State requiring children 3 and up wear masks in child care

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

HARTFORD — Children age 3 and older are required to wear masks in child care settings under a new coronavirus directive from the state Office of Early Childhood.

The updated directives issued by the office Monday apply to child care centers, group child care homes, family child care homes, youth camps and child care facilities.

The revised policy makes a number of exceptions, including for children who are unable to wear masks because of a medical condition, disability or special education need.

Children who recently turned 3 will also have up to two months to acclimate to wearing a mask or face covering.

It also specifies that children shall not be excluded from a program or isolated from other children for not complying with the mask mandate.

Children are not required to wear a mask while eating, sleeping or resting, and masks may be removed for outdoor activities.

There may also be “mask breaks” planned throughout the day. For indoor breaks, children must maintain at least 6 feet of distance wherever possible.

Child care programs and camps must create a written policy for mask wearing and provide the document to staff and families.

The policies must include:

  • Protocols for the wearing and removal of masks as guided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • How to address non-compliance by children as they adjust to mask wearing, including the consideration of gentle reminders and other least restrictive means of supporting compliance.
  • How to respond to parents or guardians who refuse to permit their child to wear a mask.

The office’s Commissioner Beth Bye revised the previous policy in response to a Sept. 4 executive order that Gov. Ned Lamont issued directing her office, the Department of Education, and the Department of Public Health to compose new directives to promote the safety of adults and children in public schools and child care settings.

The updated policy takes effect Monday.

THE UPDATED WATCH LIST of states that are part of a coronavirus travel advisory released Tuesday by the Lamont administration removed California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio. Puerto Rico was added back to the list, a week after the territory’s removal from the list.

There are now 28 states listed, plus Puerto Rico and the territory of Guam.

In June, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey imposed a tri-state travel advisory that applies to travelers from states that either have a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a positivity rate higher than 10% over a rolling seven-day average.

Travelers from listed states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days unless they have had a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel.

Lamont announced a coming policy change Monday that will free travelers from having to quarantine for a full 14 days if they test negative after arriving in Connecticut.

NO ADDITIONAL DEATHS from COVID-19 were reported since Monday, leaving the death toll standing at 4,485.

The Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced 136 more cases out of 10,790 tests results that were received.

The percentage of positive cases based on those daily numbers was 1.3%. This was slightly higher than the latest rolling seven-day average of 1.1% from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

There now have been 55,031 COVID-19 cases and more than 1.3 million diagnostic tests reported in Connecticut.

Public health officials said there was a net increase of seven patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 between new admissions and discharges to 71 statewide.

THE NAUGATUCK VALLEY HEALTH DISTRICT reported Tuesday there have been 428 confirmed coronavirus cases in Naugatuck and 59 in Beacon Falls. There have been 37 confirmed deaths associated with coronavirus and four probable deaths in Naugatuck, according to the health district, and none in Beacon Falls.

The Chesprocott Health District reported Sept. 11 there have been 87 cases in Prospect and no coronavirus-related deaths in town.