With millions of COVID-19 cases nationwide, child care providers have had to maneuver and innovate in extraordinary ways to address health and safety concerns while still experiencing reduced income or program closures. Imagine the day child care professionals can gather with staff to care for children and support families without the concern of contracting COVID-19. That day is coming, but only if we act now to stop the spread of COVID-19 so we may keep ourselves, our families, our communities and our country safe.
COVID-19 has sent many of us on a winding road of change and unprecedented challenges. As we now have three vaccines for the virus and the number of cases is starting to go down, many communities are starting to open up and return to a more “Pre-COVID-19” life. For many families, this means children returning to child care after having been away from the setting for a year or even longer.
The temperature is rising, and spring is in the air! As we edge slowly out of winter and increasingly spend more time outside our homes, we cannot dismiss the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to hang on. We are more than a year into this pandemic, and our second Spring Break season since the pandemic started is upon us. In 2021, Spring Break feels different than in 2020, when COVID-19 community restrictions first started and fear began to rise. Now, COVID-19 infection rates are going down in many communities and vaccines are becoming available and being distributed, which gives us hope. We seem to be turning the pandemic corner and starting to win the battle against COVID-19. However, we still need to do our best to reduce the risk of increasing the spread.
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Ensuring children’s health and safety in child care is the top concern for any child care program, and child care emergency preparedness is vital to meeting this need. One way providers can strengthen safety practices in a child care program is to have a written emergency plan.
Child care providers run an evacuation drill with infants in 2019.
Families put a lot of trust in child care providers every day. Part of that trust is knowing that children will be safe and cared for in any situation, including during and after an emergency. Child care providers who plan ahead are better-prepared and will know what to do to respond to an emergency and keep the children in their care safe. By planning and preparing in advance, they are also able to recover faster after an emergency.