The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has updated the guidance on face coverings in child care facilities as outlined in the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit.
The updated guidance clarifies that school-age children five (5) years or older who are in kindergarten or above are required to wear face coverings when they are or may be within six (6) feet of another person, unless a family member states that an exception applies for the child. NCDHHS recognizes that some five-year-old children attending child care programs are not yet in kindergarten. For these children, it is recommended that they wear face coverings if they can reliably wear, remove, and handle masks following Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. The face covering guidance applies to children who are on site at the child care facility, as well as on transportation vehicles that are regulated by the State of North Carolina.
The guidance also references CDC information that younger children may be unable to wear a face covering properly, particularly for an extended period of time. In these cases, child care program staff can prioritize having children wear face coverings at times when it is difficult for children to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others (e.g., during pick-up or drop-off, when standing in line). Additionally, the guidance references strategies that child care providers and/or families can use to assist children with becoming comfortable with wearing face coverings.
Updates to the guidance can be found on page 7 and page 10 of the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit.