A citizen science facemask experiment and educational modules to improve coronavirus safety in communities and schools
Sarah E. Eichler; Austin P. Hopperton; Juan José Alava (et al.)
Published: September 2020
Journal: Frontiers in Medicine
There is need to support facemask citizen science and experiential education among children and families as the globe exits from the current lockdown, and teachers and students desire and seek for safe strategies to return to densely-attended schools. COVID-19 is a pandemic respiratory disease that disseminates as infectious respiratory or saliva droplets are released into the environment as people talk, sneeze, and cough. Currently the most publicized methods to prevent local transmission of COVID-19 and promote “droplet safety” in hospitals and communities include hand washing, social distancing, and stay-at-home strategies. In contrast to established benefits for medical masks in hospitals, the benefits of wearing masks or face covers/coverings (hereafter, “facemask”) in the community have been inconsistently debated by the media, creating confusion, and misinformation. Furthermore, high-profile political leaders in countries heavily affected by the pandemic have given misleading signs regarding containment measures associated with COVID-19 increasingly polarizing local communities around arguments on the value of facemasks in promoting public health, which is critically important to incentivize during the emergence of citizens from their lockdowns and during the phase of reopening local economies.