In collaboration with Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA), Yale researchers conducted the first-ever large-scale assessment of the risk of working in child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers surveyed child care providers across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, comparing self-reported COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations among workers whose programs stayed open and those whose programs closed.
The findings show that child care programs that remained open throughout the pandemic did not contribute to the spread of the virus to providers. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that exposure to child care was not associated with an elevated risk of spreading COVID-19 from children to adults, provided the child care programs took multiple safety measures — including disinfecting, hand washing, symptom screening, social distancing, mask-wearing, and limiting group size — and were located in communities where the spread of COVID-19 was contained.
This information is promising for early learning professionals, who are adhering to the new guidelines related to health and safety. The strict cleaning, sanitizing, and health mandates have posed challenges to the already busy days of early learning staff, but this new research shows us that programs are seeing success. It is a promising message that the hard work that ECE professionals are doing is paying off, and that continuing to follow the new guidelines will help keep everyone safe.