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TLC Kids Way Preschool childcare requiring faculty and staff to wear face masks despite mask mandate rollback

When COVID-19 first hit, the child care facility did not have any cases of COVID-19 to date, however they are taking precautions.
Credit: Kami Simmons

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Despite Gov. Greg Abbott rolling back the mask mandate, some local daycares are moving forward with caution. 

TLC Kids Way Preschool was one of the child care facilities which has to choose the option to require its staff to wear some face covering. Children have the opportunity to wear a face covering or not. On the other hand, some parents are demanding that their child wear the mask at all times. 

"The children do not have to wear masks. The staff all have to wear face coverings at all times. Particularly with the kids in the classroom or when they are around the children. But even with just in the hallways, they have to have their mask on. Parents entering do have to have masks," Kathy Huffman, TLC Kids Way Preschool director, said. 

When COVID-19 first hit, the child care facility did not have any cases of COVID-19 to date.

Huffman said some parents insist on their child wearing a mask throughout the entire day. Huffman's staff makes continuing to make sure parents who request for their child to wear a face-covering are being watched and reminded throughout the day to do so. 

"They make sure they keep them on. If they see it down or off, then they require for them to put them back on," Huffman said. 

Huffman said not having children wear the mask helps with the learning process so children can grow their social and educational skills. 

"The masks have been tough because of this age group. Teaching them speech and teaching them to read is very, very important," Huffman said. 

TLC Kids Way Preschool also said they are on their way to getting back to the total capacity. 

Huffman said while face coverings are required, faculty and staff are not required to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 shot.

"As of right now, it is not mandatory. It is strictly up to the staff and the individual. I don't know what future dates hold for us," Huffman said. 

The Abilene Independent School District early childhood programs said childcare facilities they partner with, like the Day Nursery of Abilene, make their decisions regarding masking and COVID-19 shot procedures. 

Gregory Fleming with the AISD said in a written statement, "The AISD has not changed its masking requirements for students or teachers, despite the governor's rollback last month. And because of federal privacy laws, personal health questions (including those about COVID vaccines) can't be asked of them."

TLC daycare is standing by and ready if anything does go down at the school. 

The health department said water foundations are fine to use. However, the TLC Kids Way Preschool water fountains are still off-limits, and every child is provided with an individual cup. There are also hand sanitizer stations in all of the classrooms.

The TLC Kids Way Preschool daycare program is hoping to get back to some sort of normalcy soon.