The news coming out of early education has been discouraging and disheartening of late, with so many of our colleagues having to close their centers and home based-care programs and not knowing whether they will be able to reopen again, ever.
Last week I saw an encouraging study from the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University. The research found that child care is not associated with the spread of the coronavirus*. This is a bright spot for us since we know that early educators have been called upon during this unprecedented time to fill a critical need in order to help parents return to work.
According to the study, which surveyed 57,000 child care providers across all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, children in child care centers present virtually no risk of transmitting COVID-19 to adults. Furthermore, survey responses in the study indicated that most child care centers have observed new guidelines like mask wearing, hand washing and contact tracing.
Zigler, whom the center at Yale is named for, is known as the father of the CDA and one of the original architects of the Head Start program. He recognized that early educators are critical to support the learning and development of young children. His legacy will forever shine a light on the need to support and educate children.
As the Council just celebrated the 45th anniversary of the CDA, I am reminded of my own experience as an educator in an early child care center and how that experience shaped me; it helped me on the journey to become the person I am today. I am hopeful, with this data and other studies like it, that so many other children will again be able to experience learning together in a nurturing and safe environment.
*The study found that child care did not heighten the risk of COVID-19 infection in areas with low COVID-19 spread and in programs which took safety measures such as mask wearing, hand washing, symptom screening, social distancing, and limiting group sizes.