DENVER (KDVR) — As more and more students are being required to wear face coverings to school, many parents are wondering if masks are effective and which ones work the best.
Recent research from the University of Waterloo shows that cloth masks only filter 10% of aerosols, while the surgical masks only filter 12%. N-95 masks offer the best protection, followed by KN-95s.
But doctors at National Jewish Health say those are not needed in school settings. “You definitely don’t need to wear an N95 to school,” said Dr. Jessica Hui.
Hui says surgical masks and cloth masks that fit well and are well made will do a good job protecting kids.
“If you have a lot of surgical masks and it fits your child, you definitely can use them, but I’m here to say that you also can use cloth masks effectively,” she said.
Sydney Henderson, the director of infection prevention at the Medical Center of Aurora, agrees.
“I think the cloth mask is perfectly safe for the general community,” Henderson said.
She said the need in a school is different than in a health care setting.
“We require that our staff wear a level one hospital grade mask at a minimum for their protection, but again that is because they are working with such high risk patients in high risk situations,” Henderson said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cloth masks need to be two layers of breathable fabric, and they need to cover your nose and mouth. A metal nose bridge can be helpful.
Doctors say cloth masks should be washed regularly.