As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, we know you have concerns, questions, and fears. Our world is facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainty with the continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and you have our commitment that we stand with you. We will get through this together.
Below, Andrew Roszak, J.D., M.P.A., EMT-P, Executive Director, Institute for Childhood Preparedness, and author of Preschool Preparedness for an Active Shooter, shares responses to common questions about preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Q: If I’m just a little sick, should I stay home?
A: If you’re sick—at all—stay home. And, have your staff do the same.
Q: How can I limit the number of visitors to my program?
A: If possible, limit any contractors at your facility. And, instead of allowing parents to pick up and drop off children in classrooms, consider meeting them at the door. That way, parents are not entering deep into your building.
Q: How can I ensure the health of children in my program, when it spreads so rapidly?
A: Conduct a daily health check of the children.
- For infants and young children, temperature can be taken under the arm.
- For children over age four, temperature can be taken under the tongue.
- If a temperature of over 100.4 F is detected, the individual should be sent home.
Q: How can I reinforce frequent hand washing?
A: Make it fun! Sing along as children wash their hands, such as Happy Birthday. (Remember to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.)
Q: Should child care programs close?
A: If possible, you may take measures to help keep your program open.
- Many child care programs provide services for essential workers (e.g., doctors, paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement, and nurses). If possible, child care programs should stay open to allow these services to continue without interruption.
- Consider reducing your classroom sizes.
- Create designated sick “quarantine” rooms for staff or children who begin to show signs of illness.
- Work with your licensing authority. Many are relaxing licensing rules and allowing for flexibility with ratios.
Q: Should providers be flexible with their operating schedules?
A: Yes. Flexibility, if possible, is crucial right now. School closure recommendations may continue to shift, depending on how the virus progresses. Schools may re-open very soon, and they may need to close again for some time. Be kind to one another, and offer help to those in need. Now is the time to build relationships with neighbors and support local communities—while keeping a safe distance.
We at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness remain committed to providing you with the most up to date and relevant information for early childhood professionals during this crisis. In addition to the Childhood Preparedness online course, you may find updated coronavirus resources at https://www.childhoodpreparedness.org/corona.
Andrew Roszak, J.D., M.P.A., EMT-P, serves as the executive director of the Institute for Childhood Preparedness. He has more than 20 years of experience in emergency preparedness. Roszak served for three years as the Senior Director of Pandemic Preparedness at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, where his full time job was working with the CDC and the 3,100 local health departments in the United States to better prepare communities for pandemics. The Institute for Childhood Preparedness is dedicated to ensuring early childhood professionals have the tools they need to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/childprepared and www.childhoodpreparedness.org.