Philadelphia School District Tightens COVID Mask Guidelines – NBC10 Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia School District is updating its mask guidelines to provide better protection against the coronavirus.

The change, the district said, is in line with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently said people “can choose” to wear N95 or KN95 masks because they offer the best protection against COVID-19. .

Following the CDC’s lead, the SDP will now require students and staff to wear tight-fitting N95, KN95, or KF94 masks, or wear a cloth mask over a three-ply disposable surgical mask. The district provides disposable surgical masks to students or staff whose mask is damaged or stolen.

An N95 mask filters out 95% of airborne particles and must pass a strict approval process by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. President Joe Biden’s administration recently began distributing free N95 masks through US retailers, including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and others.

A KN95 is the Chinese equivalent, but it has ear loops instead of the N95’s head straps. At the start of the pandemic, the United States warned people to avoid KN95 masks due to a high number of counterfeits. However, there are ways to spot a fake KN95 mask. The SDP said it will provide a supply of KN95 masks to all schools and offices in the district for staff who want them from February 7.

Meanwhile, a KF94 mask is the Korean standard and indicates 94% filtration. These masks also feature ear loops instead of headbands.

Health experts argue, however, that any mask is better than no mask, not least because of the high transmissibility of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said the city was “probably several months away” from dropping its current mask rules as the virus continues to circulate.

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