Compulsory education re-started for pupils on Monday, 14th September with the use of face coverings required by Pembrokeshire County Council for all school staff and Secondary school learners in communal areas.
In Primary school settings, staff are expected to use face coverings in communal areas, in line with schools’ own risk assessments.
The World Health Organisation has now provided guidance to the Welsh Government on the use of face coverings.
It underlines that a face covering alone cannot protect you from Covid-19. You should always combine use of a face covering with these protective measures:
1. Physical distancing where possible
2. Avoid touching the mask or face
3. Clean hands frequently and thoroughly
Face coverings are not a replacement for far more effective measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene.
Where a decision is made to use a face covering the World Health Organisation encourage that individuals use recyclable/multi use fabric face coverings and use them correctly, covering the mouth and nose, ensuring hand hygiene before putting on and following removal.
Face coverings should be made up of three layers but do not need to be medical-grade face masks.
Face coverings reduce the risk of spreading the virus; by wearing a face covering, you protect others. When others wear a fabric covering, they protect you. The correct way to wear a face covering is:
1. Ensure hand hygiene is performed before putting on the face covering.
2. Place the face covering carefully, ensuring it covers the mouth and nose, and tie it securely to minimize any gaps between the face and the covering. Avoid touching the covering while wearing it. Replace covering as soon as they become damp with a new clean, dry covering.
3. Ensure hand hygiene is performed before touching the covering.
4. Remove the covering using the appropriate technique: do not touch the front of the covering but untie it from behind or from the straps.
5. After removal or whenever a used covering is inadvertently touched, clean hands using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
To care for a fabric face covering wash it with soap and hot water (at least 60 degrees) at least once a day. Do not share your mask with others. Change your mask if it gets dirty or wet.
If your fabric mask is not dirty or wet and you need to re-use it, store it in a clean, re-sealable plastic bag. When removing the covering from the bag, hold it by the elastic hooks.
Guy Woodham, the Council Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, welcomed the guidance from the World Health Organisation and said: “We all have a personal responsibility to do what we can to prevent the spread of the virus and I appeal to all Pembrokeshire people and any anyone visiting to follow these rules when wearing a face coverings, keep up good hand hygiene and remember social distancing.”
For further guidance on how to wear a fabric face covering safely visit: https://youtu.be/9Tv2BVN_WTk