CDC Updates Its Guidelines: Even Post-Vaccination, Preschool Teachers Are Told to Keep Masks on All 2-Year-Olds

(AP Photo/Nur Media Center)

The vaccine is here, people are getting their second shots, so society will soon have reached a special place.

I’m talking about the place where you keep masks on two-year-olds.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines, after teachers and other education faculty have been vaccinated, kids as young as two should still be forced to cover their noses and mouths at schools and daycares.

The CDC updated its rules Friday.

The Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs During COVID-19 — which vaccination instruction — includes a section on masking up.

The lowdown:

  • After touching or removing your mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Learn from CDC about How to Select, Wear, and Clean Your Mask.
  • CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a mask is not be feasible. In these instances, consider adaptions and alternatives.

And in case you’ve misunderstood, even with a mask, you should stay away from everyone:

A mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to physical distancing. Wearing a mask is especially important indoors and when physical distancing is difficult to implement or maintain while providing care to young children.

Speaking of, the CDC lays it out where those little munchkins are concerned.

This one’s gonna require vigilance:


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.

Teach and reinforce the consistent and correct use of masks for all staff and children aged 2 years and older.

As the saying goes, “Good luck with that.”

And while you’re at it, try to keep children from playing together:

Communal outdoor spaces, such as playgrounds (play structures, jungle gyms, swing sets) and play spaces with shared toys or equipment (for example balls, tricycles, toy cars) are important for healthy child development, but can pose a risk for spreading COVID-19. Even though outdoor spaces reduce risk of spreading COVID-19, the virus can still spread when young children touch contaminated objects, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Preventive behaviors such as wearing a mask, handwashing, and cohorting are needed.

Consider restricting your use of play structures or equipment that position children close by one another (for example facing each other on a tire swing, crawling close together in tunnels, or enclosed with one another in fort-type structures.)

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.


All of that may sound difficult, but there’s a way it can be accomplished.


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.

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.

Meanwhile, what’s the virus’s fatality rate?

As indicated by the CDC’s Best Estimates in September, it was as follows:

  • 0-19 years: 0.00003
  • 20-49 years: 0.0002
  • 50-69 years: 0.005
  • 70+ years: 0.054

Still, better safe than sorry. It’s gonna be tough for preschool teachers. And for health-conscious parents with friends who have children.

If you find yourselves needing to vent, you can do it over dinner — while wearing a mask.

In the Dining section of the CDC’s advisement, we’re still told to wear masks “while dining in a restaurant…except when actively eating or drinking.”


If I understand correctly, that means you’ll pull the mask back up between shovels of food.

Bonus: No one will see the spinach in your teeth.

For those of you who work with small children, your mask may also hide the fact that your teeth have been ground down — as you’ve gritted them, trying to keep masks on all those two-year-olds.

Again, I wish you good luck.



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