who is deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate.
- Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering because of personal health issues.
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the face covering without help.
Are face masks with exhalation valves or vents allowed?
No. The Centers for Disease Control indicates that these masks are not adequate for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 as they allow virus particles to escape.
Are gaiters and one-layer face coverings going to be accepted as proper face coverings for students, educators and staff?
Public Health – Seattle & King County reports that acceptable cloth face coverings include cloth masks, scarves, bandanas, etc.:
- Face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
- Face coverings should cover from the bridge of your nose to under your chin.
- Face coverings should have multiple layers (2 or more) The Duke University study which indicated that neck gaiters are not acceptable forms of face coverings has since been found to be inaccurate. Rather than spreading viral particles from the gaiter during the study, small pieces of the gaiter were being spread during exhalation. Gaiters made of 2 or more layers of fabric are more effective than single-layer gaiters, however a single-layer gaiter is more effective at blocking viral spread than wearing no mask at all.
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