CDC urging 2-year-olds to wear masks

In new guidance that was updated on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said children as young as two years old should wear masks at all times — except while eating and napping — and that will stay in place even after all teachers and staff are vaccinated.

“Everyone 2 years and older should wear a mask covering their mouth and nose when around people who do not live in their household, except when eating or sleeping,” the CDC said Friday. “Teach and reinforce the consistent and correct use of masks for all staff and children aged 2 years and older.”

“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.”

According to the new guidelines, in addition to social distancing, children should also wear masks while outdoors.

“Stagger your use of playgrounds and play spaces by reducing the group size in the play area at one time or remaining in cohorted groups while sanitizing shared objects and high touch surfaces between groups,” says the CDC. “If multiple cohort groups need to be in your play area at the same time, consider using fencing or another barrier to designate separate areas for each cohort.”

The CDC also discourages sharing toys between children.

On News4Jax Morning Show, Jennifer Freeman, owner of a daycare in Jacksonville, Fl, said she does not agree with the CDC’s new guidelines for young children.

“We have to look at what is best for children,” Freeman said. “If I don’t have evidence that they’re getting sick because they are not wearing a mask. I know the best way to educate children is for them to smile and talk to each other, to have fun and not be stressed about putting a mask over their face — at least not in a childcare setting.”

The guidance outlines “strategies that child care programs can use to maintain healthy environments and operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19, and support coping and resilience.”

Last week, the CDC lessened restrictions on gathering indoors for vaccinated people.

The CDC says that it is okay now for fully vaccinated Americans to gather indoors with other vaccinated individuals without masks or social distancing.

Further, the CDC said that fully vaccinated grandparents can now visit their unvaccinated children and grandchildren.

The CDC has yet to update its travel guidance.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy