A couple of weeks ago, we started hearing about mask shortages in the United States where doctors treating coronavirus patients in New York were running dangerously low on N95 and surgical masks. As a last resort when no other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available, the recommendation the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) was giving to front-line doctors at the time was to tie a bandana around your face, as that would be better than nothing at all for protection. Sewing hobbyists began rising to the challenge, sewing cloth masks to donate to hospitals.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and the CDC is now recommending that everyone should be “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).” This is because we are now learning that a significant portion of people with coronavirus have no symptoms and even those who eventually develop symptoms can spread the coronavirus before their symptoms appear.
NPR wrote a helpful article about homemade masks you should read. There was a video linked in the article on how to make your own cloth mask from an old t-shirt, with no sewing required. I think this would be a fun and easy activity to do with your kids now that many of us are on home lockdown with schools closed. Who doesn’t have an old t-shirt or two lying around? If you have some choices, try to use 100% cotton (apparently coronavirus lives more easily on synthetics like spandex) and as thick/ tightly woven as possible. T-shirt material is required for this project because you need a fabric that doesn’t fray when you cut it.
Make your homemade mask even more fun by adding some arts & crafts dazzle dazzle! You can do something simple like draw a cool pattern with a black permanent marker or decorate your mask using fabric markers/paints/tie dye.
Make a bunch for everyone in your household, as you’ll want enough to be able take them off carefully (don’t touch the front, just the straps) and wash them after every use.