Page last updated: April 3, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is committed to providing news and the latest information to help child care providers and Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies as we closely monitor the situation around the coronavirus(COVID-19) outbreak.
We are also interested in learning how coronavirus has impacted your community. Your comments are being used to inform CCAoA and policymakers.
Don't miss our other coronavirus hubs:
What is the impact so far of the COVID-19 outbreak on child care throughout the U.S.?
CCAoA has heard from several child care providers around the country who are very concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on the children and families they serve, and on their staff members. They are also concerned that they may need to close and could lose their business. We’ve also heard from parents who don’t know where to turn for backup child care if their primary providers are forced to close. One of our members, Child Care Aware® of North Dakota, has tips to help parents create a backup child care plan.
We're currently mapping states' response to the pandemic— whether child care is open only for essential workers, open but with revised regulations, etc. —which you can find on our State by State Map. You can also click on the map on this page to start exploring policy changes in your state.
We anticipate that child care providers will need additional support. While this is a quickly evolving situation, we’re listening closely to the needs of providers and sharing their voices with policymakers as well. Share your story at the bottom of this page to let us know how coronavirus has impacted your business and community.
Finally, CCAoA has created Grab 'n' Go 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.
What business supports are available for child care professionals?
- The U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance Program - The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses to small businesses facing economic injury that it wouldn't have faced had the disaster not occurred. Small businesses and most nonprofits are eligible.
- Learn more about the program in this explainer from the Bipartisan Policy Institute.
- The Administration for Children and Families recently released guidance on Temporarily Repurposing Head Start and Early Head Start Centers- Partnering to Support Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Crisis.
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Medicaid and CHIP Provisions Explained
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a guide dedicated to Coronavirus Emergency Loans Guide and Checklist for Small Businesses and Nonprofits which addresses common questions such as how much you can borrow, what lenders are looking for and eligibility.
- The U.S. Treasury posted this Paycheck Protection Act fact sheet and their website will continue to post new guidance as the agency develops it.
What should child care providers do to respond to the impacts caused by the pandemic?
Most child care providers are very familiar with the steps needed to prevent the spread of infection and are increasing their vigilance because of the Coronavirus. For example, providers already know the importance of children and program staff washing their hands properly and often. They also make sure children and adults are using proper coughing and sneezing techniques. Routine cleaning and disinfecting are also second nature to providers and done regularly so they are most likely already a step ahead of other businesses and workplaces.
In addition, preparedness and planning are important. Our emergency preparedness program helps providers prepare for and respond when the unexpected happens.
CCAoA suggests that local providers reach out to their local or state Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency to open communication and collaborate on how to respond to COVID-19. Because of the work that CCR&Rs do and the important role they play in the child care field, CCR&Rs are uniquely positioned to promote child and community health.
CCAoA also advocates for workers to have access to paid sick days to care for themselves or for sick loved ones. We know that one of the best ways to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases is to ensure that sick individuals can stay home. Without job-protected paid sick days, this is an untenable choice for too many people – families and child care providers alike – who cannot risk losing wages or being fired even if they are sick.
- The CDC's Updated Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open - This page outlines what to do to prevent and monitor for signs of an outbreak.
- The CDC's Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission. This guide describes possible mitigation strategies for communities dealing with transmission at three different levels: (1) None/Minimal, (2) Moderate, or (3) Substantial. These strategies help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in communities.
Should child care programs in your area stay open?
Check out our decision tree in this blog post: Answer the questions in the chart to determine whether your program should stay open in the midst of the pandemic. You can also download the chart as a PDF if you'd like to save or print it. The Vermont Department of Health has also developed guidance child care programs should consider when deciding if they should close (PDF download).
The CDC recently released updated Guidelines for Child Care Programs that Remain Open. It should be used in conjunction with CDC’s guidance for administrators of child care programs and K-12 schools and does not supersede state and local laws and policies for child care programs.
- When to Keep Your Child Home from Child Care - from the American Academy of Pediatrics, this page summarizes the AAP's formal recommendations around when it's ok to bring your child to child care and what conditions prevent them from attending.
- The New York Times - has this article about the rules around playdates during school closures and pandemic concerns.
What should Family Child Care providers know at this time?
How can CCR&R agencies help before or during an outbreak?We urge CCR&Rs to share resources to the families, providers and businesses in their communities. One great example is California Child Care Resource and Referral Network's recent e-mail blast that listed agencies to follow, FAQs and resources.
What is Congress doing in response to COVID-19 to protect the child care community?
What does Child Care Aware® of America recommend the government do to support child care?
CCAoA joined coalition partners on a letter urging Congress (PDF download) to provide significant and dedicated funding for child care programs during this public health crisis.
- CCAoA and partner organizations have asked the Office of Child Care (PDF download) to provide guidance to states about the flexibility they can offer under current law.
- CCAoA and partner organizations urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (PDF download) to use its administrative authority to ensure access to meals during this national emergency.
How can child care professionals support families during the coronavirus outbreak?
The best way that child care professionals can provide support to families is by continuing to share related resources that will help them talk with their children and cope during this stressful time. We've compiled some resources that you can share with the families you serve below:
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress has created two helpful documents, Discussing Coronavirus with Children (PDF Download) and Finding the Right Words (PDF Download)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has established a new web page on AAP.org where you can find the latest clinical guidance, recommendations from CDC, information for parents and other resources. This page is updated daily
What information is out there around food and nutrition services for children and families?
- The National CACFP Association has a Coronavirus Update and Resource page related to the virus and the Food and Nutrition Services Department.
- The FRAC Advocate’s Guide to the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) (PDF Download) - This guide explains how nutrition programs can be used during a crisis like the Coronavirus pandemic. It includes information on SNAP, commodity distribution, CACFP, school meals and WIC.
What else do I need to know about the novel coronavirus?
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - The CDC is the home of the most up-to-date information about what is going on with coronavirus in the U.S.
The American Academy of Pediatrics - The AAP has a series of resources that can help you protect your health and your business in situations where lots of children or adults are getting sick.
The World Health Organization's Myths about COVID-19 - Covers common myths, such as whether or not the virus can spread in a hot climate (it can).
- Check out these easy-to-read infographics about the disease, flattening the curve and mentions in the media.