ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After receiving emails about the mask mandate possibly continuing in New York daycares, NEWS10 confirmed through the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) that children in daycare programs would not be required by the agency to continue wearing face masks beginning Wednesday.
Waves spread through the state after Gov. Kathy Hochul rescinded the mask mandate for all indoor locations a few weeks ago. Some school districts, parents, and students called for an end to masks in schools, but the state said they would wait until March before making the determination.
However, Hochul announced the mask mandate in schools would be lifted on March 2 at a press conference on Sunday, February 28, nearly a month after the mask mandate was lifted for businesses. With updated mask guidance, OCFS also posted updated COVID guidance for child care providers on its website. They recommended kids wear a mask under certain conditions, like if they make close contact—closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes in 24 hours—with someone COVID positive.
“I am relieved to hear that the NYS OCFS is making good on the Governor’s order to lift the mask mandate for child care centers effective Wednesday morning,” said Capital Region father of two, Adam Stiles. “This was the right thing to do and should have happened a long time ago.”
Although relieved, Stiles is disappointed with the lack of communication between the Governor’s office, OCFS, and child care providers, saying it caused unnecessary tension between parents and child care providers. “Hochul implied this change was coming weeks ago. She did an excellent job at building anticipation,” he said. “Unfortunately, she failed at preparing her team for the seamless and simple execution an executive should demand.”
Kids recovering from COVID will still have to quarantine for five days from the first full day they started experiencing symptoms. If they return to their daycare provider on day six, they will have to wear a mask up until day 10. OCFS also said parents should feel free to have their child(ren) continue to wear a mask if they choose. Child care providers can also choose to continue requiring children to wear a mask as well as municipalities and/or counties.
Read OCFS’s full statement below and see its official guidance to child care providers:
Given the dramatic 98% decrease in COVID-19 since the Omicron surge earlier this year, as well new guidance issued by the CDC, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services will no longer require that masks be worn in child care programs, except in specific instances as detailed in the guidance below, effective March 2, 2022. Parents should feel free to have their children continue to wear masks if they desire, and we will work with our child care providers to keep our programs healthy and safe. We thank our child care providers for their tremendous commitment and patience while serving the working families of New York State throughout the pandemic.OCFS
And check out the full guidance below: