Daycare facilities relieved mask requirement for children at childcare centers is lifted

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – After major push back from parents, children younger than 12 are no longer required to wear a face mask at daycare and day camp centers.

According to the latest state guidelines, it states it’s encouraged that children wear a face mask, but it nothing about it being required anymore. A few places News 4 stopped by, say they’re in favor of this change.

“I speak for many centers in that aspect of there’s no data that supports needing to wear a mask so it’s nice that they are just suggesting it basically. That it’s not required of us,” said Kelly Kronbeck, who’s the president and owner of Imagination Station in Lancaster.

Imagination Station was one of the childcare centers fighting the state to give children at their facility the option to wear a mask if they want. For about a week the state was requiring kids as young as two to wear a face mask while at daycare or day camp. Parents and facilities across Western New York pushed back.

“I didn’t have a single parent showing support,” said Jason Durkin who’s the director of Creative Services. “There was no support for this guideline whatsoever. If a child is drooling or has a runny nose, I can’t imagine taking a mask off a child with a runny nose that’s had a mask on all day it would probably be stuck to their face.”

On Monday night, the state lifted those mask guidelines.

“We’ve received a ton of positive feedback, people have called me personally just to say how grateful they are that they’re child doesn’t have to be masked in their program. So I really think it’s a win overall,” Kronbeck said.

Nick Bond, who’s the VP of operations and program innovation with the YMCA says the organization might require children to wear a mask depending on the activity, like if it’s something that involves a large group of kids or kids can’t be spaced out. He’s happy to at least have options.

“I don’t want to use the word disappointed but we were shocked to see the mask mandate especially with the success that we had last summer with the campers that we served,” he said. “We’re really excited that less than a week later they came out with revisions to that mask mandate.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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