Should teachers and/or students wear face shields in school? Experts weigh in

Posted at 5:21 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 13:57:49-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — We are six months into this pandemic, and there is still so much we don't know about the coronavirus, including the proper gear to wear that will work best to protect ourselves from it.

Now, teachers are joining in on the conversation and are asking experts is a face shield and/or a mask enough to protect students in the classroom?

"For some of the kids, a mask just isn't going to work and in those cases a face shield can be considered," said Dr. Preeti Malani, with the Infectious Diseases Society of America. "I think it needs to be understood that that's not the default."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, also weighed in and says if teachers are thinking about wearing one in the classroom, they should make sure it fits right.

"They were saying that several of them feel that in the classroom it would be better for them to wear a face shield and they asked me what I thought about it, and I said you know if you can get one it's not a bad idea," Fauci said.

Both doctors say a shield shouldn't necessarily be worn in place of a mask, but more parents are considering the option for kids. The bottom line? There just isn't enough data yet on how much protection a face shield provides.

One study found it did significantly reduce the number of inhaled droplets, but cloth masks are also made for protecting others. Shields don't necessarily do the same. In the healthcare setting, face shields are used primarily to prevent splashing in the eyes.

If you do decide to wear one, experts say to make sure it's long enough to protect the whole face and wraps around fully so that it fits well on your forehead.

Doctors also point out face shields have some advantages over masks. They can be reused indefinitely, they are easier to clean, they are comfortable and help prevent you from touching your face. For more information, click here.