With the return of mask mandates across the country and the spread of the Delta variant being stronger than any other strain the country has seen so far, what masks are best to protect students this school year?
Experts say any high-filtration mask will do the trick.
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The Center for Disease Control made its announcement that its new guidance recommends universal masking for teachers and students ages 2 and up in k-12 schools as the Delta variant started to spread rapidly throughout the country.
In areas where the viral transmission is high or substantial, masks are being encouraged, even if someone is immunized against the virus.
High-filtration masks include N95, KN95, and KF94, and for most of the last year, they have been in short supply.
However, several companies have now come out with masks that offer a high level of filtration, and with school, fast-approaching suppliers are pushing to meet demands.
One company, Happy Masks, has become a fan favorite among parents looking for protective masks for their kids who are headed back to the classroom this fall. The company creates high-quality fun-looking masks but has continuously sold out within minutes of being made available online.
Dr. Michael Osterholm has spoken about the need for high-filtration masks in public, sharing that buying from trusted suppliers, like Grainger.com, is what's best, the Star Tribune reported.
However, even without a high-filtration mask, Osterholm still recommends wearing the general cloth masks, as it's better than nothing.
For parents looking for a mask now, Eva Enns, a U School of Health associate professor, released a tip sheet to help parents, but the advice is for those of all ages.