Rising COVID-19 transmission and ineligibility for children to be vaccinated are concerns in Nevada’s child care facilities.
Based on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with growing concerns over Nevada’s increasing COVID-19 trends and in accordance with Gov. Sisolak’s Directive 45, Section 4, Early Child Education (ECE) programs must make mask use universally required within their facility, regardless of vaccination status. Per the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health masks are recommended, but not required for children age 2-9.
Masking remains mandatory for ECE programs because:
- Programs serve a population that is not yet eligible for vaccination;
- Increasing trends of COVID-19 transmission are occurring within the ECE programs and the surrounding community; and
- Community transmission of variants of concern (specifically the Delta variant) that are spread more easily among children is increasing.
Other issues that ECE facilities face that warrant universal mask wearing include:
- Having staff model consistent and correct mask use for children;
- Lacking a system to monitor the vaccine status of children and staff;
- Difficulty monitoring or enforcing mask policies that are not universal; and
- Awareness of low vaccination uptake within families, staff, or the community.
As the regulatory body over ECE programs, the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) is charged with carrying out the regulations of Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) Chapter 432A, to ensure the safe operation and licensure of small child care establishments. Per the Directive 24 guidance document issued in accordance with Gov. Sisolak’s Directive 024 regarding face coverings, DPBH is tasked with setting forth the masking requirements of child care providers, pursuant to its regulatory authority over child care providers. Further, the guidance document issued with Gov. Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 045, as well as the current guidelines from the CDC, provide that settings with a higher percentage of unvaccinated people, such as children, present a higher risk for the spread of COVID-19. This masking directive, imposed on all ECE programs, is imposed pursuant to the regulatory authority of DPBH.
The County Tracker tab on Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that one criteria for elevated disease transmission in a community is having a test positivity rate above 8% in combination with a case rate above 50 over the past 30 days. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics also published updated guidance which continues to recommend that all staff and students who are 2 years or older wear face masks unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit their use.
Additionally, Washoe County Child Care Licensing still has an abundance of hand sanitizer available for providers. Please reach out to your licensing worker if you are in need of more hand sanitizer.
For more information, guidance and resources about Nevada’s response to COVID-19, visit https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/.