The Delaware Division of Public Health said on Monday that all children who are in kindergarten or older must wear face coverings in public settings, including school buildings.
The state had been requiring only children 12 and older to wear face coverings.
“Newer studies convey that all age groups are susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “The good news is the most infections in the younger age group of 5 – 10 appear to be mild. And although spread from this age group to others appears low, it still may occur. Therefore, use of face coverings in this age group is an important measure that can help prevent that spread.”
The change to guidelines comes as schools are opening around Delaware.
All children 2 years of age and older are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in public. Children younger than 2 must not wear face coverings due to suffocation risk, the state said.
A child with a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents the child from wearing a face covering is not required to wear one, a state press release said.
The change was made with a modification to Gov. John Carney’s State of Emergency order.
“The evidence could not be more clear that wearing face coverings is the best thing we can all do to keep our communities healthy,” Carney said in a press release. “I know masks can be uncomfortable at times for children and adults. But if we stay vigilant and work together, we’ll continue to make real progress against this virus.”
The State of Delaware will not enforce mask use among children, but encourages parents to refer to materials from Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .