Mask Guidance for Families with Children Attending the In-School Learning Model

Per the Team Kentucky Healthy at Schools Guidance students and staff are required to have a mask with them at all times.  To help younger students with the health requirements, we will post signage to remind them that, “When you move, you mask.”

When students will be required to wear masks

Students will be required to wear multi-layer masks when arriving and dismissing from school and in common areas such as hallways, restrooms, and traveling to lunch. The majority of the school day students may forgo wearing a mask, as classroom seating arrangements will be such that they provide the required 6’ distance. When a student moves, they mask; when a teacher enters the student’s 6-foot bubble within the classroom, students and teachers must mask. Six-foot spacing will also be afforded when students are at lunch, participating in outdoor learning activities, and in PE class. 

Students need at least two clean masks each day

Each student must arrive at school wearing a clean mask and should bring a spare in a small paper bag or breathable container labeled with their name.  Many days they will not wear the second mask, however we ask that they bring one in the event their primary mask becomes soiled or damaged.  They can store the bag/container in their backpack if preferred.  We do not recommend sealed plastic baggies for storage of masks and ask that your students’ cloth masks be laundered after a day’s use before wearing again.

When students refuse to wear a mask

If they do not have a documented preventing medical condition and refuse to wear a mask, the student should enroll in the At-Home Learning Model option as students enrolled in the In-School Learning Model must follow state face mask requirements that are in place to protect the health and wellness of fellow students and staff. 

Teach your child about mask best-practices

Please teach your children before their return to school about the best practices for wearing a mask.  To be most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 masks must be worn correctly:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before putting on your face covering
  • Put it over your nose and mouth
  • Secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily
  • Do not share masks with other students
  • It cannot be held in place with a hand

APS Mask Standards

To meet the guidelines that were released in late June, masks must be multi-layer.  The Team Kentucky Healthy at Schools Guidance outlines that school districts must develop a standard for masks.  Masks that meet that Anchorage Independent School District developed standard include the following:

  • Multi-layer cloth mask that is secured with ties or ear loops (we recommend that parents avoid masks with ties as they can be more difficult for students to manage independently)
  • Multi-layer gaiter masks (If you have purchased single layer gaiter masks we recommend that you fold down a section that will cover your child’s mouth and nose when it is being worn and sew it in order that it remains in that position to create two layers of protection.)
  • Disposable multi-layer masks (Team Kentucky recommends that parents and schools avoid purchasing and wearing medical-grade disposable masks in order that those critical supplies can be reserved for health care providers.  We encourage you to avoid new purchases of these masks, but certainly understand that many families, including our school, were preparing in May for the return of students and already have a year’s supply on hand.  The masks provide the desired protection and meet our requirements.)
  • Cloth masks that include a clear plastic see-through panel

Masks that do not meet the Anchorage Independent School District requirements include the following:

  • Masks with an exhalation valve
  • Masks with words, pictures or slogans that display obscene words or slogans or that advertise or promote the use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco/nicotine products
  • Face shields
  • Bandanas 
  • Scarves

More information about face shields

State health officials report that it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles and they are not included in the Team Kentucky guidance as an acceptable alternative to a cloth mask. Face shields will not be acceptable as a substitute for cloth face masks and they are not allowed by our school district for students as they present frequent disinfecting challenges for staff and can lead to injuries in settings such as recess or PE. We will make exceptions to this requirement for students that have a medical condition that prevents the use of cloth masks, but that allows for the use of face shields.  We will also allow staff to use face shields in combination with cloth masks or when they are more than 6’ apart from others and not moving.  It will be easier for staff to manage the accompanying disinfection requirements than it would be for our students, so we have made this decision based upon guidance.  If new guidance is released that is in conflict with this decision we will revisit and inform parents of any changes.

Bandana and scarf information

Bandanas and scarves will not be accepted as an alternative to a multi-layer face mask.  These items that are not designed to be a mask will provide some protection, but they are difficult for students to manage independently.  We want our students to be outfitted with masks that allow for independence in putting on and taking off to the extent possible.

Exhalation valves on masks

The presence of an exhalation valve reduces exhalation resistance, which makes it easier to breathe (exhale). Some users feel that a mask with an exhalation valve keeps the face cooler and reduces moisture build up inside the face piece. However, masks with exhalation valves should not be used in situations where a sterile field must be maintained because the exhalation valve may allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the sterile field.

The following are examples of masks that meet the APS standards:

The following are examples of masks that do not meet the APS standards:

The following are examples of masks emerging on the market that do not currently meet the APS standards as we are in the process of seeking guidance from health officials:

Please submit questions here.