No Masking at Preschool
Our preschool currently does not require kids to wear masks. In the past, when the question was asked, the rationale was that it's too hard to keep masks on kids. I have many concerns about this in light of the Delta surge and looking for feedback from other parents on 1) does your daycare/preschool require masks for kids 2 and up as per CDC recommendation? 2) any advice for approaching this topic with the Director?
Aug 10, 2021
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Our preschool (Broadway Children's School/Oakland) does require masks for all children. I believe the director had noted that it was a recommendation or requirement from the state board. They have back-up single-use masks (with fun prints!) for kids to try if theirs from home aren't comfortable, and if that doesn't work, the kiddo is sent home to try again the next day. They also had plans set up that if kids were having difficulty with their masks that they would be moved away from the other kids until the issue could get resolved. Only one of the 3-4yo's had problems (and eventually worked it out), the others had no problems. It helped that all the teachers and helpers wore their masks 100% of the time to model the behavior and that the kids had been practicing wearing masks at home. It also helped that they had easy-to-understand rules for when masks could be taken off: only during snack time when the kiddo was sitting in their socially-distanced snack spot, which itself was visually marked with a colorful hula hoop.
My tips: help them locate fun back-up masks, suggest ideas for making it easier for kids to understand (model the behavior, clear rules), and ask other parents to also express their concerns to the director.
1) Yes, our preschool requires masks. We enrolled in Feb 2021, when vaccines weren't out yet. I had pointed out to the director our child wasn't accustomed to masks, and she said that wouldn't be a problem because since everyone wears masks on campus, our child would learn just to do it as well. This turned out to be true. 2) No practical advice comes to mind. You would be essentially lobbying to change preschool policy, which I think is totally doable, but I have no experience in that kind of effort... perhaps if you talk to other parents and get their buy-in to ask the preschool to change policy? It depends on the preschool. If a co-op, I can imagine this being possible. Our preschool is fairly 'top-down', so because they already had the policy in place, we felt comfortable going with then. Good luck...
Our preschool does not require them but "encourages" them for the 2s and 3s class. The 4s class is "strongly encouraged" to wear masks. When this started (at least in the 3s class) I often didn't see many of the kids wearing them. But the longer they've had that expectation in place the more and more of the kids have been wearing them. With the move to the 4s class, my child seems to be wearing his much more consistantly. I think this is practice, age and the teachers gentle reminding and encouraging.
I recommend you most certainly talk directly to the director of your school. MOST preschools and elementary schools are enforcing masks. It is a false statement to say that children cannot get covid, or pass it along to others. While we are enjoying excellent protection from the vaccines, the state of things is clear--we can still get sick. I personally know of a PE teacher from a local Waldorf based school, who indeed did get sick w/ covid last year. Excellent contact tracing revealed it was from the student body. (this was CONFIRMED, not conjecture). The resistance to masks is dangerous. Small tykes can handle it if they can blow their own noses, or feed themselves! We see kids all over the place masked, they are fine.
Masks were required this past school year for our son's preschool class (age 3) except during nap time and when eating (they were distanced for both). The school's 2 year old class had the same rule and these rules continued over the summer even when rates were low. I think it is reasonable to recognize that 2 and 3 year olds are not going to be perfect at this but that is no reason to not try. Yes, there will be times where one of two of them have their masks below their noses, or off completely. But teachers should be expected to remind them to pull them back up or help them do so. After about 3 weeks in school, my son was completely fine wearing a well fitting mask throughout the entire school day. Talk to the school to see if they are considering an alternate approach and practice extended mask wearing at home for a few weeks. Also, find a well fitting mask - we found halo masks to be the best fit for him but happy masks were a close second.
Hopefully this is no longer an issue because the CA dept of public health is now mandating masks for everyone over 2. If the school hasn't started requiring this they're in violation and it's very serious - call the office that issues their license they have a hotline: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/child-care-licensing
Hello! My 3yo attends Little Tree Montesssori and they absolutely enforce mask wearing for all kids. To be fair, I have been training my daughter to wear a mask since April 2020 when she was 2. I totally understand how difficult it can be to enforce it, but it is most certainly not impossible. I would approach it with them honestly and ask what their policy is on keeping the kids safe from covid-19 and what protocols they have in place for sanitation and what happens if a family gets sick. Understanding their whole approach to the pandemic might help guide your decision on whether or not your kid is safe there.
Yes my child's preschool has a strict mask policy (for the whole last year) and it has been no problem. As a result my child is great with a mask at parks/playground etc. I'm now sending my kid in a N95 equivalent mask due to Delta. In fact my youngest child's daycare will have a mask policy for 18 months and up. For the youngest ones, it is about helping them with it and easing into it. But yes, especially over 2 years old masks should be required and teachers can help with that.
Our preschool starts at age 2 and everyone wears a mask. I was pretty skeptical last summer when my kid (then 4.5) went back to his preschool, I thought there was no way the kids were going to wear masks. But they all saw each other in masks, and they did fine. Kids are so adaptable, especially at preschool away from their parents! Here's a resource with some good talking points for advocating for mask requirements: https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/p/advocating-for-kids-resou...
That would be a dealbreaker for me (though I appreciate that finding a spot at an alternate preschool is easier said than done, so you may not have the option of switching). My kids' old preschool, and all of those our friends' kids currently attend in Oakland and Berkeley, still require masks for all kids and teachers. Parents report that kids seem to have no trouble with this (and this is what I've observed hanging out with friends with preschool-aged children--many are much better maskers than adults!) There are undoubtedly individual kids who struggle with masks, but the preschool should be dealing with those cases one-on-one. Most significantly, this is not currently the preschool's decision to make, assuming you are in the Bay Area--there is currently an indoor mask mandate for all schools for children age two and older in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties (and most of the region). If they are not enforcing that, this would be my entry point as a parent. Good luck!
My kid’s preschool requires all kids to wear masks, except when they eat, drink and nap. All teachers and staff are fully vaccinated and wear masks as well. Since preschoolers are still not eligible to be vaccinated and can still transmit the virus and get very ill, if I were you, I would directly raise my concerns to your school director and see if they will change their policy. If they don’t, I would probably pull my kid out of the school. Best of luck!
Our preschool requires masks on all kids. My kids (4yo and 25 months old) don't have an issue with keeping their masks on. Anytime I do pickup, dropoff, or see pictures of the kids at the preschool, all the other kids have their masks on too. Seems like a nonissue to me.