Reaction to new rules about masking in NY child care centers

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Masking up is now a mandate in New York child care centers. The centers say they wish they had more notice because this is a fight they’ve already fought.

“Going to require masks at child care and day care centers,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-New York, said Wednesday.

Child care centers in New York are shocked by Wednesday’s announcement to mask up again.

The mandate calls for anyone 2 and up-- vaccinated or not-- to wear a mask at all times in a child care facility.

“It was out of the blue, we did not expect this,” said Jamie Basiliere of the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country.

Basiliere says it was a practice most centers were already doing for adults but the problem lies with masking up the children.

“Toddler teachers will tell you keeping a mask on 10 toddlers is very, very challenging. Keeping the right mask on the right child, picking up wet, soiled masks up-- it’s a big challenge,” Basiliere said.

Hochul points to the lack of vaccine options for the age group and notes that masks are already required in New York schools, vaccinated or not.

“We don’t have a vaccine available for 5- to 11-year-olds,” Hochul said.

“Some spotty infections in the North Country but largely children have been safe,” Basiliere said.

Centers and elected officials around the state fought the previous mandate from the Cuomo administration regarding masks and young kids back in May.

“After the course of three days, the mandate was eliminated,” Basiliere said.

The North Country is considered a child care desert, meaning there are currently not enough open spaces for families to enroll their children.

“Places are full with waiting lists,” Basiliere said.

Basiliere fears this mandate will only add another problem to the mix.

“This really is a crisis and the COVID-19 is not the cause of the child care crisis but it certainly has made a looming crisis worse,” Basiliere said.

There is a petition circling the state to have the mandate changed.

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