Note: This article was originally published in March 2020. It has been updated as of January 2021, to ensure that all the guidance below reflects what we currently know about the coronavirus, and the best practices to stay safe.
At this point, the coronavirus defines the daily ins and outs of your child care practice. Just like at the start of 2020, you’re dealing with many of the same key questions — Like what the pandemic means for you, and how you can protect yourself and the children in your care.
We’ve spent the past year writing, researching and talking about how the coronavirus affects child care. Down below you’ll find the highlights of that work, addressing the most critical issues within child care and the coronavirus.
In this article, you’ll find advice and guidance on:
If you’re still looking for additional answers, you can take a look on our blog for more resources.
All available data suggests that children are less vulnerable to the virus than adults. They appear to contract the virus less easily, spread it less easily, and show milder symptoms when infected. But this does not mean they are immune, or incapable of spreading it to others. You still need to take all precautions possible.
Adults, especially those who are older or immunocompromised, must also take drastic safety precautions in our daily lives. Within child care, this is about protecting your staff, your children, your children’s families and yourself.
In October, I interviewed Dr. Walter Gilliam, the lead author of the world’s first major study of child care and the coronavirus. He and I explored the question of how the coronavirus affects children and adults differently, especially within the context of child care.
To check out some highlight clips, as well as the full video interview, just click right here.
The pandemic has drastically altered how we run child care from day to day, and how our child care settings look. Here are some of the key changes, and what you need to know about them.
It’s nearly impossible for a three-year-old to be good at social distancing. But beyond safety precautions, this pandemic has a great impact on children’s wellbeing, and their understanding of the world. It’s a tough time for everyone, especially children.
Here’s how you can best help children to stay safe and well right now.
In the case that your team members or the children in your care become unwell, and you have reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19, stay calm. Take a deep breath.
The NHS recommends the following steps:
Then, identify all staff, children and parents that may have had been exposed to the suspected case. Close contact is defined as being within 2 meters of the individual for more than five minutes, or by making physical contact. The NHS recommends that these exposed individuals enter two weeks of home isolation, to be certain they are not infected.
Months of studies suggests that wearing face masks has a meaningful impact toward protecting others from the coronavirus. Wearing a standard disposable mask isn’t about protecting yourself, so much as protecting those around you from what you might be exhaling. It’s a group effort.
But what about children?
It’s understandable if the sight of children wearing face masks makes you a little uncomfortable — it’s not something we’re used to. But if the child is over two years old, wearing a mask doesn’t pose any physical or developmental harm.
To explore the developmental science behind it, you can read this interview with Duke University’s Dr. Mike Gaffrey, who explains why both staff and children in child care can wear masks to stay safe.
The way we work as a team, support our children and keep in touch with families is a lot different these days. Most of it happens digitally, and you’ve probably already found your new rhythm over the course of the year.
But in case you’re looking to refresh your strategy, or just looking for new inspiration, here are some of our best resources for making sure everyone is keeping safe, staying well and managing the stress.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.