The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs. Updates to the guidance emphasize the importance of universal masking for everyone ages 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, this guidance provides more information on screening testing and updated guidance for fully vaccinated staff. Early care and education (ECE) programs can promote vaccinations among staff and families, including pregnant women, by providing information about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination, encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, and establishing supportive policies and practices.
The updated version of the guidance outlines strategies for ECE programs to implement to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain safer operations. ECE programs include child care centers, home-based and family child care programs, Head Start programs, and other prekindergarten programs.
Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared with adults during the pandemic, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, get sick, and spread the virus to others. CDC’s science brief on transmission in schools includes scientific evidence about the spread of the virus among children and in school and ECE settings.