A national study by Yale University of more than 57,000 child care programs (Covid-19 Transmission in U.S. Child Care Programs, Pediatrics) found that providers who continued working in the first three months of the pandemic had no increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in their facilities. This is the first major study of its kind in the nation and shows that child care’s virus “mitigation efforts” kept providers safer.
“This study tells us that as long as there are strong on-site measures to prevent infection providing care for young children doesn’t seem to add to the provider’s risk of getting sick,” said lead researcher, Dr. Walter Gilliam of Yale.
This is a reassuring report for families who depend on child care as well as the child care workforce whose programs are suffering from the pandemic. With more families working from home during the virus many licensed child care programs are often unable to keep their doors open.
Lynnette Fraga of Child Care Aware of America, a partner in the study said, “This study shows that to be open safely, child care providers will need to practice mitigation and prevention strategies which cost money. And, at times, it may not be safe for child care to be open if community transmission rates are high. To stabilize an industry facing additional costs and ongoing, public health-related closures, significant funding is needed.” Results do not pertain to school-age care because groups do not remain consistent throughout the day and move throughout buildings.
Child care facilities in North Carolina were proactive in combating the virus through preventative measures such as symptom-screening at the door, mask-wearing, smaller group sizes, handwashing, frequent sanitizing, no outsider entrance to facilities and social distancing. Information on North Carolina’s child care response to COVID-19 may be found here.