Child Care Aware® of America supports the use of face masks in child care settings for adults and children ages 2 and older regardless of vaccination status. This should continue to be part of a comprehensive strategy to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of children and adults.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “face masks can be safely worn by all children 2 years of age and older, including the vast majority of children with underlying health conditions, with rare exception. Children 2 years of age and older have demonstrated their ability to wear a face mask. In addition to protecting the child, the use of face masks significantly reduces the spread of [COVID-19] and other respiratory infections within schools and other community settings.”
Child care providers know what safety measures to take to keep children safe, including disinfecting, handwashing, mask wearing, symptom screening, social distancing, improving ventilation and limiting group sizes. Certain prevention measures may be limited by size of the center/home (and ability to social distance) or air ventilation system, and may be beyond the control of the provider, but wearing masks is safe and inexpensive. There may also be opportunities for children to safely unmask during the day, such as when they are outside or eating while taking other precautions.
Given recent concerns about the Delta variant, wearing masks is important to protect children, caregivers and the community at large. It is particularly important given that children under the age of 12 do not yet have access to the vaccine. And we have seen states, such as Delaware, Kentucky, Illinois, and California, take steps to ensure masking takes place in child care facilities.
“Child care providers have gone to heroic lengths during the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of children, families and staff," said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America. “We must continue to encourage all adults and children age two and up to wear masks in child care facilities as a part of mitigation efforts.”