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Stories and information in our region on the COVID-19 pandemic.

After Backlash, New York State Changes COVID-19 Child Care Guidance

child mask
Image by marcinjozwiak from Pixabay

New York has revised new recommendations that required children as young as 2 years old to wear masks in a child care setting.

In a joint statement, the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services said they will allow child care providers to continue the practices and protocols that have been in place since the start of the pandemic. Instead of guidelines released last week that required children aged 2-5 to wear masks, the agencies said they will encourage it.

The statement added, “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.”

Since the new guidelines were released, parents, lawmakers and child care providers criticized the rules, citing the difficulties of keeping young children in masks for up to 11 hours per day.

Despite revising the new guidance, state agencies said the safety of children is still of paramount importance, and officials are encouraging any child care staff members who have not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible to stem the spread of COVID-19.