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May 12, 2021

When Cleanliness is Vital: Operating Early Learning Centers During COVID-19

Like so many other child care and early learning facilities, Early Learning Academies (ELA) followed local, state, and Centers for Disease Control guidelines when both closing and reopening their centers. But when Ohio’s Western Case Reserve University recently conducted a child care/COVID-19 transmission study, the findings surprised perhaps everyone but hard-working child center professionals: Centers are remarkably clean, essential to the community, and pose a very low risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Cleaning is a Constant

Specifically, the data showed that Ohio child care programs may have had an even greater readiness to handle an outbreak like COVID-19 over other segments of the economy because of existing high standards designed to promote safe, healthy environments. Truth is, care center workers know their days often entail caring and cleaning, teaching and cleaning, feeding and cleaning, playtime and cleaning…there’s a constant focus on safety and cleanliness. So when this fact was applied alongside statewide infection control guidelines and high compliance by child care workers and families, there were lower levels of COVID-19 transmission found within these settings concurrent with the study.

Compliance is Key

Conducted from March through mid-November 2020, the study found that fewer than one percent of all COVID-19 cases in Ohio were among child care workers and children affiliated with child care programs, based on incident reporting from child care programs to ODJFS. Further, during most of that timeframe, Ohio’s COVID-19 positivity rates were below the five percent threshold used to establish low risk of community transmission as set by the World Health Organization.

These trends mirrored a national study that found COVID-19 transmission to child care workers was rare during periods of low community transmission of COVID-19. The reason is attributed to high compliance with COVID-19 mitigation protocols by both workers and families with children attending child care.

Now’s the Time, Here’s the Place

Another consideration for families: For strong school starts (and even stronger finishes), the first five years of childhood learning are critical. Through nurturing, personalized care, the best early learning centers move children toward school readiness—helping to close the achievement gap, strengthen social skills, and boost literacy rates. And while the pandemic put some of this critical learning on hold, now’s the time to get back to school readiness.

It’s never been safer to return to child care: Now’s the time to give your child a strong start—in life and in school—and we can help. Contact us today for more details on our nurturing programs, experienced staff, and clean, healthy surroundings!