Philadelphia school district tells students to double mask: Health experts 'obviously know best'

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The School District of Philadelphia released new mask guidelines Wednesday encouraging students to wear a cloth mask over a surgical mask, according to its website.

“Cloth masks alone are no longer considered to be effective protection against the spread of coronavirus,” according to the updated protocols, which list three types of masking in order of preference. 

Stock photo of N95 masks and three-ply surgical masks.

Stock photo of N95 masks and three-ply surgical masks.
(iStock)

The document states that the most favorable option is “a three-ply disposable surgical mask supplied by the district, with the addition of a cloth mask.”

A three-ply disposable mask worn alone comes in second place and a properly fitted KN-95 mask in third. 

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The district, which has nearly 200,000 students, said properly fitted KF94 and N95 masks are also acceptable.

Kindergarten students participate in a classroom activity on the first day of in-person learning April 13, 2021, at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles. 

Kindergarten students participate in a classroom activity on the first day of in-person learning April 13, 2021, at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles. 
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

“We are simply following the guidelines from the public health experts who obviously know best how we can stay safe to continue to have in-person learning available to our students, which is the best way for our children to learn,” a School District of Philadelphia spokesperson told FOX29.

The district schools and offices will distribute adult KN95 masks to staff starting Feb. 7.

The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that “loosely woven” cloth masks provide the least protection against COVID-19 but that all masks “provide some level of protection.”

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