As segments of the economy grind to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents who rely on child care services are grappling with critical decisions. Should I continue to rely on daycare or get a babysitter? For those working in essential services, including healthcare, grocery stores, and emergency response, the pandemic has put them under more pressure than ever.
The good news is, despite the widespread closures around the country, some states have allowed daycare facilities to remain open around the U.S. just for children of essential workers, and in some states even for all children, so long as the right protocols are being followed. But for many parents, the question is: How should I navigate child care during the pandemic?
What’s the Right Decision to Make?
Experts say – there are no simple answers. The right decision to make will depend entirely on each family’s situation. For now, most of the research done supports keeping kids home from daycare if possible. But if you can’t keep them home, and many people have no choice, you have to take precautions and encourage your child care provider also to take precautions.
According to Attorneybrianwhite.com, a personal injury law firm in Texas, the failure to properly monitor your child could be a concern for many parents. With your child’s safety a priority and open daycare facilities overwhelmed at a time when their services are needed more than ever, you may find yourself in a dead-end situation. Before deciding on what to do, you’ll want to be sure that your kids are safe when you’re away.
Are Day Cares Even Allowed to Remain Open?
Regulations for child care facilities vary from state to state. And just like everything else related to the COVID-19 pandemic, rules and regulations are evolving rapidly, sometimes even hourly. The most important thing is to have the latest information about child care regulations and providers in your State, while also monitoring the situation around the pandemic.
According to Child Care Aware, an organization that works with child care providers countrywide, you should get as much information as you can about your area to make an informed decision. Some states have provided guidelines on whether child care services can remain open and vary in how they define essential workers. Plenty of facilities have also closed on their own.
What Are the Risks for My Kids?
To the relief of parents, COVID-19 has shown relatively low risk to children. While there are cases of children getting infected worldwide, few develop severe symptoms. Despite these statistics, it’s critical for parents to take all necessary precautions to protect their children. If you’ve opted for child care services because of your job, you should know the risks.
In one recent study by researchers from China and the U.S., an analysis of contacts of infected people in China revealed that children were just as likely to test positive as other age groups, though none of those infected developed severe symptoms. There’s also a lower mortality rate in children. In a nutshell, there are risks involved, but much lower than in adults.
If I Opt for Child Care, How Do I Ensure They’re Safe?
Child care facilities offering services during the COVID-19 pandemic are required to increase cleaning efforts, implement strict social-distancing procedures, alter drop-off and pick up procedures, and make other adjustments to ensure the safety of kids, parents, staff, and the community. These steps help reduce the risk of infection within and outside the facilities.
Parents should also ensure that they’re taking the right precautions at home to ensure kids are safe. You have the right to ask a child care facility about their health and safety standards, how large the playgroup is, the ratio of kids to grown-ups, the training they provide to staff, and the mental health support systems available for the kids and staff. Get the right answers.