Daycare mask mandate revised after pushback from parents, lawmakers

Coronavirus

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Health has revised the controversial daycare mask mandate that parents and state lawmakers pushed back against on Monday.

The mandate previously required children 2 years old and above to wear masks in daycare and camp settings.

A revision sent out Monday evening instead asks that daycare workers encourage, but not require children ages 2-5 to wear masks.

NYS Office of Children and Family Services & Department of Health Joint Statement on Revised Mask Guidance for Child Care Programs

We thank the providers who have worked so hard since the start of the pandemic to remain open to serve the families of those who could not stay home and we recognize their valiant efforts in serving working families who need quality, reliable and safe child care. 

Both agencies understand how difficult it is to require the youngest children to wear masks, and have jointly agreed to revise guidance allowing child care providers to continue the practices and protocols that have been in place since the start of the pandemic by encouraging, not requiring, children aged 2-5 to wear masks, effective immediately.

The safety of the children in child care programs is of paramount importance. As more families are returning to work, New York State is investing federal funds in stabilizing the industry and expanding child care programs throughout the state, especially in underserved areas. 

We strongly encourage any remaining child care staff who have not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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