Daycare not requiring teachers or students 2+ to be masked

Hi BPN community! I could use some advice. Our small daycare is not requiring teachers or kids 2+ to be masked since CA’s “reopening” in June. Since the delta surge, I’ve expressed my concern and to the daycare director and asked that they revisit this policy, shared data and resources, and tried to understand her perspective. 
The director feels the other precautions they’re taking are enough: she implied all teachers are vaccinated but couldn’t confirm for employee privacy reasons, parents don’t bring kids with any symptoms without a negative Covid test or dr note, the kids are outside a lot, they have air purifiers… but the fact that they essentially will not even have teachers wear masks is alarming. This school is otherwise highly recommended and we respected the director and practices before this issue. I get that small daycares often take time to implement new policies but at this point, it seems she’s willfully ignoring science and licensing requirements. The daycare has not had any Covid cases and most parents seem to take Covid precautions seriously but I don’t know them well.

I really don’t want to take my kid out of our daycare (and I’m not sure we could even find an opening at an alternate, and we can’t afford a nanny share), but it seems like we may have to move in that direction. Any advice or other things to consider, fellow parents? We can’t not have childcare again. Would sending our kid masked while waiting to get off a safer daycare’s waitlist be something you’d consider? Thank you!

[Moderator note: There is a similar question from a week ago - see No Masking at Preschool]

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 If your kid is old enough for preschool, you might try enrolling them somewhere with openings that has covid policies more in line with your own priorities and the CDC recommendations. Preschools seem to tend to be less pricey than daycares and nanny shares. It’s late in the year to apply and enroll, but some places will still have spots. Looking for an outdoor-only place is another option, and one that we have chosen for our son for preschool.  Good luck! This is a stressful time for everyone 🍀 

Whoa.  No masks on the teachers?  That would be a hard no for me.  That is just a nightmare waiting to happen with Delta.  Our friend's 1yo got very ill from COVID she caught at daycare about 2 weeks ago.  She had about a week of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cough and then developed pneumonia and spent multiple nights in the ER with difficulty breathing.  I understand the kids not wearing masks 100% reliably when only 2 but our best protection for our children who cannot be vaccinated is that ALL of the adults around them must be fully vaccinated and wearing masks 100% of the time. 

Well, unfortuantely for that director they have no choice. They are actively breaking the law by not requiring masks indoors for anyone over the age of 2 regardless of vaccination status. There are also special COVID rules that all licensed daycares must follow to be able to operate. I would inform them of the current mask mandates and report them to the health department as well as the licensing board. Also, as a parent to a 2.5 year old in daycare...I would look for a new daycare ASAP. They sound like they don't actually care about the health and safety of children.  

Effective today, 8/18/2021 OUSD has made it mandatory for ALL teachers and staff to be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated teachers are not allowed on campus.  Expect this policy to be adopted by all schools shortly.  School hasn't been in session a week and COVID is in the schools.

The virus has mutated and most of what we know about the virus doesn't apply to the apply to the variant.   It's going to take EVERYONE getting vaccinated and wearing masks to rid our community of COVID.  All it takes is one person with the new variant in a school to cause a massive outbreak in our community.  With over 5.8 billion people vaccinated we know the vaccine is safe and is effective, but not perfect.  (No vaccine is perfect.)   The director is WRONG when it comes to the variant.

Here's a link to a podcast from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.  In this podcast specifically addresses what we know and don’t know about the virus when it comes to kids.   Skip ahead to :55 for the discussion on kids.  Please encourage the director to listen since they are dealing with kids lives. 

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars/episode-64

This podcast should answer all of your questions in your post.

We’re new to daycare, but ours is taking things very seriously. Adults wear masks, kids above 2 wear masks, we were all reminded of the illness policy last week. Plus lots of cleaning, filters, etc etc. our provider has made me feel as comfortable as she possibly can and I definitely trust she’s doing the best she can given the circumstances. I’d connect with other parents at your school to see if anyone else wants to push the issue, talk to the director again, and get on some waitlists elsewhere.

I'm an administrator for a small preschool so am on top of regulations. For the first 8 months or so of the pandemic it was utterly confusing because there were directives coming from the state and county health departments as well as child care licensing and things didn't always align but we were always told to go with whatever was most restrictive. The Alameda County health & Berkeley health departments hosted super informative webinars for child care schools so the resources are out there to get informed, and licensing sends out updates to all licensed facilities. Now the regulations are pretty clear cut, child care licensing is having everyone follow the state and county health departments which  both say that everyone over the age of 2 in a child care facility is required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status, except when napping or eating. Masks are optional outdoors for vaccinated adults. Our staff has chosen to mask outdoors so that there is no concern with getting close to the kids who are of course unvaccinated and due to concern about the Delta variant impacting children.

Your teachers are correct that preschools can't legally require nor even ask about the immunization status for a vaccine that is not required by law. However, the teachers can opt to disclose their immunization status if the wish to. We gave that option to our staff and everyone has openly shared that they are vaccinated. 

If the teachers aren't masking indoors or you have other concerns about whether or not they are following health department regulations you should call licensing and file a complaint - this will trigger an inspection which isn't as harsh as it sounds as preschools are supposed to get them annually anyway (either surprise or announced, in person or virtual) -- more inform on that is here: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/ccld-complaint-hotline

You can also look up any preschool's inspection and complaint (if any) history here: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing/facility-...