Child Care centers react to new recommendations for masking young children

COVID-19

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The Monroe County health department is changing their recommendations in regards to face masks on young child in child care programs, as leaders strongly encourage local childcare providers to adopt universal masking for children
over two years of age.

Many childcare providers are already following strict state health guidelines when it comes to COVID-19, and now they must consider whether to adopt the new recommendation from the county health department on face masks.

“It’s just really a heighten sense of awareness with the things we’re already doing, with an immediate, now, it has to happen now,” said Rosa Marie, owner Marvelous Mind Academy.

The New York State Department of Health says, children who have not entered kindergarten do not need to wear face coverings in child care environments.

Monroe County, however, has released new guidance for mask wearing;

“Dr. Michael Mendoza, Commissioner of the Monroe County Department of Public Health, strongly encouraged local childcare providers to adopt universal masking for children over two years of age…This is particularly important for kindergartners on up, as it is a requirement in their schools… It makes sense to extend the school guidelines, as much as possible, to childcare settings.”

Meaning children as young as two are now recommended to cover up, a challenging task for child care providers. 

“In daycare, there’s this thing where the children have to bring an extra pair of clothes because kids have accidents. They would literally need to bring 5 to 10 masks, because they’re in their mouths they’re on the floor. So it’s very very challenging to keep it on their face,” said Meredith Moore, director of children’s programs at the Rochester Childfirst Network.

The Rochester Childfirst Network requires three years and older wear masks and they have found some tricks to keeping masks on that they hope to use for the younger children. 

“We purchased lanyards for all the kids so they’re able to drop their mask when it’s time to eat but that it doesn’t end up on the floor or a clip so the kids… doesn’t get lost, it stay sanitary and then they can put it on when they’re down eating,” said Marie.

This is just a recommendation from the county health department and most centers I talked to say the will work with their leadership teams to see if masking young children is something they can do reasonably and safely.

The recommendation for school aged children in child care and school environments has not changed, it is still suggested by state and county health departments they have masks on when needed.

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