When should children be allowed to remove their masks?
Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school, so scheduling mask breaks is important. Schools and teachers should structure times when students can take off their masks and have a break. If children are indoors, it is preferable that windows are open whenever possible, particularly during mask breaks. These breaks should occur hourly in the elementary school and by period in the MS/HS, ideally during quiet reading time or study time when students are not speaking. Teachers should consider having alternate rows remove masks at the same time during a break and then switching. Students may also remove their masks while eating. Mask breaks should be limited to approximately 2-3 minutes when not occurring during mealtime and students should not be talking during the mask breaks.
Appropriate times for mask breaks include:
- Anytime a student is eating or drinking
- At the beginning or end of a lesson
- Quiet time or study time