The Covid-19 pandemic will be dominating the news agenda for months to come, that’s for certain. As a result, the use of face coverings in schools is a topic that continues to be widely debated in the media and more recently, there has been speculation around the future of face coverings in the UK. Will wearing masks in schools become the norm for our teachers and students, even following the full vaccine roll out?
A cultural shift
The current roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine is a welcome breakthrough in terms of managing and controlling the virus. With millions across the UK having already received the vaccine, progress is being made to contain the virus. That said, as school pupils return over the coming weeks following lockdown, keeping the spread of coronavirus to a minimum is essential to allow children to continue their education, and teachers and staff to feel protected.
It is arguable that face coverings will continue to be required as a part of everyday life – whether that’s to protect against a new influenza surge, a new variant of coronavirus or to make a conscious choice as a courtesy to fellow teachers, or pupils. It is likely that we will see a shift towards wearing face coverings in public or school environments as it becomes as culturally accepted in the west as it has been in the east for decades.
The benefits of face coverings
Covering your face daily, especially in busy confined environments such as school corridors or communal areas such as dining halls, could have an extremely positive impact on teachers’ and pupils’ health. By wearing a face covering – especially when feeling under the weather – we are helping protect those around us from a variety of airborne illnesses and viruses.
Colds and flus are often circulated in the air and can be passed around as germs are spread. Typically, viruses spread quickly throughout schools due to close contact and large numbers in communal areas. Wearing a quality certified face covering that is proven to protect can help significantly reduce this transmission and may contribute to improving the health of the overall school community.
Not only that but the physical act of wearing a face covering can drive awareness and support of other important behaviours, such as maintaining social distancing and frequently washing hands.
Ensuring safety in schools
One of the biggest problems is that many face coverings have not been tested and don’t have any certification, meaning that they may not provide a guaranteed minimum level of protection. This urgently needs to change.
We encourage schools to plan ahead and get prepared for the return (whenever that may be) over the coming months and ensure that, where necessary to be worn, their staff and pupils’ face coverings have a minimum level of performance (eg, bacterial filtration efficiency – BFE) as well as being breathable and comfortable to wear for optimal protection and safety in their school setting.
The new Vita Shield face coverings are made in the UK by The Vita Group – who are proud to be Europe’s leading foam manufacturer in 37 countries supplying quality foam products to the medical, healthcare and consumer markets.
When the pandemic happened, we used our 70 years’ heritage and expertise and conducted rigorous independent tests to create a face covering to protect our staff.
Challenging the market
Vita Shield is an innovative reusable foam face covering from The Vita Group that is effective, comfortable and can be safely worn for prolonged periods. As well as being Centexbel* Covid-19 approved and Oeko-tex S1 tested for harmful substances, it has a three-layer design and >90% bacterial filtration efficiency.
It is also great value for money, being reusable and washable up to 50 times. The Vita Shield comes in a selection of colours and sizes. Schools are also able to personalise the face coverings with their own logo.
The Vita Group is a leader in advanced materials with over 70 years’ experience in the aerospace, medical and hygiene sectors. Our materials have been used by the NHS for components for ventilators and safety visors during the pandemic. As such, its expertise provides customers with the knowledge that materials are tested specifically for close contact to skin, as well as offering comfort, reliability and product safety.
*Centexbel independently tested with reference to CWA 17553-2020 community face coverings