Face coverings are now a legal requirement in many public spaces around the world. But even before they became compulsory, masks were causing litter problems on land and at sea.
One February beach clean in Hong Kong found 70 masks along 100 metres of shoreline, with 30 more appearing a week later. In the Mediterranean, masks have reportedly been seen floating like jellyfish.
Despite millions of people being told to use face masks, little guidance has been given on how to dispose of or recycle them safely. And as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions, billions of masks will be needed each month globally. Without better disposal practices, an environmental disaster is looming.
The majority of masks are manufactured from long-lasting plastic materials, and if discarded can persist in the environment for decades to hundreds of years. This means they can have a number of impacts on the environment and people.
Hazardous to people and animalsInitially, discarded masks may risk spreading coronavirus to waste collectors, litter pickers or members of the public who first come across the litter. We know that in certain conditions, the virus can survive on a plastic surgical mask for seven days.
Masks aren’t the only problem – other items of PPE, such as gloves, are also being discarded in high numbers. TANYARICO/ShutterstockOver the medium to long term, animals and plants are also affected. Through its sheer mass, plastic waste can smother environments and break up ecosystems. Some animals also cannot tell the difference between plastic items and their prey, subsequently choking on pieces of litter.
Even if they do not choke, animals can become malnourished as the materials fill up their stomachs but provide no nutrients. Smaller animals may also become entangled in the elastic within the masks or within gloves as they begin to break apart.
Discarded face masks may be mistaken by sea creatures for prey and eaten. Stely NikolovaPlastics break down into smaller pieces over time, and the longer litter is in the environment, the more it will decompose. Plastics first break down into microplastics and eventually into even smaller nanoplastics. These tiny particles and fibres are often long-lived polymers that can accumulate in food chains. Just one mask can produce millions of particles, each with the potential to also carry chemicals and bacteria up the food chain and potentially even into humans.
Littered areas also tend to encourage further littering, making the problem worse.
What you should doIn March, the World Health Organization estimated that 89 million additional disposable masks were needed globally per month in medical settings to combat COVID-19. In addition, a recent working paper by the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub at University College London has put the current domestic demand for the UK at 24.7 billion masks a year. However, the demand for domestic face masks in the UK drops dramatically – to around 136 million a year – if only reusable masks are used.
But even with reusable masks, their specific design and how you choose to clean them makes a difference. The University College London team examined the manufacture, use and disposal of masks that were disposable, reusable, and reusable with disposable filters, to calculate their overall environmental impact. They found machine washing reusable masks with no filters had the lowest impact over a year.
As well as having a lower environmental impact, reusable masks are often a lot more fashionable too. Maria Studio/ShutterstockHand washing masks increased the environmental impact as – while machine washing uses electricity – manual washing uses more water and detergent for each mask. Disposable filters also increase the environmental impact because the small filters are often made from plastic similar to the disposable masks, with a filter discarded after every use.
Perhaps surprisingly, the working paper estimates that hand washing reusable masks with disposable filters had the highest environmental impact overall – higher even than using fully disposable masks.
With all of this in mind, we should take these steps to reduce the impact of wearing a face mask:
Cressida BowyerSenior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth
Simon KolstoeSenior Lecturer in Evidence Based Healthcare and University Ethics Advisor, University of Portsmouth
Steve FletcherProfessor of Ocean Policy and Economy, University of Portsmouth
Beginning Monday, Nov. 2 all Round Rock ISD students will receive breakfast and lunch at no charge for the duration of the school year. The transition to no cost meal service comes as a result of the District applying for a waiver issued nationwide from USDA allowing the Seamless Summer Option to operate during the 2020-2021 School Year. This waiver provides the choice for Texas contracting entities to operate the National School Lunch Program or the summer feeding program.
Free meals will be offered to all on-campus and virtual learning students. Additionally, any child age 18 and under may also pick up a free breakfast and lunch at any of the curbside locations during meal distribution.
Round Rock ISD will continue curbside meal distribution for virtual learners and children under 18 until further notice. Meal service time will remain from 7 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Starting Nov. 2, Curbside meal distribution sites are:
Round Rock High School, 201 Deep Wood Dr., Round Rock
Cedar Ridge High School, 2801 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock
Stony Point High School, 1801 Tiger Trail, Round Rock
Westwood High School, 12400 Mellow Meadow Dr., Austin
McNeil High School, 5720 McNeil Dr., Austin
Deerpark Middle School, 8849 Anderson Mill Rd., Austin
C.D. Fulkes Middle School, 300 W Anderson Ave., Round Rock
Hopewell Middle School, 1535 Gulf Way, Round Rock
Walsh Middle School, 3850 Walsh Ranch Blvd., Round Rock
In alignment with the District’s Academic Calendar, meal distribution sites will not be open on District scheduled breaks and holidays.
As a result of a waiver approved by the U.S Department of Agriculture, children are no longer required to be present to receive a meal. However, as stated by the Texas Department of Agriculture, parents or guardians must provide proof for each child in order to receive the meal during each visit as districts are required to verify the number. Acceptable methods of proof include an official letter or email from the school confirming the child’s enrollment, individual student report cards, attendance records from the parent portal of the school’s website, birth certificate, or student ID cards.
Although meal service will be at no cost for the remainder of the school year, families are still encouraged to submit the application for the Free and Reduced meal program. Approved applicants receive benefits, such as waived college application fees, waived SAT fees and discounts on online SAT courses. It also helps ensure that campuses receive additional funding and that during next school year that students will be able to take advantage of the 30 day benefits carryover period, allowing families more time to submit their yearly application.
Please continue to visit the Round Rock ISD Food Services and COVID-19 School Closure webpages for the latest information and updates. We will also provide information on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Parents/Students: This letter is being sent in conjunction with the letter we sent out on Monday. This is a related case, not a new case.
Dear Chisholm Trail Parents, Students, and Staff,
In keeping with Round Rock ISD’s practices to respond to COVID-19, we are notifying parents, students, and staff that an individual who was present at Chisholm Trail Middle School was recently lab-confirmed or a probable case to have the virus that causes COVID-19. A probable case is defined as someone with symptoms and a close contact to a person who is a lab-confirmed case. Due to privacy laws, which prevent us from sharing personal information about students and staff, we will not be releasing the name of the individual or details that may identify them.
The local health department will begin a case investigation and will contact any individuals determined to be in close contact with the infected individual. All students and staff that came into close contact will be directly notified by Williamson County and Cities Health District or Austin Public Health staff as soon as possible. Those that were in close contact are required to remain off campus for up to 14 days to ensure they do not have the virus, so that there will not be any further spread. Our custodial teams take great care in cleaning our facilities daily and extra attention was given to disinfecting the area occupied by this individual. We will keep you apprised of further updates.
While we do not have reason to believe that those who were not in close contact with the infected individual have reason to be concerned, we ask that you, as always, watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
Operations at Chisholm Trail MS will continue as usual, and we will keep you apprised of further updates.
Any of the following symptoms indicate a possible COVID-19 infection:
Round Rock ISD
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The Health Services team is ready to welcome your student(s) back to campus.
District nurses played a crucial role in planning and implementing evidence-based prevention and response practices that helped prepare your school for your students’ return.
When it comes to your student’s health, it is important to carefully listen to your students and follow your instincts if they present any symptoms. In the past, I had sent my child to school when they showed mild symptoms like a running nose or sore throat with hopes they improve during the day. This is not a recommended practice this year. Each day before you drop your student off at school or board the bus, please conduct a COVID-19 symptom assessment. If your student presents any symptoms during the daily screening, please help us keep all students safe and well and have your student remain at home to complete their schoolwork through Schoology®. In accordance with CDC guidelines, nurses will send students home to isolate for 10 days if they present obvious COVID-19 symptoms, including fever and vomiting, and/or more ambiguous symptoms such as a sore throat, fatigue, and congestion based on the particular situation.
Your campus health clinic has made modifications to the way it responds to student health needs. For students with daily medications or routine needs in the clinic, the care will look very much the same. To help keep our health clinic areas free from COVID-19 related illness, each campus clinic has an isolation room. Students who present COVID-19 symptoms will be assessed in the isolation room and remain supervised until a parent can arrive to take them home. If your contact information has changed, please inform your school registrar. The staff must be able to reach you to communicate your student’s needs during the school day.
Nurses will not be sending home nurse’s passes for less serious injuries. Instead, nurses will help teachers triage simple health needs such as minor skin abrasions, lost baby teeth, localized bug bites, and other small complaints in the classroom away from the clinic and possible exposure to more severe germs. You can help your student avoid visiting the campus clinic by preparing your student(s) ahead with commonly requested items like a change of clothes for bathroom accidents or spills, chapstick, and menstrual pads. Nurses will continuously be assessing service efficiencies and adjusting our systems based on student needs and know that we are doing everything possible to keep your student(s) safe.
Students and staff are expected to wear clean face coverings during school hours. Please inform your student that they need to keep their face coverings on while at school to protect themselves and others’ health. Keeping an extra face mask in the backpack is a good idea, as they may become soiled during the day. We expect that most students will come to school prepared for this need, but your campus will have some additional masks.
Face coverings include non-medical grade disposable face masks and cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth) to protect the nose, and mouth. More details about face coverings are available in the Reimagining Education Plan. The CDC does not recommend that face shields be used for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for face coverings. If you have questions about whether your student’s medical or behavioral condition or disability precludes them from wearing a face covering, please talk to your school administrator.
The State of Texas K-12 Immunization Requirements have not changed, applying to on-campus learners and virtual learners. ALL students must have their vaccinations up-to-date, so please email the campus nurse with your student’s vaccination records by Thursday, Sept. 10. Find low-cost vaccine finders by zip code and more vaccination resources.
Please feel free to reach out to your campus nurse to ask questions or share concerns.
I am exceptionally proud of the nurses’ work and dedication. They have put hours into staying current with the changing COVID-19 data while planning and implementing services that anticipate student and staff health and safety needs. I know they appreciate your support!
Brandy Hafner, RN, BSN
Director of Health Services
Round Rock ISD
Servicios de Salud en el Campus: Actualización de la Directora de Servicios de Salud
El departamento de Servicios de Salud está listo para dar la bienvenida a su estudiante al campus.
Las enfermeras del distrito jugaron un papel crucial en la planificación e implementación de prácticas de prevención y respuesta basadas en evidencia que ayudaron a preparar su escuela para el regreso de sus estudiantes.
Cuando se trata de la salud de su estudiante, es importante escuchar con atención a sus estudiantes y seguir sus instintos si presentan algún síntoma. En el pasado, había enviado a mi hijo a la escuela cuando mostraba síntomas leves como secreción nasal o dolor de garganta con la esperanza de que mejoraran durante el día. Esta no es una práctica recomendada este año. Cada día antes de dejar a su estudiante en la escuela o abordar el autobús, realice una evaluación de los síntomas de COVID-19. Si su estudiante presenta algún síntoma durante la evaluación diaria, ayúdenos a mantener seguros y sanos a todos los estudiantes y haga que su estudiante se quede en casa para completar su trabajo escolar a través de Schoology®. De acuerdo con las guías de los CDC, las enfermeras enviarán a los estudiantes a casa para aislarlos durante 10 días si presentan síntomas obvios de COVID-19, que incluyen fiebre y vómitos, y / o síntomas más ambiguos, como dolor de garganta, fatiga y congestión según la situación particular. La clínica de salud de su campus ha realizado modificaciones en la forma en que responde a las necesidades de salud de los estudiantes. Para los estudiantes con medicamentos diarios o necesidades de rutina en la clínica, la atención se verá muy parecida. Para ayudar a mantener las áreas de nuestras clínicas de salud libres de enfermedades relacionadas con COVID-19, cada clínica del campus tiene un cuarto de aislamiento. Los estudiantes que presenten síntomas de COVID-19 serán evaluados en la sala de aislamiento y permanecerán supervisados hasta que un padre pueda llegar para llevarlos a casa. Si su información de contacto ha cambiado, informe al registrador de su escuela. La escuela debe poder comunicarse con usted para comunicarle las necesidades de su estudiante durante el día escolar.
Las enfermeras no enviarán pases de enfermera a casa por lesiones menos graves. En cambio, las enfermeras ayudarán a los maestros a clasificar necesidades de salud simples como abrasiones leves en la piel, dientes de leche perdidos, picaduras de insectos localizadas y otras pequeñas quejas en el aula lejos de la clínica y la posible exposición a gérmenes más graves. Puede ayudar a su estudiante a evitar visitar la clínica del campus preparándolo (s) con anticipación con artículos comúnmente solicitados como una muda de ropa para accidentes o derrames en el baño, lápiz labial y toallas menstruales. Las enfermeras evaluarán continuamente la eficiencia del servicio y ajustarán nuestros sistemas según las necesidades de los estudiantes y sabrán que estamos haciendo todo lo posible para mantener a sus estudiantes seguros. Se espera que los estudiantes y el personal se cubran la cara limpia durante el horario escolar. Por favor informe a su estudiante que necesita mantener su cara cubierta mientras está en la escuela para protegerse y proteger la salud de los demás. Tener una mascarilla extra en la mochila es una buena idea, ya que pueden ensuciarse durante el día. Esperamos que la mayoría de los estudiantes vengan a la escuela preparados para esta necesidad, pero su campus tendrá algunas máscaras adicionales.
Las cubiertas faciales incluyen máscaras faciales desechables de grado no médico y cubiertas faciales de tela (sobre la nariz y la boca) para proteger la nariz y la boca. Más detalles sobre los revestimientos faciales están disponibles en Reimagining Education Plan. El CDC no recomienda que se utilicen protectores faciales para las actividades diarias normales o como sustituto de las cubiertas faciales. Si tiene preguntas sobre si la condición médica o conductual o la discapacidad de su estudiante le impide usar una cubierta facial, hable con el administrador de su escuela.
Los requisitos de inmunización del estado de Texas por grados Kinder a 12th no han cambiado y se aplican a los estudiantes en el campus y a los estudiantes virtuales. TODOS los estudiantes deben tener sus vacunas actualizadas, así que envíe un correo electrónico a la enfermera del campus con los registros de vacunación de su estudiante antes del jueves 10 de septiembre. Encuentre buscadores de vacunas de bajo costo por código postal y más recursos de vacunación.
No dude en comunicarse con la enfermera de su campus para hacer preguntas o compartir preocupaciones.
Estoy excepcionalmente orgullosa del trabajo y la dedicación de las enfermeras. Han dedicado horas a mantenerse al día con los datos cambiantes de COVID-19 mientras planifican e implementan servicios que anticipan las necesidades de salud y seguridad de los estudiantes y el personal. ¡Yo sé que ellos aprecian su apoyo!
Brandy Hafner, RN, BSN
Directora de Servicios de Salud
Distrito Escolar Independiente de Round Rock
Wear a Mask to Protect Others
Be like Ginger! Be safe! Be kind. Wear your mask.
At the onset of the pandemic HopeAustin was providing for all RRISD students at the designated curbside spots and continued services through the end of July.
In working with the District in determining how we may serve this school year, we have been given the opportunity to continue our service with Hope Austin at the 12 designated RRISD curb-side meal sites. RRISD students may pick up a HopeAustin weekend meal kit from any of the designated sites.
