The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an immediate impact on a critical backbone of the United States—child care programs. Many programs are grappling with questions surrounding whether they should keep their doors open to families and, if they do, what they should be considering to ensure the health and safety of children and families. Some programs may face a state mandate to temporarily close their doors to the public. Others may contemplate stepping up to supply emergency child care in their community for families whose jobs classify them as essential workers.
Even under typical circumstances, the time child care providers have to focus on indirect care responsibilities is limited. Providers often work on protocol, policy and program updates on weekends or after hours, once children have been picked up by their families. Introduce a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and any sliver of time a child care provider once had to devote to indirect care tasks evaporates.
During this time of great uncertainty, child care providers are reaching out to Child Care Aware® of America for support. In response to their questions and comments, and in recognition of their limited bandwidth for anything but direct care responsibilities, we have created a collection of resources that child care providers may use in this pronounced time of need.
We have designed these resources to help child care programs stand up or bolster an existing infectious disease response plan. We also offer templates providers may adapt to communicate with staff about coronavirus and sample letters for providers to communicate with families about enhanced health and safety measures. In the event a child care program should need to close temporarily due to COVID-19 community spread, we also offer a sample letter for notifying families of the temporary program closure, including a section that highlights expectations surrounding tuition payment during closure.
These resources are intended for use by child care program administrators and providers. Child Care Resource and Referral and Agencies (CCR&Rs), state child care licensing divisions and other state oversight agencies also may share this collection of resources with child care programs they support. These resources complement a Child Care Program Decision Flowchart Child Care Aware® of America recently adapted and published.
To facilitate quick adoption and adaptation of the editable letters/plans, we offer them in a document format (Microsoft Word) that has limited formatting and without branding. Simply replace the highlighted text and adapt the language to suit your needs and go.
Topics in the collection include:
- Considerations for Child Care Providers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak (PDF download)
- Preparing Child Care Programs for a Viral Outbreak (PDF download)
- Considerations for a Child Care Program Infectious Disease Response Plan (Word Doc download)
- Sample Communication to Child Care Program Staff about COVID-19 (Word Doc download)
- Sample Letter Notifying Families Regarding Health & Safety Policy Changes in a Child Care Program (Word Doc download)
- Sample Letter Notifying Families of Child Care Closure Due to COVID-19 (Word Doc download)
Do you have a suggestion for other resources that child care providers need? If so, please leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.