MDHHS Extends Gatherings, Mask Order in Child Care Centers

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended the mask mandate in the state.

Now childcare centers are trying to find how to best implement it.

It now includes the masking of children 2 to 4 years of age. 

Marci Conroy owns “A Jump Ahead” in-home daycare.

Her center takes care of 12 children all under the age of five.

With the new rules released by the state on Friday all of her students ages two and up will have to wear a mask.

Conroy says, “If a child is going to have to wear a mask for 10 hours a day while they’re in care with me, I do not see two, three, and four year old’s doing that.”

Conroy says that she has already gotten pushback from parents who disagree with the epidemic order.

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Photo was taken in 2020

Conroy says, “When we as the providers were manned to wear masks and the five year old’s were mandated to wear masks, the parents did tell me they were upset with that.”

The state order says a good faith effort must be made to ensure kids wear their masks.

Northwestern Michigan college early childhood education instructor, Cheryl Bloomquist, says wording has the potential to confuse providers.

Bloomquist says, “That good faith effort is an important piece, but that also needs to be defined. What does it mean to put in a good faith effort? So I think that can be interpreted in many different ways.”

She says the children her student work with have been resilient when it comes to wearing masks and they’ve been able to communicate when they’ve had enough.

“We’re not forcing young children to wear a mask when its uncomfortable for them, when they don’t understand, when they don’t want it on their face. So there’s a big difference there,” Bloomquist says.