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News Early Education and Care Commissioner to Ask Board to Grant Authority to Mandate Masks for Early Education and Care Providers and Children 5 and Older

Commissioner to Develop Plan to Address Workforce Shortage
8/30/2021
  • Executive Office of Education
  • Department of Early Education and Care

Media Contact for Early Education and Care Commissioner to Ask Board to Grant Authority to Mandate Masks for Early Education and Care Providers and Children 5 and Older

Colleen Quinn, Communications Director, Executive Office of Education

BostonEarly Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy will ask the Board of Early Education and Care (EEC) to grant her the authority to mandate masks indoors for staff and children 5 and older at all EEC-licensed child care sites and make regulation changes to address the significant workforce shortages currently limiting access to child care across the Commonwealth. 

The mask requirement would help ensure child care, afterschool programs, and other facilities licensed by EEC can remain open with limited interruptions and provide additional health and safety measures as more educators get vaccinated.  The masking requirement would include exceptions for children who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs. Masks will not be required outdoors.

The Commissioner will revise the EEC mask requirement as warranted by public health data, in coordination with the Department of Public Health. ​

EEC also continues to strongly encourage masks for children 2-4 years old who can safely and appropriately wear and remove face masks. 

“Massachusetts leads the nation in vaccination rates and continuing that momentum is critical to keeping children and families safe,” said Governor Charlie Baker. ​"We will continue to work with communities to offer vaccination clinics and support providers across the Commonwealth.”

“Ensuring safe spaces for our state’s youngest learners is a priority for our Administration,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We’re proud of the work Massachusetts residents continue to do to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 across the Commonwealth.”
 
“Implementing masking requirements, providing PPE, and encouraging vaccination are important measures to keep young children, their families, and caregivers healthy,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. 
 
In addition, the Commissioner will request authority to put in place policies intended to streamline requirements that create hiring barriers for child care programs, which face significant workforce challenges across the early education and care sector. If granted the authority to revise workforce regulations, the commissioner will propose a specific plan during the September board meeting.

“EEC is committed to addressing barriers to help child care programs increase their workforce and help more families get back to work by accessing child care that works for them,” said Commissioner Aigner-Treworgy.  “We fully recognize the critical importance of doing all we can to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on child care and on the health and safety of families.”

The Board of Early Education and Care will meet for a special meeting on Tuesday, August 31 to vote to grant the commissioner authority to institute a mask mandate and more flexible workforce policies.


Mobile Vaccination Clinics
The Baker-Polito Administration offers mobile pop-up vaccination clinics that take place in a community-based setting, including schools and child care centers. The clinics are organized to bring vaccines to a community setting and are available to employers, schools and school districts, community organizations, and other groups. An organization can submit a request for mobile vaccination services here.
 

Supplemental Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for Child Care
Open and operating EEC-licensed providers continue to be able to order supplemental PPE supplies and have them delivered directly to the program at no cost to them.
 
COVID-19 Testing

No-Cost, Drive-through Covid-19 Testing
EEC continues offering No-Cost COVID-19 drive-through testing for the child care community at locations across Massachusetts.
 

Pooled Covid-19 Testing for Early Education Sector
Early education programs across the state can now test all staff, educators, and children (2 years and older) weekly. Neighborhood Villages, with funding from EEC, is now offering a no-cost pooled testing program to all Massachusetts licensed early education and care programs, both center-based and family child care providers.

Media Contact for Early Education and Care Commissioner to Ask Board to Grant Authority to Mandate Masks for Early Education and Care Providers and Children 5 and Older

Executive Office of Education 

From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with an education that creates opportunities.

While Massachusetts' students rank first in the nation on many educational measures, the Executive Office of Education strives to strengthen the foundations of education reform, empower schools and educators, and develop pathways to college and careers so all students in the Commonwealth can succeed, regardless of their zip code.

Department of Early Education and Care 

The Department of Early Education and Care's mission is to support the healthy growth and development of all children by providing high quality programs and resources for families and communities.
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