Stand united, stay strong and activate your mask superpower! Not all superheroes wear capes, some wear masks — and as we start the 2020-2021 school year, all Canyons District students, employees, parents and patrons will have a role to play in defeating the common foe of COVID-19.
Canyons District schools and facilities are adhering to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s order requiring the use of face coverings in K-12 schools. It is expected that every student and employee in a school facility or on a school bus will wear a face covering — a must-have item for families to add to their back-to-school shopping lists.
Face coverings are emerging as one of the most powerful weapons to fight novel coronavirus, says Sally Goodger, the lead nurse for Canyons District. A month after Salt Lake County’s mandate went into effect, cases of the virus within the county and hospitalization rates began to level off. They may even help reduce the severity of the disease for those who contract it.
“By wearing a face covering, I’m doing everything I can to keep others safe, and when others wear a face covering, they’re keeping me safe,” Goodger says.
Of course, convincing children — especially young children who may not understand how the virus is spread — to keep their masks securely fastened can be a chore. They can be hot, itchy and uncomfortable, and it can be difficult for children to understand why they’re necessary.
But Canyons District’s Responsive Services Director BJ Weller says parents and schools play a vital role in reinforcing the importance of face coverings. “Children take cues from adults they trust, so one of the best ways we can convince children to wear masks is to model the behavior ourselves.”
This fall, schools will feature posters with warm, informational and empowering messages about face coverings, hand washing, physical distancing, and other superhero steps we can take to safeguard our communities. The District also has purchased extra supplies of face coverings in anticipation of students sometimes forgetting to bring their uniquely-fashioned favorites from home. Staff and faculty will be donning their special designs, too.
Wearing one for an entire school day may seem like mission impossible, but it’s perfectly safe; health professionals do it with no harm to their health or ability to perform medical marvels. Schools will look for opportunities to provide students with face covering breaks during lunch and recess, provided physical distancing is possible. Schools also will make accommodations for students with disabilities and special medical or mental health needs, which often can be handled through the use of face shields. Some employees, such as speech therapists, may also need to wear face shields. But for all others, face masks are required as they confer the most protection.
“Some of the most important lessons we learn in school are how to be good neighbors and friends, to respect each other’s space and be responsible for ourselves,” says Weller. “Wearing face coverings is really just another opportunity to build these social-emotional skills. Schools will treat it like any other classroom behavior we encourage and reward.”
For more information about CSD’s safety requirements, please visit our COVID-19 information page.
Tips for Getting Your Child to Wear a Face Covering
- Model it. Keep it fun and make a superhero game out of it.
- Give them control. Let children pick their favorite designs.
- Acknowledge their fears. Speak honestly and factually with your children and let them know it’s OK to be scared while emphasizing this is something they have within their power to the spread COVID-19.
- Practice makes perfect. Try face coverings on in front of the mirror and talk about how it feels.
- Focus on the positive. Reward them for wearing their face covering.