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Face Coverings and Masks

Masks or Face Coverings are required on all APS School Properties. 

Employees, students and visitors must wear an appropriate mask or face covering while inside the building, APS transportation, or within < 6 ft. of another person outdoors. Face coverings are particularly important during talking, movement/physical activity, coughing and sneezing. 

APS will provide surgical-grade masks to all employees and students, and will share information about appropriate mask-wearing techniques. Backup, high quality masks will be readily offered to students and visitors who arrive at the building without one, and schools will assist families with masks if they have any difficulty securing them.

Face shields will be available to those employees working with students/individuals for whom viewing facial expressions is especially important (disabilities).

Mask breaks will be provided outside and during meals.  Lunch will be eaten in teachers’ classrooms.  

Recommended Masks

  • It is important to be aware that different masks, fabrics, and materials provide different levels of protection to the wearer and the public. The gold standard are masks that filter out > 95% of all sized respiratory droplets. 
  • Expert advisors recommend AirQueen masks, which are available from e-commerce (check that they are made in S Korea, where the technology and manufacturing was developed, because there may be counterfeits from other countries). These masks are available in child sizes, do not fog glasses, and do not deplete the hospital supply chain.
  • Cloth Face Masks vary in quality and level of protection. For greatest effectiveness, pay attention to: 
    • Fit: Cone- or cup-shaped masks that seal well to the sides of your face and do not touch your mouth are best. A bendable metal strip in the nose-bridge piece holds mask in place and seals the gaps below your eyes.
    • Comfort: You should be able to breathe easily with the mask fitting snugly. If the earloops are too tight, or too loose, use adjustable velcro ‘earsavers’.  For cloth masks, wear glasses on top of masks to reduce fogging.
    • Filtration: Two, or better three, layers provide the greatest filtration to block infectious particles. The mask should be thick enough that you cannot see through it. 

May NOT be Worn:

  • Masks with valves are unsafe for others and will not be allowed unless covered by a second, surgical-quality mask.
  • Bandanas, gaiters, and fleece or knitted face-coverings do not stay in place well, are not as effective.

Mask-Wearing Tips

  • Surgical masks may be reused as long as there is no visible damage, dirt or bad odor. Leave them for several days in a non-humid environment Whereas bacteria and fungi grow on cotton, they do not grow on the material that surgical masks are made of.
  • Wash cloth masks or face shields daily and label them to avoid confusion.
  • Earsavers that connect the earloops behind the head may be purchased online to improve the fit of the mask and also reduce ear-strain.
  • Carry 3-4 masks with you in order to change masks in case of sneezing or other soiling.

Backup Face Coverings

  • Additional face coverings will be on hand in case of a need to change after sneezing for example. 
  • SPARK recognizes that students may arrive at school without a mask or face covering, and under no circumstances will a student be denied access to school in this instance. Students will be provided with a mask or face covering to use during the day, and schools will reach out to support families who need assistance obtaining a face covering for their student(s). 

Limited Exceptions 

  • Adults: In cases in which an employee is unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition, and must work on site, they must notify their supervisor and practice increased physical distancing to minimize contact with other individuals and a face shield if possible. A medical note about the problem with mask-wearing must be provided to Mr. Harness.

  • Students: In instances where mask-wearing causes physical or emotional distress to a student due to a severe disability or medical concern, families should reach out to the student’s IEP team or Mr. Harness to discuss solutions. Speaking with a doctor about the best choice for a child who is unable to wear a mask is encouraged; and if a student does not have an existing 504 Plan or IEP, then a doctor’s note is required.

    SPARK will work collaboratively with families and students to seek solutions that enable wearing some type of face covering. For instance, a visor or wearing a hat with a visor attached to the brim is an acceptable alternative for students who are unable to wear a mask and does provide some protection to the wearer and those around them.

    Students who have been granted permission not to wear a face mask due to disability will be educated, along with their families, on their greater need for physical distancing; and staff members will receive additional training as well as being issued additional protective equipment (visor, goggles or face shield, loose-fitting shirt or coverall that can be removed and laundered after contact with student, etc.)