CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The first day of school is right around the corner here in the Tri-State area and with that, comes a lot of uncertainty.
A big question, with face coverings now mandatory at schools, which is safer? A shield or mask?
“We are about to embark on probably the trickiest part of our response to the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Clay Marsh. “Which is opening our universities… and opening our K-12 schools.”
The first day of school is just days away for Tri-State area students, and this year is going to be very different.
“The new protocol requires face coverings for students in grades 3 and above,” said Governor Jim Justice.
It will be mandatory for all students to wear some sort of face covering while in the classroom.
Now, the question is – are face shields okay?
“Certainly, face shields serve a great purpose in regards to prevention of this disease, so those are important,” said DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch.
The CDC currently says they do not recommend face shields over face masks.
In Ohio, health officials say school districts will not be allowed to use face shields instead of masks in most cases… adding “There is currently not enough evidence to establish the effectiveness of face shields.”
Other states, like Colorado and Iowa, will be offering face shields to students on the first day of school.
One superintendent says: “we just want to make sure that there are options out there. Right now, parents, kids, children, school teachers, schools are being told it’s facemasks or nothing right now.
As I understand from the CDC, face masks are better because of the tighter fit,” said Marsh. “But certainly, face shields are better than wearing nothing.”
Here in the Mountain State, students have the option to wear whichever face covering they choose.
Health officials say options are key.
“Face masks are recommended for children older than 2 years old,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, MD. “We are saying children greater than 9. Children do have a hard time keeping things on their face. So they can use face shields. face masks are preferred though. But if a child cannot tolerate it, they can wear a face shield in the classroom. Those are the options right now.”