mask cleanliness

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. (THV11) — Schools across the state aren't having much of an issue getting kids to wear a mask, but instead many are going to school with a dirty one.

"Kids have really cute masks, some of them are really personalized to them,” said Stacy Bottoms, the Principal of Crystal Hill Elementary.

But if you take a closer look at some masks, you can see beyond the designs.

"We’ve seen parents dig them out of the floor of the car to give to kids when they've forgotten it, they'll just say, 'grab that on the floor,'” said Bottoms.

Bottoms said teachers in the classroom are noticing filthy ones, some that clearly haven't been washed, which she said raises concerns.

"The mask is catching germs so those germs need to be washed off, so I've really made it clear to my teachers that that is expected that they must wash the mask every night or rotate them out."

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you can machine wash your cloth mask by including it with regular laundry, using regular laundry detergent, and using the warmest water setting.

When you dry it, you should use the highest heat setting and leave it in the dryer until its completely dry.

"To encourage parents, I would just get into a routine, I have a spot in my home where I drop dirty masks and wash them on the weekend,” said Bottoms.

Bottoms said she understands that parents have a lot on their plates, but she urges clean masks for the safety of everyone at school.

The Pulaski County Special School District is providing paper masks for any child who comes to school without one or with a dirty one.

"We will continue to do everything we can that's in our control like keeping students physically distant and in their designated areas so that they are safe,” said Bottoms.

The CDC states that masks should be washed regularly, and it’s important to wash your hands after touching or removing a used one.