Will Australian schools make P2/N95 masks mandatory for kids?
With schools returning soon there may be big changes ahead to keep your little ones safe in the classroom.
The holidays are almost over but with case numbers surging and face-to-face learning still given the green light, there's been talk that those cloth masks and single-use masks may become a thing of the past.
In their place? N95 or P2 masks for both kids and teachers.
Current mask rules
While no mandates have been made yet over what type of mask a child must wear, schools across the country have been enforcing mask rules alongside the government's requirements since last year.
This means children at or above a certain age, typically 12 years or older, must wear a mask when indoors. However, they do not need to wear a mask outdoors, say for sport or during their lunch break.
"At the moment it is either cloth or disposable types," a head teacher at a private school in Sydney told Finder.
"But hearing the news, it might be N95. We just don't know who will stump up the costs. If it comes to that, teachers will wear N95 and bring their own while the kids must wear disposable ones."
Whatever the case, the head teacher is certain that mask-wearing is here to stay. "Students are to wear masks indoors during class while they don't need to wear them outdoors. All teachers must wear masks indoors except at mealtimes," he says of his school. "I believe these rules will remain unchanged when we return to school."
Why N95 or P2 masks over cloth masks?
N95 and P2 masks are designed to filter at least 94% of particles in the air. They seal around the face and nose to protect your airways.
While cloth masks can provide a certain level of protection, these masks vary and are regulated. Because of this, they are likely not as effective at blocking particles as an N95 or P2 mask.
So, are individual schools likely to mandate N95 and P2 masks?
Generally, school rules are based on the official government and health advice. At the moment, the only rules are that older children, often 12 years or older, must wear masks indoors.
Schools do not have to enforce what type of mask children use at this point in time. However, private schools can if they wish to.
Mask rules by state for children
|State||Mask rules for children at school|
|New South Wales|
|Australian Capital Territory|
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