KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New Jackson county guidelines recommend children ages two years and up wear masks as much as possible while at daycare facilities or school.
Holly Beyer has put up the required signs, does all the recommended cleaning and is doing everything Missouri is asking of her.
“We get something from the state probably three times a week, twice a week, something like that,” she said. “It is pretty overwhelming.”
She’s run Montessori Academy for almost 20 years, and she’s never dealt with anything like COVID-19.
The newest daycare guidelines outlined by the county say “children two years and older, and staff, should wear masks as much as possible.”
“Even for the teachers, I think just remembering to keep it all when they’re talking to the children,” Beyer said. “I have a tendency to pull it off just because I’m not used to wearing them myself.”
She understands the barriers are meant to protect but hopes they won’t get in the way of learning or bonding.
Ceara Layne has a daughter who attends Montessori Academy. At home, she teaches her daughter that the masks are a positive thing and that, by wearing one, they’re joining a global effort.
She also questions the reality of her child wearing one constantly at school.
“How am I supposed to explain to my 4-year-old that she’s going to be required to wear a mask eight hours a day, five days a week, 40 hours?” Layne said. “That’s a lot for a 4-year-old.”
Beyer suggests wearing a mask at home for the sake of continuity and repetition.
“I think that the more the parents were, the easier it will be for us because they will start getting used to seeing that,” she said.
With information changing daily, there’s no hard-and-fast rule book for how to handle COVID-19.
“Almost since the beginning it’s kind of like rules are, there are no rules,” Layne said. “Plan is, there is no plan. All bets are off.”
Beyer said some of the guidelines don’t seem as feasible in real life as they do on paper.
“Some of the things, you just say, ‘How can you do it? No more than 10 children in the classroom?'” she said. “Well, if all of our children come back, that will be a challenge.”
Beyer said she and her staff will do whatever it takes to keep the kids safe, even if it’s inconvenient.
“We love these kids, so we want to be there for them,” she said.
The CDC doesn’t recommend masks for anyone less than two years old because of suffocation risks.
For daycares on the other side of the state line, you can find guidance from Kansas officials here.
The CDC has tutorials for how to properly wear a mask and some no-sew methods.
New to making masks? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the origin of these guidelines. They apply to Jackson County.