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How to help your kid wear a face mask in school

With most children too young to get the COVID-19 vaccine, health experts say masks in school are the best option to slow the spread of the virus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the delta variant surging, more school districts in North Carolina are making masks mandatory for kids in the classroom. 

For some kids, this will be a big change as they aren't used to wearing masks in class. Experts say there are several things parents can do to help their children. 

"It's incredibly important for kids to wear masks," Dr. Shannon Neale, a family physician, said. 

Neale said masks are still necessary to fight the COVID-19 delta variant since most kids are too young to be vaccinated against the virus. 

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"The COVID-19 virus is a droplet spread virus and so the masks are going to help the droplets from spreading to the air around you and getting to other people," Neale said.

She encourages communicating to kids the importance of masking up.

"Talk about why it's important, why we're wearing the mask, and then also practice wearing it at home before you go out in public," Neale said. "If kids understand reasons behind why they're doing something and that it's going to help other people, it's going to be really helpful."

RELATED: LIST: K-12 schools in Charlotte-area districts mask, vaccine and remote learning decisions

Experts also recommend letting kids pick fun, well-fitting masks. That should help them want to wear them. Neale said to look for a mask with characters on it or a fun design.

"The more you can find something that's comfortable, that your child actually likes to wear, is going to be key," Neale said.

So what's the best mask for kids?

"I think the mask that works best for a child is the one they're going to wear," Neale said. 

Contact Sarah French at Sarah@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

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