Elementary nurses - mask question

Posted

Specializes in School Nurse, past Med Surge.

So in our state we have been told that when the kids are in their classroom, sitting down, socially distanced, facing the same direction like when the teacher is doing instruction the kids can take off their masks. Also the kids can take off their masks when they’re out at recess - but they need to wear their mask until they get to the point on the playground where they can be distanced enough from each other for that to be safe. What are you guys doing with masks when they do have the chance to take them off? The idea in my district is to get breakaway lanyards that the kids can clip to the ear loop of the mask that I assume they will wear all the time. I’m not in love with the idea but I haven’t thought of anything else especially for recess. Any ideas?

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

Guidance in my state is face-up on paper towel.

Remember, not touching the inside of the mask if one intends to put back on is important, especially if hand washing/sanitizing is not happening before and after putting a mask on/off. Those landyards, the inside of the mask can touch everything as the kid runs/etc. (Still, they are better than nothing!)

Personally, I'm teaching folks how to touch the loops only when taking off, folding it to protect the inside and having either small paper bag or plastic baggies to put the mask in to protect it. Then wash/sanitizer before taking mask out and putting it on while best trying to not touch the inside of the mask.

Yes, folks will say ideally one shouldn't touch the outside of the mask either (or your face all day). But I'm a realist and we are human, both kids and the adults.

SaltineQueen

Specializes in School Nurse, past Med Surge.

We keep asking for guidance on best practice but haven’t seen anything yet. That was my concern with the lanyards - they’re going to be flopping around & touching everything. Maybe I’ll teach them to clip both loops on so that the inside is folded together???

These kind of look interesting.

mask keeper.jpg

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

16 hours ago, SaltineQueen said:

We keep asking for guidance on best practice but haven’t seen anything yet. That was my concern with the lanyards - they’re going to be flopping around & touching everything. Maybe I’ll teach them to clip both loops on so that the inside is folded together???

What about attaching a thicker baggie of some sort, so mask can be taken off, put in there, but still not lost? But the double clip to fold the mask will offer more protection to the inside certainly.

Masks are more for protection for others or course, but I'm also trying to not have kids inhale other germs out there to a degree and overall hope this will help the importance of good hand hygiene sink in ;).

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 12 years experience.

19 hours ago, SaltineQueen said:

We keep asking for guidance on best practice but haven’t seen anything yet. That was my concern with the lanyards - they’re going to be flopping around & touching everything. Maybe I’ll teach them to clip both loops on so that the inside is folded together???

There isn't good guidance. Because....this is the first time that I'm reusing a surgical or N95 mask!! Inside folded together sounds good to me. Also we'll need to instruct on proper mask removal. People dragging their masks down on their necks...eeesh.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

45 minutes ago, ruby_jane said:

There isn't good guidance. Because....this is the first time that I'm reusing a surgical or N95 mask!! Inside folded together sounds good to me. Also we'll need to instruct on proper mask removal. People dragging their masks down on their necks...eeesh.

YES. I hate seeing it so much. All those germs. Nope, nope, nope.

I've already send out one video to staff re: COVID scenarios with a clear mask demo (we are purchasing this for any staff that requests it, reusable and 2/per staff) that talks about prior mask usage (like wash it every day, please!). One video of a long line of videos I'll be making.

KeeperOfTheIceRN, ADN

Has 4 years experience.

Not sure if this is a great idea, but our district is providing neck gaiters to every staff and student. This was their idea for this topic. That way, they just have to pull it down when not using it and pull it back up when they need it. I don't love the idea of it during the Summer months because it gets HOT HOT HOT here and the gaiters essentially become a scarf. But alas, that is what we're doing.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

36 minutes ago, KeeperOfTheIceRN said:

Not sure if this is a great idea, but our district is providing neck gaiters to every staff and student. This was their idea for this topic. That way, they just have to pull it down when not using it and pull it back up when they need it. I don't love the idea of it during the Summer months because it gets HOT HOT HOT here and the gaiters essentially become a scarf. But alas, that is what we're doing.

They are also one layer, which worries me. I vetoed them for my school. Also, covering the neck just adds to the hot factor. I have a large supply of lightweight disposables for kids/staff to use.

Assuming recess comes approximately mid-day, what about requesting all students come to school with at least one extra mask per day? Kids take off their morning mask before they go out to recess, and put on their clean afternoon mask when they're done.

During instruction time, they could put their masks on a designated clean part of their desks, like on a paper towel, and reuse. But it's hard for a kid to keep a mask clean at recess, and I think a lot of them will end up dragging on the ground or catching on play equipment (breakaway clasps keep the kid from getting strangled, but the mask is still contaminated).

k1p1ssk, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing. Has 10 years experience.

We are getting ziplock containers that will be used during lunch/recess/mask breaks and will be student specific. There are concerns for lanyards, where the outside and inside of the mask may become soiled/contaminated if it is hanging off a kid's neck during recess. The kids will be taught/supervised performing hand hygiene before and after removing their masks and placing them in the container. I think it would be some thing like: Hand Hygiene, open container, take mask off, hand hygiene, close container. I'm basically taking the CDC recommendations for mask re-use and adapting it for school use. Families will be encouraged to have children use a clean/new mask daily. Our district has purchased surgical masks for use in situations where a mask becomes unusable during the day (it becomes soiled or breaks, etc).

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

We're using paper lunch bags to store masks while not in use.