Watch CBS News

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

NYC lifts school mask requirement for kids under 5
NYC lifts school mask requirement for kids under 5 02:12

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

On Monday, outside the Pre-K Center at Midtown West, children were beaming. Their parents were relieved, too, because it seems like pandemic life is close to ending.

"We are going back to normal," parent Galit Grau told CBS2's Christina Fan.

Starting Monday, 2-4-year-olds were permitted to remove their face coverings at city day cares and pre-schools.

Health officials say COVID cases declined 26 percent in the past two weeks, giving them the confidence the city has passed the peak.

For many of the city's youngest schoolkids, masking is all they've ever known.

"I think there are many many parents who can speak about speech delays in their children, who will speak about reduced social skills, who will speak about physical harms," Washington Heights parent Daniela Jampel said.

There's even more promising news for parents. The Food and Drug Administration recently announced Pfizer and Moderna's COVID vaccines are safe and effective for children under 5 years old.

"We've been waiting for it and we are excited for it to happen. My wife and I are both double vaccinated and boosted and I never tested positive once. She never tested positive once, so I've a big believer in it, 100 percent," parent Brad Smith said.

If approved by regulators, small kids can get the shot as early as next week. But until their children are fully protected, some parents said they will be treading lightly.

"Kids are the ones mostly carrying the germs, so wearing a mask, I'm all for it," said Lisa McClary-Gobin of Harlem.

"My daughter had COVID before. I had COVID. It does not feel good," Jenasia Gamble of Harlem added.

There are still a few city mask mandates in place, including on subways and on Broadway, but Mayor Eric Adams is still recommending everyone keep their face coverings on in all indoor public spaces.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.