Mar 12, 2021 - Health

CDC updates coronavirus guidance for child care providers

Daycare drop off, phase 4 reopening during Coronavirus Pandemic, Queens, New York. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A daycare drop off in New York City. Photo: Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated its coronavirus guidance for child care providers, which stresses the importance of mask use for anyone aged 2 years and older.

Why it matters: The updated guidance comes as some states begin to reopen and relax COVID-19 restrictions, including lifting masks mandates.

The big picture: According to the guidance, anyone aged 2 years and older should wear a mask when around people who do not live in the same household, except when eating or sleeping.

  • "Masks should still be worn in addition to physical distancing," the CDC emphasized.
  • Child care staff should also "teach and reinforce the consistent and correct use of masks for all staff and children aged 2 years and older."
  • The guidance notes that "even after child care providers and staff are vaccinated, there will be a need to continue prevention measures for the foreseeable future including wearing masks, physical distancing, and other important prevention strategies outlined in this guidance document."

What they're saying: "Early last year, CDC released initial guidance for childcare programs during COVID-19. As we learn more about the virus, CDC experts updated that guidance several times throughout 2020," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing on Friday.

  • "Today, CDC is again releasing updated guidance based on the most recent science," Walensky added.
  • "That science includes additional evidence showing that, when used consistently and correctly, prevention strategies such as mask-wearing, staying home when sick, and good hand hygiene can allow childcare programs to operate safely and reduce the spread of COVID-19."
  • Walensky also encouraged all child care workers to get vaccinated.
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