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Masking outdoors

  • 1.  Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-06-2021 04:46 PM
    I am struggling with how to best keep our unvaccinated preschoolers safe this year (as well as our fully vaccinated staff, given Delta). The current guidance in CT is that masks are required indoors but not outdoors. As we did last year, we plan to spend the first two months of school entirely outdoors, and all teachers are vaccinated. However, with the Delta variant affecting children in ways that they were not affected last year, I'm concerned that we should be masking outdoors as well.

    Last year, I began the year trying to distance the children, then realized that that was both futile and went against most of what EC education is about. After a few weeks, the mask mandate came into effect, and I required masks inside and outside. We are a small, part-time preschool with one class of 15 students, 3 staff.

    How are other preschool programs approaching outdoor masking? Are you worried that infection could spread, even in the safest place (outdoors), given that children run and play so close together?

    Please share thoughts and practices.

    Bobbi Teva
    Sunny Hill Preschool
    Portland, CT

  • 2.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 05:57 AM
    Our school in NJ made followed the rule that the children and vaccinated teachers could be unmasked outside only if the temperature was 80 degrees or higher. This mitigated risk and this summer there was no issue.
    Sharon Ramsey
    Franklin Lakes, NJ

    Sharon Ramsey
    Head Teacher
    Barnert Temple Preschool
    Mahwah NJ

  • 3.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 07:50 AM
    What such stressful times we live in, but you cannot guarantee the virus will not affect your staff or children even with mask wearing. I would not advocate masking outdoors and recommend you follow the mask guidelines. Children need to breathe fresh air and how wonderful it is that you're able to have class outside!

    Cheryl Dillingham
    Office Administrator
    Nashville, TN

  • 4.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 07:53 AM

    We are masking outdoors except for active play like when they are on the playground. They keep their masks on for walks and when they are sitting outside for an outdoor activity. I hope this helps.

    Rochelle Johnson
    Early Learning Director
    Lanham MD

  • 5.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 07:56 AM

    With this new variant, I think that you should follow your gut and do what you feel is best for your center. Here, we require masks for children 3 and up throughout the day and some of our 2 year olds wear them as well, parents choice. All of our staff wear masks regardless of vaccination status because you can still be a carrier for the virus and I recently had a fully vaccinated staff contract the virus and has now been out of work for a month. I think that masks I really important for all.  


    Christina McIntosh

    PARC-Discovery Learning Center

    St. Petersburg, Florida


  • 6.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-10-2021 06:42 AM
    I agree. At my daycare center,  I required all kids to wear a mask age 2 and up.  The delta virus is deadly and someone can have the virus and never show any signs of illness.

    Patricia Stephens
    PBS Academy
    Missouri City TX

  • 7.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 10:32 AM
    Generally we do not require masks outdoors as long as there is sufficient distance. Which as you may deduce, is hard to enforce. So we go for mask under chin and when they get close to each other, they must put their mask up. Not perfect but helps.

    Of course when indoors masks are required at all times (except when eating). Maintaining a mask-up classroom is some like tryin to heard cats but we do it.

    Below is a link to a book that may help get the message across.

    Brian Lewis
    Reading PA

  • 8.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 12:23 PM
    Personally I would look at what research - below is a quote from CDC
    "If you want to spend time with people who don't live with you, outdoors is the safer choice! You are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks" Also, I believe the guidance states you need to be in close proximity with someone for 15 minutes (10 to be safer) to spread the virus.

    Given what we know about children outdoors, children are in the open air and most likely not in close proximity with another student for 15 minutes while running around outdoors.

    Of course you have to make the best decision for your families, children and staff. Just be mindful of what it is like to run or exert yourself with a mask on. Good luck :)

    Christina Roseli M.Ed
    Quality Care Coach
    Ventura, CA

  • 9.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-07-2021 01:19 PM
    Posted 12 hours ago

    I also have a hard time with mask indoor and outdoor. I'm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I've been doing a lot of outdoor activities with my class (preschoolers) where they have to spread out. Morning exercises, sidewalk chalk activities (writing numbers, letters, self portraits….) racing (obstacle courses)….just to name a few. This has been working pretty good. I like these activities because if their mask fall off they're still mostly separated. But all in all it's still challenging.

    Nori Carter
    Milwaukee WI

    Nori Carter
    Milwaukee WI

  • 10.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-13-2021 11:19 AM
    Good morning Bobbi

    Last year we didn't go to the playground.  This is we have been going outside for like 20 minutes.  Yes, it's hard for the students to keep their mask on especially here in Orlando, fl. it's super hot and humid.  there's times the students keep their nose out of the mask or they seat on the side.

    Ms. Nellie

    Nelida Rosado
    Orlando FL

  • 11.  RE: Masking outdoors

    Posted 09-14-2021 01:11 AM

    These times can be challenging and confusing dealing with COVID and following guidelines.
    I think it is great that you plan to spend more outdoor time. Children naturally will want to explore and socialize. The best we can do is make sure to maintain a clean and sanitized environment. Create activities that limit amount of children at a time, you can provide the same activity if there is enough materials. The outdoor environment doesn't have to be focused only in gross motor skills, it can include areas that children would normally do inside. Thus, preventing children running and playing so close together whether you require a mask or no mask.  Hope that helps, good luck!

    Alicia Renteria-Davliatov
    Long Beach CA