More than 200 early childhood specialists urge the Legault government to act by quickly providing masks with transparent windows to childcare workers.
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In an open letter, sent Monday to Prime Minister François Legault, to the Minister of Families, Mathieu Lacombe, as well as to the national director of public health, Dr Horacio Arruda, psychologists, neuropsychologists, speech therapists, directors of early childhood centers and researchers, are sounding the alarm.
” It’s an emergency. The pandemic has been here for a year now and young children are probably the biggest losers. It’s serious, we are talking about development, which must constantly be growing and this is not the case at present, ”laments the instigator of the letter, Sophy Forget-Bélec, educator and president of the Association québécoise des milieus private educational families.
“With each passing day, the list to see a speech therapist grows. And, it is already long, ”she adds.
“Already, daycare educators report observing differences with previous years with regard to the evolution and development of the child”, we can read, while language delays have already been reported by several educators , we say.
The wearing of a mask by daycare educators has harmful consequences on the development and learning of young children, report specialists.
The fact that children are deprived of lip reading and facial expression in particular, will have “disastrous” impacts, particularly among children from 18 months to 5 years old.
The newspaper had also looked into the question last November, when pediatricians opposed the wearing of masks in day care settings, for the same reasons.
Although a Quebec company is now able to manufacture single-use transparent window masks, as required by health authorities, its supply remains difficult, remind the signatories.
In addition, these masks are “too expensive” for daycare owners to buy in sufficient numbers, says Ms. Forget-Bélec.
The group is therefore asking the government to authorize the wearing of a face cover with a transparent window in day care centers as soon as possible.
“Without such authorization, it is inevitable that in the long term the consequences will require even greater costs to alleviate the harmful effects in growing children”, conclude the experts.