Expert puzzled about allowing fabric masks in schools

There is no rational justification why students will be allowed to continue using fabric masks at school, Ivars Vanadziņš,  Riga Stradiņš University Institute for Safety and Environmental Health, told Latvian Television January 20.

When the government decided to supply pupils with face masks, the state purchased fabric masks in the majority of cases. For example, Rīga State Gymnasium no. 3 has simple blue fabric masks. Latvian Television observed that not all pupils currently use them, as some use medical masks or respirators.

There are also white masks at the school's disposal that resemble medical ones but are made from fabric.

“If those masks are washed they become fluffy. [..] If we are talking about the concept of a safe school and we want the school to be safe and that the school and the classroom work for a long time, then they are not in line with the safe concept that Mr Kariņš spoke about. And I don't really see what that philosophy is," said the school's principal Andris Priekulis.

Expert and researcher Ivars Vanadziņš demonstrated how, by slightly pulling the blue fabric mask purchased for pupils apart, it could easily be seen through. So it's easy to inhale the virus. Therefore, the decision to allow fabric masks to be used in high-risk areas, which schools are, is not clear to him.

The Minister for Education Anita Muižniece recalled that fabric masks are currently purchased and distributed in all schools, and more than €880 thousand has been spent on them.

"Just understanding practically that it's just been bought. [..] This is the reasoning. Clearly, medical masks will also be purchased for schools, pupils, educators," commented Muižniece.

 

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