For any students and families that may be in need of weekend food assistance, weekend meal kits may be picked up each Friday (during virtual learning) from 10-12 at one of the locations below:
Round Rock High School, 201 Deep Wood Dr, Round Rock: Between the 1100 bldg and the Uhaul where band practice is located
Cedar Ridge High School, 2801 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock: Front of the school
Stony Point High School, 1801 Tiger Trail, Round Rock: Staff parking lot
Westwood High School, 12400 Mellow Meadow Dr., Austin: Front of the school near the band entrance
Deerpark Middle School, 8849 Anderson Mill Rd., Austin: Side of school near cafeteria
C.D. Fulkes Middle School, 300 W Anderson Ave., Round Rock: Outside the cafeteria
Hopewell Middle School, 1535 Gulf Way, Round Rock: Front of the school
Bluebonnet Elementary, 1010 Chisholm Valley Dr., Round Rock: Front of the school
Old Town Elementary School, 2200 Chaparral Dr., Round Rock: Front of the school
Forest North Elementary School, 13414 Broadmeade Ave., Austin: Front of the school
Joe Lee Johnson Elementary, 2800 Sauls Dr., Austin: Front of the school
Double File Trail Elementary School, 2400 Chandler Creek Blvd., Round Rock: Front of the school
Print Masks are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
Wear your Mask Correctly
Wear a Mask to Protect Others
Take Off Your Mask Carefully, When You’re Home
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that is spreading from person to person. The virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, sings, coughs or sneezes.
FREE PUBLIC COVID-19 TESTING NOW AVAILABLE Are you experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? Click the button below to use this online assessment to register for FREE testing for you or a loved one.
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Welcome back to school!
I am back on campus a few days a week . I also will be "working from home" until kiddos come on to campus.
I have had several parents asking me about immunization requirements and how we will handle those. We are still waiting for guidance from the state, but they have not relaxed any requirements yet.
For now, we will require students to be up to date with immunizations by September 10, 2020.
Listed below is the Immunization requirements per State of Texas
(DTaP/DTP/DT/Td/Tdap) 15 doses or 4 doses3 dose primary series and 1 Tdap/Td booster within last 5 years3 dose primary series and 1 Tdap/Td booster within last 10 yearsFor K — 6th grade: 5 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine; 1 dose must have been received on or after the 4th birthday. However, 4 doses meet the requirement if the 4th dose was received on or after the 4th birthday. For students aged 7 years and older, 3 doses meet the requirement if 1 dose was received on or after the 4th birthday.
For 7th grade: 1 dose of Tdap is required if at least 5 years have passed since the last dose of tetanus-containing vaccine.
For 8th — 12th grade: 1 dose of Tdap is required when 10 years have passed since the last dose of tetanus-containing vaccine. Td is acceptable in place of Tdap if a medical contraindication to pertussis exists.
Polio 14 doses or 3 dosesFor K — 12th grade: 4 doses of polio; 1 dose must be received on or after the 4th birthday. However, 3 doses meet the requirement if the 3rd dose was received on or after the 4th birthday.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) 1, 22 dosesFor K — 12 grade: 2 doses are required, with the 1st dose received on or after the 1st birthday. Students vaccinated prior to 2009 with 2 doses of measles and one dose each of rubella and mumps satisfy this requirement.
Hepatitis B 23 dosesFor students aged 11 — 15 years, 2 doses meet the requirement if adult hepatitis B vaccine (Recombivax®) was received. Dosage (10 mcg / 1.0 mL) and type of vaccine (Recombivax®) must be clearly documented. If Recombivax® was not the vaccine received, a 3-dose series is required.
Varicella 1, 2, 32 dosesThe 1st dose of varicella must be received on or after the 1st birthday.
For K — 12th grade: 2 doses are required.
Meningococcal (MCV4)1Not Required1 doseFor 7th — 12th grade, 1 dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine is required on or after the student’s 11th birthday.
Note: If a student received the vaccine at 10 years of age, this will satisfy the requirement.
Hepatitis A 1, 22 doses12th Grade:
The 1st dose of hepatitis A must be received on or after the 1st birthday.
For K — 11th grade: 2 doses are required.
Here is the link for Immunization Exemptions
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also clean hands:
Chisholm Middle School Clinic