Last updated 30/10/2020 at 15:11
You may have seen FACTS talked about in the news or on social media. But what does it mean and how does it impact you when you're at school?
FACTS stands for:
- 😷 Face coverings
- 🙅 Avoid crowded spaces
- 🧼 Clean your hands regularly
- ↔️ Two metre distance
- 🌡 Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms
😷 Face coverings
Staying two metres away from other people, covering any coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing are the best precautions against coronavirus. However, because you may have coronavirus without knowing it (this is also known as being asymptomatic), wearing a face covering will help prevent you passing it on to anyone else.
A face covering is something that covers your nose and mouth.
From 31st of August, the Scottish Government has recommended the use of face coverings (subject to exemptions) for staff and young people in secondary schools in places where physical distancing is difficult. This means when you are in communal areas, as well as on school transport.
If you are in S4-S6 and your school is in a Level 3 or Level 4 area you should wear a face covering when in your classroom, as should your teachers. Find out more about the levels framework.
Your school should provide you with clear guidance and information on what’s happening and when and where it is expected that face coverings should be worn in your school.
Face coverings also should be worn in shops, libraries, places of worship, museums and on public transport in Scotland.
Face covering in communal areas
If the communal area (like a corridor) has lots of space for maintaining distancing, good ventilation and effective hand and respiratory hygiene measures are followed, face coverings will likely not be required.
However, if there are large numbers of young people from different groups coming together in a space where maintaining distancing is difficult and ventilation is poor, it may make sense to wear face coverings.
On the 10th of September, the First Minister announced that staff in hospitality services such as cafes, must wear face coverings. Customers must also wear face coverings when moving around (such as entering and leaving the venue or going to the bathroom). There are exceptions for when you're eating or drinking. This means if you visit somewhere local on your lunch, you will have to wear a face covering.
Why should I wear a face covering?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have recently found that wearing a face covering helps protect yourself and those around you.
When moving in corridors, at break time, lunchtime and in communal areas there are larger crowds of different age groups. The larger the crowds, the more noise which can make people have to raise their voice. Raising your voice means you project your sound further, but it also means you project air droplets further too.
With more people in one area, it can compromise the ventilation.
What if I'm exempt?
Some people are exempt from wearing a face covering, this could be for any of these reasons:
- They have a disability or health condition that means they cannot put a covering on
- A covering will cause them severe distress or anxiety
- They need to communicate with someone who relies on lip reading
If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, don't worry you will be not asked to wear a face covering. If you need support or guidance, speak to your teacher or someone you trust at school for support.
Remember, if you see someone at school not wearing a face covering, they might be exempt from wearing one. They might be wearing a sunflower lanyard, a badge or something else to show that they don’t need to wear a face covering, or they might choose not to wear something.
Why the change now?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF recently issued new guidance on the use of face coverings for children and young people. They advise that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least the safe two metre distance from people around them and where there is widespread transmission in the area.
Now you are back at school, the Scottish Government, your teachers and school community want to make sure schools are as safe as possible.
😷 Top tips on wearing a face covering
In order for your face covering to keep you and those around you safe, remember:
- ⚠️ Face coverings should not be shared with others
- 🧼 Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on, and try not to touch your face
- 🙅 It’s important to make sure the face covering is the right size to cover the nose, mouth and chin and you shouldn't touch the front once it's on
- 🖐️ When you take it off, try not to touch the part you’ve been breathing on
- 🎒 When you're not using your face covering (for example, during class), it should be placed in a washable bag or container. Avoid placing it on surfaces, due to the possibility of contamination.
- 🧽 If it's a fabric face covering, keep the face covering in a plastic bag until you can wash it, then wash it at 60 degrees centigrade after each day of use. It can go in the wash with other laundry.
- 🗑️ If you're using a disposable face covering, wrap it in a bag and put it in the bin.
How can you put a face covering on safely?
Every time you apply or remove a covering, it is important that you wash or sanitise your hands first and avoid touching your face. Take a look at this short video from the NHS about how to wash your hands properly.
When temporarily storing a face covering, such as in a pocket it should be placed in a washable bag or container and you should avoid placing it on surfaces, due to the possibility of contamination.
If your face covering is reusable, after each day you should wash the face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or in boiling water. If your face covering is not reusable, you should dispose of it safely in the general waste bin. Unfortunately, disposable face coverings and gloves are not very good for the environment as they cannot be recycled.
When you are not wearing a face covering you should, where possible, maintain two metres distance as physical distancing is one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of the virus.
What if I don't have a face covering?
If you don't have access to a face covering for school, or if you lose yours during the school day or it becomes dirty, speak to someone at your school who should be able to provide one for you.
You can make your own face covering from most fabrics, find out how to make your own!
You can also use something that you already have lying around – anything that covers the nose and mouth that is made of textile, like cloth that you can breathe through, such as a scarf, is considered a face covering.
You can also use your Young Scot card to get discounts on face coverings at the following shops:
- Firebox offering 10% off 16+ year-olds
- Footasylum 10% off when you shop in-store
- Topshop 10% off when you shop in-store
- Cotswold Outdoors 15% off with Young Scot Membership online
- As part of the Young Carers package, you can get Etsy vouchers that can go towards buying a mask
Find out more
Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director was interviewed for the Higher Biology podcast where he discusses wearing face coverings in school. Listen now.
🙅 Avoid crowded places
Crowded spaces make it more difficult for people to physically distance from others. Therefore try to avoid spaces that are crowded if you can. However, that's not always possible, for example in shops or in your school corridor. If you do have to visit a space where physical distancing might be harder, wear a face covering to help protect you and others around you.
🧼 Clean your hands regularly
Everyone should clean their hands on a regular basis with soap and warm water or if that's not available with hand sanitiser. This is really important when you arrive at school, move between classes, at break times, lunchtimes and use designated school transport, as well as when you return home.
↔️ Two metre distance
Everyone should be aiming to keep at least two metres from other people you don't live with, this is known as physical or social distancing. It is particularly important when you're indoors, as it is thought that virus spreads more in indoor spaces. Therefore, although it might be hard, avoid hugging your friends or getting too close. If you can, try to keep at least two metres from others. Adjustments will have been made in your school to try and make sure this happens in classrooms, for example, your desks might be further apart or class sizes might be slightly smaller. Take a look at our article on back to school for more information.
Self-isolate & book a test if you have symptoms
If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, it's really important that you tell someone or arrange a test so you can confirm if you have coronavirus and take the right next steps. The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- high temperature or fever
- new continuous cough
- loss of or change in smell or taste
Find out more about how to get a test of coronavirus on the NHS Inform website.
More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19)