BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Following guidance from Governor Kathy Hochul, children two and older are now required to wear a face mask at daycare centers.
The Governor said since we don’t have vaccines for 5-11 year-olds yet, this step must be taken to protect children from COVID-19.
Many local child care providers and parents are still trying to figure out how to make this work.
The directors at Mary’s Little Lambs child care center said they have concerns about how the mask mandate is going to affect children’s development in the long run.
Raiven Lawrence’s two year old daughter attends Mary’s Little Lambs. She started wearing a mask Thursday.
“They’re requiring too much of kids that are too young,” said Lawrence. “When I put the mask on her she’s playing with it. I don’t even expect her to understand why she would have to have this over her mouth.”
Mary Goodwill owns Mary’s Little Lambs and said getting the kids to keep the mask on is only half the problem.
“They put it on and you can see their change, their ability to communicate with us and each other changes,” said Goodwill.
Assistant director Stephanie Goodwill said this is particularly hard on children with disabilities.
“Sometimes verbalization does not complete what they need. So they need that reaction from our faces they need to know how we’re feeling so how they’re supposed to feel,” she said.
Lead teacher Renee Beck read a book to Amanda Maniscalco’s daughter Thursday and both wore masks.
“I’m doing a sensory project this month and were doing the five senses so with a mask on it’s hard for the kids to be smelling things and tasting,” said Beck.
Maniscalco said it’s difficult to keep a mask on her daughter for longer than 15 minutes.
“It’s hard for a teacher to teach these little kids and keep their attention on a regular basis let alone with a mask on,” Maniscalco said.
The mask mandate brings New York State into compliance with the CDC’s guidance issued in July saying anyone two and older should wear a mask in indoor settings.