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Face Coverings in Education – What are the Rules?

The government realises the importance of returning to schools and colleges, both for the maintenance of academic progress and the wellbeing of students.

This is a big positive move towards normality, but will have to be approached in adherence to the guidelines set out.

We are assured that they will be amended going forward as soon as they feel it is safe to do so.

These temporary measures are due to be reviewed at Easter, which is less than three weeks away.

For now, all students over the age of twelve (year seven and above) will have to comply with the regulations (unless they have a medical reason that exempts them).

That means that face coverings must be worn at all times when it is not possible to ensure social distancing can operate. So in the classroom and around the corridors and communal areas, buses etc they will have to be worn, this includes adults and children.

Children in primary education do not have to wear face coverings, but the adults looking after them do.

This is intended to protect others, not the wearer, as the face and mouth are the main confirmed sources of transmission.

A face covering must safely cover the nose and mouth and fit securely around the side of the face.

Face visors and shields are not allowed as a substitute as they don’t prevent aerosol transmission.

It is important to have clean hands when putting on or removing your mask. Avoid touching the front of face coverings during use or when removing.

Make sure you carry at least one spare mask in a sealable plastic bag, so that you can replace carefully to a clean, dry mask if yours becomes damp.

Do not mix the clean ones with the used ones.

If you use disposable masks, these must be disposed of in the black bin waste and not the recycle bin. This means that you are not helping the environment by reducing landfill waste.

An eco-friendly option is to use reusable masks. These can be stored in a clean polybag and when they have been worn can be washed ready for further use at a future time. Available from Mask4Life – we have some great deals to offer.

Store used masks separately from clean masks, and avoid touching them. After changing your mask be sure to wash or sanitise your hands.

Whilst it won’t be easy to get used to wearing masks in school, it will be so good to see and interact with your peers, and catch up after these long months without socialising with them.

So if we endure the restrictions and do our bit, we can focus on the positive step this is towards getting back to the ‘new normal’ and enjoy seeing one another in person instead of over zoom!

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The Way Forward as Restrictions are Lifted.

Whilst we welcome returning  (albeit slowly) to the ‘new normal’ many people will be feeling a little nervous and uncertain of the unknown situation going forward.

The rolling out of the vaccination programme is a massive step but that in itself is as yet unproven as it is so new.

Long term, more strains may evolve to which the vaccine doesn’t respond so effectively, and new waves may spread that it is less effective in combatting.

We all dread another pandemic happening.

So what reasonable steps can we take to limit the risk of transmission?

Wearing a face covering will protect yourself and those around you from passing droplets between you.

Sometimes social distancing is difficult, or a crowd of people find themselves closer than they wished or intended. Make sure you carry a face mask with you at all times so you are prepared should this situation arise.

Face Coverings don’t take up much space, and Mask 4Life has a range of different materials and thicknesses to suit everyone.

Obviously, social distancing remains important and will continue to be practised wherever possible.

Washing hands, cleanliness and personal hygiene are also now at the front of our minds, and as they are good practise anyway will continue to happen.

If in doubt, either because you are worried that you may have symptoms, or have been close to others who may be carrying COVID19, having a few self-testing kits available is also very reassuring. Some workplaces have them readily available for you to use to minimise the risk of spreading it around at work.

4L Protection Ltd can supply these self-testing kits which are simple to use and prevent unknowingly spreading the disease.

Hopefully the above will ease the feeling of apprehension and also limit the risks of transmission, providing the confidence to participate in safe socialising as the restrictions are lifted.  

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Beating COVID 19 in the Current Environment.

In the situation in which we find ourselves we must do all we can to beat the COVID 19 virus!

The key things are:

  1. Protect yourself from others.
  2. Protect others from yourself.
  3. Good Hygiene.
  4. Wear a face covering.
  5. Let the fresh air in when indoors.
  6. Get tested if you have any symptoms.
  7. Self-isolate if you have any symptoms or live with someone who has tested positive.
  8. Get a vaccination when it becomes available for you.

So a lot of this is common sense.

For those going to work the risks are greater, as they will be mixing with those outside their household.

The importance of wearing a face covering is ever important, both for your own protection ,and of those around you.

However, it must be worn correctly to be beneficial – covering the nose and mouth to prevent droplets passing into the atmosphere. – https://mask4life.co.uk/faqs-help/

M4L have a range of reusable masks available, and these also protect the environment and reduce waste – https://mask4life.co.uk/product-category/face-masks/

Remember, this is not a replacement for social distancing and hand washing though. Hygiene and cleanliness are good habits to practise anyhow, but ever-important currently.

Also important, is to keep your masks clean and germ-free by washing regularly. Spare masks are essential in order to ensure that you always have a clean on to hand.

Symptoms are not always present when you have COVID19, and you can be infectious before you have any symptoms, so do your part and be vigilant.

The Antigen Rapid Covid Self-Testing Kits are now available from T4L that are simple to use and give you the reassurance that you are not unwittingly spreading the lurgy.

