AS schools re-open in Zimbabwe, parents and guardians are scrambling for masks for children as part of efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools, mainly private, have already sent out circulars stating the requirements for children as they report to their respective institutions.
Top of the list is the facemask.
The World Health Organisation has its recommendations on the wearing of masks at school and, one that stands out is that Grade Zero pupils are NOT supposed to wear masks.
QUESTION: Does WHO recommend staff and children to wear masks at school? And if yes, what type of masks?
ANSWER: In countries or areas where there is intense community transmission of Covid-19 and in settings where physical distancing cannot be achieved, the following criteria for use of masks in schools are recommended:
- Children aged 5 years and under SHOULD NOT be required to wear masks.
- For children between six and 11 years of age, a risk-based approach should be applied to the decision to use a mask, considering:
intensity of transmission in the area where the child is and evidence on the risk of infection and transmission in this age group.
beliefs, customs and behaviours.-H Metro