NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In an effort to keep COVID-19 from spreading, the Connecticut Office Of Early Childhood is requiring children ages 3 and up to wear a face mask while in child care programs.
The mask mandate is part of a state order, and will go into effect on Sept. 21, 2020.
Childcare facilities are asked to create and enforce a written policy for staff and families. The policy must include ways to gently remind children to keep their masks on, and how to respond to parents who won’t let their children wear a mask.
Exceptions to the rule include a documented medical condition, health care or developmental needs.
Children who are non-compliant will not be excluded from the program.
Yale New Haven Health‘s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Thomas Balcezak said it’s important for all of us to keep the virus from spreading to any part of our population which includes kids and their family members.
“The mask order, it’s going to be difficult for many individuals, but any improvement in mask wearing is an improvement in source control,” said Dr. Balcezak.
Doctors said even though the risk of infection is low for children, they can easily spread the virus.
“There was a report released yesterday that did document some transmission within a child care center from young children to their parents, so certainly, we know it’s a risk and wearing a mask is a great way to mitigate that risk because we know they’re very effective,” said Yale Medicine‘s Dr. Thomas Murray, who is Associate Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
Doctor Murray pointed out that children at the preschool age are very adaptable.
“Everything is new to them when you’re three, so this is a great opportunity to introduce something that will be safe for them and helpful,” he said.
He advises parents or caregivers to be patient and try out some different types of masks. Perhaps give kids a choice for style and comfort. He also said to remain calm because children can sense anxiety.
The guideline states kids do not have to wear masks while eating, sleeping or resting and mask breaks will be planned throughout the day with social distancing.