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    A Return-to-School Requirement

    In order to help decrease the spread of COVID-19, ALL students, parents/guardians, staff, and visitors must wear a cloth mask/face covering while in campus buildings and on campus grounds.  

    • A cloth mask/face covering must fit over the nose and mouth, be secured under the chin, fit snugly against the sides of the face, and be secured with loops or ties to the sides of the face.   
    • In addition, students and staff must wear a cloth mask/face covering while on buses or on district transportation vehicles that transport more than one person.   
    • All adults who are dropping off student car riders are required to keep their cloth mask/face covering on when school staff approach the car to complete the initial symptom screen and temperature check.

     **See the Section below for NEW OCS Guidelines about Cloth Masks/Face Coverings...

    *Last updated February 16, 2021

    For more information, please contact Jarwin Hester, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at jarwin.hester@orange.k12.nc.us or 919-732-8126.

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    OCS Logo

    OCS Guide to Face Coverings/Masks

    Updated February 15, 2021


    At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, face coverings/masks are not just a fact of life. They are a critical tool in slowing the spread of the virus.

    Per Governor Cooper's Executive Order 180, a cloth mask/face covering must be worn at all times indoors. This is the expectation for all students, staff and essential visitors to our schools and worksites. There is an exception for school districts. Per the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, school staff CAN remove their cloth mask/face covering while alone in a room (i.e. a classroom, an office). 

    Please keep in mind that as the COVID-19 continues to be studied and understood, face covering/masking guidance may change, and OCS will update our guidance accordingly.

    Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, correct and consistent face covering/mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. Face coverings/masks work best when everyone wears them, but not all face coverings/masks provide the same protection. When choosing a face covering/mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has.


    Two important ways to make sure your mask works the best it can...

    1. Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the face covering/mask.
    2. Pick a face covering/mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A face covering/mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your face covering/mask or escaping from your face covering/mask if you are sick.

    For more information on science behind improving how your mask protects you, see Improve the Fit and Filtration of Your Mask to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19.


    child with mask

    Check that it fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin

      • Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the face covering/mask.
      • Make sure no air is flowing from the area around your eyes or from the sides of your face covering/mask.
      • If the face covering/mask is a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the face covering/mask and may be able to see the material move in and out with each breath.

    Add Layers of Material 

      • 2 Ways to layer properly
        1. Use a cloth face covering/mask that has multiple layers of fabric.
        2. Wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth face covering/mask (double masking).
          • The second face covering/mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face.
      • A recent CDC study found  when people wear a well-fitted surgical mask covered by a cloth mask, they can increase their own protection from aerosol droplets, and that possible transmission is significantly reduced when both parties wore masks.

    surgical mask with cloth masks

    Make sure you can see and breathe easily

    • Knot and Tuck ear loops of 3-ply face coverings/masks

    making ear loops tighter graphic


    DO NOT:

    Combine two disposable face coverings/masks.

    person wearing two surgical masks

    Combine a KN95 face covering/mask with any other face covering/mask.

      • Only use one KN95 mask at a time.

     only use one K95 mask at a time

    CDC does not recommend the use of NIOSH-Approved N95 respirators for protection against COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings.  N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare personnel and for other workers who are required to wear them for protection against other hazards.

    • These respirators are not used or needed outside of healthcare settings. In times of shortage, only HCP who are working in a sterile field or who may be exposed to high velocity splashes, sprays, or splatters of blood or body fluids should wear these respirators, such as in operative or procedural settings. Most HCP caring for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients should not need to use surgical N95 respirators and can use standard N95 respirators.

    In consultation and alignment with the Orange County Health Department, OCS is not requiring staff or students to double mask at this time; however, double masking is a strong recommendation for those who do not have face covering/mask which meets CDC guidelines or fits properly.


    All district buildings are supplied with an inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19, including: reusable cloth face coverings/masks and disposable face coverings/masks (both youth and adult sizes available).  Additional disposable face coverings/masks can be obtained at designated screening stations, at front entrances of buildings, or through the site nurse.  Additional reusable cloth face coverings/masks can be obtained through the site social worker.  Sites shall place a work order, via SchoolDude, for inventory stock or any additional PPE needs.  

    Face shields are primarily used to protect the eyes of the person wearing it, and can be used in conjunction with face coverings/masks to provide an additional layer of protection.  If a staff member would like a face shield, please contact your site nurse.  Additional training will be conducted by the site nurse on how to put on and take a face shield off, clean a face shield, and how to store between uses.  

    Who to Contact

    If you have any additional questions or need additional information, please contact Jarwin Hester, Director of Environmental Health & Safety, by email at jarwin.hester@orange.k12.nc.us or by calling 919-732-8126.

    Disclaimer:  The document provided is current guidance for the protection against COVID-19 virus exposure. The information is based on best management practices obtained from publications issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other federal, State and local public health officials as of 2/15/2021.