COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Despite the lifting of Ohio’s health orders, masks are still being encouraged at preschools and childcare centers across the state.
“We have our school-age children wearing them, as well as our staff right now. And so we’re making some additional changes to our pandemic policies,” said Sandy Bailey, director of Meadow Park Children’s Center.
Throughout the pandemic, Bailey has been following the state’s mandates on masks closely and said even with mask-wearing now optional in the state of Ohio, they’re continuing to uphold it for now out of caution.
A feeling echoed by healthcare professionals across the state.
“Younger people typically do better with COVID, they have less severity of illness, they’re less likely to be hospitalized. However, low risk is not zero risk,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, infectious disease specialist with OhioHealth.
Dr. Gastaldo said without a vaccine available to those under 12, mask-wearing is one of the best ways to keep your children safe.
He also said Pfizer has announced in September, that they will seek FDA authorization for their vaccine in those five years and older, with another attempt in November for those below the age of two.
“So I do expect vaccines to be available for those six months and older, by the end of this calendar year,” said Gastaldo.
In the meantime, childcare centers like Meadow Park, say they’re still deciding on whether to drop the masks, but will seek input from their community on the decision as well.
“We’ve been asking our families that are currently here, we’ve been taking a sampling of opinions
there as well as calling other programs, looking at what the school systems are doing. So we’ve gotten a variety of response there, so we just wanted to make an informed decision about what we’re doing moving forward,” said Bailey.