Children under 5 no longer need to mask up in New York City schools and day care settings

NEW YORK — Children under the age of 5 no longer need to wear a mask in New York City schools and day care settings. 

It comes as the city’s health commissioner says New York has passed the peak of a COVID wave. He says case numbers have dropped by 26% over the past two weeks. 

So the city’s youngest are now able to drop their masks. 

“Definitely a good idea,” teacher Jackie Tojdowski said. “I’m a teacher, and it’s hard to hear kids speaking, and it’s hard for them to learn when they’re learning letters and sounds during how to read.”

Mayor Eric Adams said he was following the data and waiting until the latest Omicron surge began to “steadily fall.”

“I’m with New York City parents, and New Yorkers can trust this administration to continue to make the proper public health decisions to keep our kids safe,” he said in a statement.

“I cried, because I know how much damage we’ve done to these toddlers, and I see these little babies who really need to learn how to speak and how to smile and how to be smiled at,” said Natalya Murakhver, of Restore Childhood.

Not everyone is jumping for joy. Skepticism lingers for others who fear there is still the threat of catching COVID. 

“That can be a little bit dangerous, especially because they are kids and suppose those are the ones we are supposed to protect the most,” parent Valentina Rivera said. 

“I think it’s a bad idea, because a lot of kids are in the same room. I’m worried that the virus will spread. If one gets it, everyone gets it,” parent Tashi Dolma added. 

Meanwhile, the White House says it’s preparing to give out doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for kids under 5 as early as next Tuesday. 

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