Children under the age of five are encouraged to wear face masks
Parents were left baffled with the new rules for child centres that were released by the social development minister, Lindiwe Zulu on Friday.
The new rules require children between the ages of two and five to wear masks while taking into account the children’s age and development abilities.
These rules are specific to early childhood development (ECD) and after-school care centres that fall within the regulatory jurisdiction of the department of social development.
However, the new rules go against the guidelines that were released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the 21st August 2020. According to the WHO guidelines children between the ages of five and under should not be required to wear masks.
WHO said this advice is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimum assistance.
To open room for local rules, WHO said there may be local requirements for children aged 5 years and under to wear masks, or specific needs in some settings, such as being physically close to someone who is ill.
The organization has stated that in situations where children are wearing a mask, a parent or other guardian should be there to supervise the use of the mask.
Nelisa Holweni, a parent, shared her uncertainty about the government’s decision.
“I personally do not like the idea of children wearing masks because it is risky, children at that age do not get the full concept of wearing a mask,” she said.
She also said the government should follow the guidelines that are set by the WHO because she they are much safer to those set by our government.
Nombuliso Mbimbi, a teacher said using masks makes communication not flow thoroughly as it makes it difficult for all learners to hear them clearly.
Mbimbi said the masks are uncomfortable as a result children need monitoring if not they remove it.
The new rules also indicated that children aged between 24 months and younger may not be required in wearing masks due to risks.