Sen. Rob Sampson Statement to the Office of Early Childhood

March 14, 2022

Senator Rob Sampson (R-16) issued the following statement earlier today:

I repeat my request for Commissioner Bye of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to revise guidance issued to childcare providers regarding requirements for masks.  While the mask mandate in childcare settings for children and caregivers was lifted effective February 28, 2022, the OEC is still including mask wearing as a recommendation causing confusion and uncertainty among parents and providers.  Since the mandate has been lifted, so should the guidance suggesting it. Revised guidance should recognize the adverse impacts long-term masking has had on Connecticut children. Data and recommendations from reputable doctors and universities continues to emerge regarding the prevalence of developmental challenges and regressions in young children who have been mandated to wear masks at the expense of proper speech development and social emotional connections, as well as various other physical, mental and developmental attributes. The guidance should recommended resources, strategies and techniques to immediately begin to remedy developmental regressions and impairments which have resulted from masking toddlers and their caregivers for 18 months, often at 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week.


Instead of responding to the previous appeal from myself and four Connecticut state representatives sent on February 17th, Commissioner Bye recommended on February 28th continued mask wearing by children and childcare providers, contradicting CDC guidance released only three days prior. On February 25th, the CDC released a new COVID-19 Community Levels tool which provides suggested prevention strategies based on the latest COVID data per county.  Universal masking is only a suggested prevention strategy in “red” communities and none of Connecticut is currently red.  The OECs recommendation is problematic because many daycare’s operations are built on following each and every OEC recommendation and therefore young children and caregivers are still wearing masks all day, every day, contradicting current CDC guidance. Throughout the entire pandemic, Commissioner Bye has issued numerous memos citing DPH and CDC as the true source of OEC guidance.  However, in recent months, the CDC has changed course but the OEC Commissioner has not.  Why the change now?


I have also been informed that the OEC Commissioner has failed to acknowledge or respond to concerned parents.  Many constituents have written heartfelt personal testimony to the Commissioner and received nothing in return. I encourage Commissioner Bye to do better.