Of course, once you have the opportunity of having a vaccine that will offer you some protection, but as yet it is not known whether you can still pass on the virus to others even when vaccinated.

For now, we can all do our bit in the community or workplace to reduce the spread although there are so many unknown parameters in the uncertain and uncharted times we’re passing through.

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Things to Consider when choosing a Reusable Mask.

Girl wearing face mask in winter conditions

For your safety and that of those around you a mask is a necessity.

Have one with you wherever you go, in fact , a spare one is also a good idea , as changing masks when visiting different places prevents cross-contamination.

But which mask will work best for you?

The thickness and material of the mask is key.

A thin neck-gaiter is not offering you enough protection, whereas a thick fleece mask may do more harm than good.

The thickness and material of the mask are critical to its effectiveness.

A variety of fabrics have different spacing between the individual yarns. Those with smaller holes prevent virus-laden droplets or particles passing through, making them a better choice.

Having multiple layers of fabric also improves the effectiveness of filtering out unwanted particles, but you want to get the balance right so that breathing is not impeded in any way.

Two layers of fabric is usually a good option, but three layers gives the extra reassurance that some people are looking for.

Another important factor is the fit of the mask. It needs to be comfortable, but also fulfilling the function intended. It should fit over the nose and under the chin.

Remembering to regularly wash your masks will ensure that they are protecting you and not harbouring germs. They will need washing after every two or three uses.

When removing your mask use the loops or strings, do not touch the mask itself. Avoid touching your face and use a hand sanitizer to minimise contamination.

The outside layer of three-layered masks prevents water from adhering to the mask so droplets cannot penetrate. Regular fabrics cannot do this. The middle layer acts as a filter to capture dust, pollen and other allergens and prevent them getting through. The inner layer is 99.9% antibacterial and also soft to the face.

Being aware of what the end user is looking for has helped M4L provide you high quality face masks in many colours, sizes and fabrics.

Choose what works best for you without compromising on style or quality.

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Managing the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the workplace.

The current lockdown imposed on the 6th January means that as many people as possible are working from home significantly reducing the number of staff in a workplace.

But if you are one of those who still need to be at the workplace it is a worrying time.

It is of all importance to break any chain of transmittance of the virus before you walk through the door of your work.

Many companies are using the simple self- testing kits to ensuring those attending work premises are not unwittingly passing it on. You can carry the virus without having any symptoms, and you can be infectious before any symptoms appear, so however vigilant you are it may be too late.

A test will flag up a positive case, intercept and reduce further infections occurring. A negative result will give you and your work colleagues peace of mind.

The 4L Protection Rapid Antigen Covid Tests are highly sensitive and give you the result within 15 minutes.

It is also important to remember the social distancing rules. The more people spread out , the less chance of any risk.

The wearing of masks whilst working is an added protection to minimise the spread of droplets from person to person. The Mask4Life range has something for everyone, including the ever popular 3-ply Mesh & Toggles mask which provides even greater protection.

Regular hand washing or sanitizing is also extremely important in order to minimise cross-contamination. Touch points such as the photo copier and coffee machine also require regular sanitising.

Allowing regular bouts of fresh air into air conditioned offices helps to reduce any airborne particles that might be around. All in all, a good dose of common sense along with scrupulous cleanliness will assist in reducing the number of cases and in turn bring us back to normality as soon as possible.

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Case Study – Holland & Barrett

Zero Risk Retail Solution for 850 stores within 10 days!

Holland & Barrett were looking for a way to offer masks for their clients but most of the mask solutions they came across were not packed in retail friendly packaging and the face coverings were uncomfortable. In order to be a success they needed a well presented product with a barcode and a way of marketing it within store.

After discussing this with our in house designers we put together several options including a bespoke printed dump bin in the Holland & Barrett corporate colors, a counter top sales box which folded into a display and a simple bagged version compatible with a Euro hook. Holland & Barrett decided that the dump bin was the best solution to attract attention and market the goods in store.

We then put together a proposal which included masks for each store along with the branded dump bin. Our solution also offered stock free of charge on a sale or return contract which enabled Holland & Barrett to retail the product with zero risk. This was very attractive for them and enabled them to take advantage of this revenue stream without a heavy investment in stock.

In order to make the project a success our in house design team designed a full packaging solution which included a barcode and the necessary information to add the face coverings to the retail systems for easy operating. We also offered Holland & Barrett the option of packaging in singles of units of five, they opted for singles to make a low value purchase.

From point of sign off Mask4Life turned around the dump bins and bespoke repackaging exercise very quickly enabling the fully bespoke retail solution to be in store within 10 working days of receiving the signed agreement. This has enabled Holland & Barrett to be one of the most well prepared and professionally presented retailers currently offering reusable face coverings. This product will enable immediate profitable revenue for Holland & Barrett with very healthy margins due to the fact that it is a very high quality product presented very well for the retail space.

If you would like to get a professionally presented and packaged retail solution in your stores or on your website within two weeks then get in touch with our Retail Solutions team today.