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Preschool teachers react to mask mandate for toddlers, young children

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Posted at 7:27 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 19:28:14-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Following the CDC's recommendation, Governor Andy Beshear has mandated indoor masking for all individuals age 2 and older in schools across the state.

Wednesday was the first day of the new mask requirement for many.

Megaminds Educare preschool teacher Makenzie Newcomb said she had to be on "mask patrol" for the three and four-year-olds in her class.

"I've lost count," Newcomb said when asked how many reminders she has had to give kids. "But they're doing pretty good for it to be the first day."

She said some kids were actually excited to wear masks, and she believes those having trouble with keeping them on will adapt quickly.

"It's something new for them so it's gonna take some time but I believe they'll catch on," she said.

Growing Together teacher Hailey Rocha noticed similar behaviors in her 2-year-old class Wednesday.

"They're actually being really good," she said. "A lot of reminding, alright pull your mask up! And they do. We haven't had any fights. No fits. No, I don't want this. No, I can't breathe. Nothing like that."

However, both teachers said there are still challenges. For example, Rocha said she's struggling with communication.

"Some children at two years old don't have the greatest speech and so I never realized how much I was relying on their lips before they were masked," she said.

Newcomb said on the flip side, it's hard for the kids to take nonverbal cues from their teachers.

"In my personal opinion, I think it's a little young," Newcomb said about requiring the young kids to wear masks. "Just because like I said they're still learning everyday things. But I mean we just have to teach them.

That's the only thing you can do is teach them and move forward."

Overall, both teachers reported that the first day went well.

Beshear's mask mandate is in effect for 30 days, at which time it can be renewed.