As many of us prepare to celebrate holidays, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to complicate our routines and plans. The pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many and the upcoming holidays may provide a much needed celebration during a challenging year. However, as we plan for the holidays, it may be helpful to consider how we can make our holiday plans as safe as possible in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of our families, friends and communities.
Unfortunately, the rates of COVID-19 transmission are increasing nearly everywhere, and much of the transmission can be traced back to small gatherings as significant contributors to the rise in cases. In response, many state, local, territorial and tribal officials have released new rules or guidance to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Drawing on guidance from various sources, Child Care Aware® of America has developed a tip sheet to help make decisions on how to make your holidays as healthy as possible. We offer these tips for the holidays recognizing that each individual must consider the rules in your state about gathering size and location; individuals can find information on local rules and guidance from their state and local public health departments.
This document can help individuals plan their holiday celebrations and consider modifications that can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. It covers suggestions for reducing risk during holiday gatherings as well as questions for families and child care providers as they make for post-holiday gathering plans and limiting exposure within child care settings. Open communication focused on shared goals of staying healthy and keeping child care open can inform and enhance decision making around holiday plans. While recent research has shown that child care programs themselves are likely not the cause of spread in cases, they are impacted by the level of community spread. These timely tips can help to reduce levels of transmission.
Location, size and logistics of a holiday gathering can significantly impact the risk for spread of illness. It is also important that individuals in attendance are adhering to best practices for reducing spread both prior to and following the gathering. For example, individuals should be wearing masks in public spaces, washing hands frequently and maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from non-household members before, during and after gathering to reduce spread during the gathering but also after the holidays.
While there currently is no approved COVID-19 vaccine being distributed yet, seasonal flu vaccinations are readily available and can help keep everyone healthy. Child Care Aware® of America has a variety of resources on flu prevention and control as well.
Finally, while the holidays may bring excitement for many, they also may be stressful or particularly isolating, especially as COVID-19 puts a wrench in plans to gather with family and friends. It is important to take care of yourself as much as possible. Child Care Aware® of America has a resource page on emotional wellness that includes some resources to help promote emotional wellness.
Additional resources on keeping healthy during the holidays:
Keep the Holidays Healthy: Tips and Questions for Child Care Providers and Families, Child Care Aware® of America
Winter and Holiday Safety Tips for Child Care Providers, Child Care Aware® of America
- COVID, Flu and You, Child Care Aware® of America
- Resources for Healthy Child Care, Child Care Aware® of America
- Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Thanksgiving During COVID-19: Keep Safety on the Table, American Academy of Pediatrics