Reusing Masks Safely

Headwaters School
Consistently and correctly wearing well-fitting masks is an excellent way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. (Click here for tips for mask fit.) And the move towards higher-filtering masks means more money spent on disposable masks. Most high-filtration masks may be reused for 5 donnings per CDC (i.e., approx. 5 days, if only wearing during school hours, and not taking off/on a lot). This is because virus particles trapped in ro on the mask will die off over the course of hours to days. Click here to read more on how to remove, how to don, and tips!

How to Remove:
  • Remove your mask correctly by using the edges or straps and wash your hands after touching a used mask. 
  • Keep it in a dry, breathable bag (like a paper or mesh fabric bag) to keep it clean between uses. If you are taking off your mask to eat or drink outside of your home, you can place it somewhere safe to keep it clean, such as your pocket, purse, or paper bag.
  • When reusing your mask, keep the same side facing out.
  • Let air dry / keep warm when not in use.
  • Do not wash disposable masks. These have a special static charge that traps viruses.

How to Put Back On (“Donning”)
  • Ensure fit is good each donning (i.e., DO NOT tug/pull/yank/stretch mask out)
  •  Ideally the mask is put on right before school, taken off gently only to eat or exercise, and not worn outside of school hours
  • Once your mask is on, avoid touching your mask as much as possible. One common error is pulling down a mask to talk to others, which creates multiple opportunities for contamination

Tips
  • Here are two example ways to keep track of masks:
    • Get a new mask each monday and toss it on Friday; or
    • Get two new masks every other Monday and switch masks each day so that each mask airs out for a day.
  • A simple method for implementing this resting period between uses is to put your mask in a brown paper bag for 24 to 48 hours before using it again.
  • Masks lose their protection if they get wet, if you need a new one at school, just ask! But If your mask is wet due to condensation from breathing, you can reuse it if you let it dry out.
  • High filtration masks can’t be reused forever. There is no hard-and-fast deadline—the masks’ effectiveness declines over time—but experts say if the mask is visibly dirty or damaged, stained, or gets damp, it’s time to let it go.
  • Any time someone comes in close contact with an individual infected with Covid-19, they should opt for a new N95 or KN95 face mask.

Learn more by visiting these resources:
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As a 501(c)3 non-profit school, Headwaters School does not discriminate because of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other classes protected by federal, state, or local law in its admissions, hiring, or board membership processes.