Young children in child care programs no longer required to wear masks in New York state

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 file photo, parents wait with children on the schoolyard for the start of their first day at a school in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Just in time for back-to-school for millions of kids, the World Health Organization on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 has issued guidance about mask-wearing by children, suggesting in particular that those aged 6 to 11 should wear them too in some cases to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The WHO recommendations follow upon the widespread belief that children aged under 12 are not considered as likely to propagate the virus as much as adults. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – In a joint statement released Monday from New York State and the Department of Health, guidance has been revised for child care programs saying young children no longer have to wear masks.

This comes after hundreds of parents were set to sue the state over the revised rule.

The statement reads that while masks for children ages 2-5 are encouraged, it is not required.

Read the statement below:

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…
 

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