WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care voted to align their mask policies with K through 12 schools for out-of-school programs.

It was a unanimous decision from the Board to implement masking for all employees and children age five and older in out-of-school programs. Those programs include after school care and daycare.

The requirement begins on September 7th. Children between the ages of two and five are strongly encouraged to wear masks if they can, “safety and appropriately wear, remove, and handle.” The decision came from trends in COVID transmission and wanting consistency for children who attend schools where masks are already required.

“Being able to continue with that the same mandates throughout the school day is great for consistency because the kids they fall into that routine. When they’re in our programs, if we keep up with that routine they’re more likely to have a better experience.” Jack Lever, after school site coordinator at West Springfield Boys and Girls Club

The new mask policy applies to adults regardless of vaccination status. At the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club they say that’s always been the case for their facility. There is no expiration date for when the mask mandate may end.

The policy notes that although only ages 5 and older are required to wear the masks, when it comes to child care transportation, all children ages two and older have to wear face coverings.