COVID-19 Response: First Large-Scale Study of Child Care Workforce Risks During Pandemic

In the first-ever large-scale assessment of the risk of working in child care during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at Yale University have found that child care programs that remained open throughout the pandemic did not contribute to the spread of the virus to providers. The study was published today in Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study’s findings apply to child care programs that were diligent in following recommended infection control measures, and which were located in communities where the spread of COVID-19 was contained.

Earlier this year, the Heising-Simons Foundation, among others, supported the Yale University Child Care Center with a $100,000 grant to conduct a study to better understand and evaluate the COVID-19 infection rates in child care centers across the country.

The Yale Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine collaborated with Child Care Aware of America to survey 57,000 child care providers across all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico in May and June, 2020, comparing self-reported COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations among workers whose programs stayed open and those whose programs closed.

“Our study doesn’t fully answer the question of whether to reopen childcare or not – we don’t have data on children’s risk, and local levels of community spread matter a lot,” said Walter Gilliam of the Yale University Child Study Center and the study’s lead author. “But our study does offer solid evidence that, under certain conditions, it’s possible to open child care programs without putting staff in harm’s way.”

We invite you to learn more about the findings here.

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