Bright Horizons FAQs: Vaccinations & Health & Safety
Updated as of August 25, 2021
Bright Horizons Child Care Centers:
How is Bright Horizons keeping COVID-19 out of its centers?
Protecting the health and safety of our center communities will always be Bright Horizons’ highest priority. Bright Horizons serves one of the most vulnerable populations: children under the age of 12 who are not currently eligible for vaccination. Bright Horizons has always operated its child care centers with stringent health and hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and illness exclusion policies because regular health and hygiene practices provide some of the best defenses against the spread of contagious illnesses. In response to the increased challenges of COVID-19, Bright Horizons implements additional, layered prevention strategies designed to protect our children, families and staff and keep our centers open safely to provide consistent care. These additional layers incorporate enhanced health and hygiene protocols such as daily screening of staff, children and their respective households for COVID-19 symptoms and exposures, strict exclusion policies for any household that cannot pass the daily health screen, cohorting to maintain consistent groupings of children and staff, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas. Bright Horizons staff (regardless of vaccination status) are required to wear surgical masks providing another critical layer of protection for both our staff and the children in their care. In addition, Bright Horizons is implementing a weekly COVID-19 testing protocol for all unvaccinated staff, while continuing its campaign to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. In our childcare setting, where some measures cannot be used (e.g. strict social distancing) using these layered prevention strategies is the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19. This approach is informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Association of Pediatrics, state and local authorities, current scientific evidence and the lessons we have learned implementing COVID-19 prevention strategies.
Does Bright Horizons have a testing program for staff members?
As an added safeguard and as part of our comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and control program, Bright Horizons is launching its newest protocol requiring all staff members who are not fully vaccinated to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Our testing protocol is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance for non-healthcare workplaces. The purpose of this testing program is to test all asymptomatic staff who have no known or suspected exposure to identify staff infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, so they can be promptly excluded. All staff are required to participate in this weekly testing protocol unless they have provided proof of vaccination. Any staff testing positive are excluded immediately in accordance with Bright Horizons’ exclusion protocols.
Is Bright Horizons mandating its staff members be vaccinated?
Bright Horizons is strongly encouraging all staff members who are safely able to receive the vaccine to do so. Bright Horizons has the “My Shot to Fight COVID” campaign, which includes a $100 gift card for fully vaccinated staff members and provides a variety of educational materials and resources to inform staff members about the vaccine’s safety and where to get it. Bright Horizons is not mandating vaccinations at this time. Consistent with the majority of employers and many government agencies, Bright Horizons continues to encourage vaccinations and will require those who are not or cannot be vaccinated to participate in our weekly COVID-19 testing program. Masking protocols and other enhanced protocols continue to apply to all staff, whether they are vaccinated or not. For a more complete discussion of those enhanced protocols please refer to “How is Bright Horizons keeping COVID-19 out of its centers?” above.
What is Bright Horizons Mask Policy?
Masks are a key strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Bright Horizons continues to require all staff, as well as any other adult at a center, to be masked. Bright Horizons also requires children in school age programs to be masked and strongly recommends that children 2 and over wear a mask. Our staff members are able to assist children with learning how to wear masks safely and consistently while in our centers.
What additional prevention strategies does Bright Horizons have in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19?
Since the start of the pandemic, Bright Horizons operated continuously at some 250 centers supporting first responders and medical providers in the most demanding situations. Throughout that time and as operations have since re-opened, Bright Horizons has been developing and implementing industry-leading COVID policies and enhanced protocols based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and state and local authorities, and with assistance from a pediatric infectious disease specialist from Boston Children’s Hospital. Bright Horizons continues to implement those policies and enhanced protocols including daily health checks, strict exclusion policies and frequent cleaning and disinfection. Bright Horizons’ current COVID-19 policies can be reviewed HERE.
Bright Horizons Back-up Care Network:
How is Bright Horizons coordinating COVID-19 health and safety concerns with its in-home providers?
The policies for exclusion due to exposure or illness set forth in Bright Horizons’ In-Home Provider COVID-19 Policy and In-Home Provider Health Check and Illness Policy- COVID-19 apply to all in-home caregivers, care recipients and their respective households. In addition, Bright Horizons requires all in-home caregivers and families to comply with the In-Home Care Mask/Face Covering Policy-COVID-19 which requires all adults and all children over 5 to wear a mask during a care session. These policies are available HERE. As a best practice, in-home providers are requested to make an introductory call to the family prior to the date of care to provide an opportunity for both to confirm their understanding of and ability to comply with the health and safety requirements, including the household health check and masking.
How is Bright Horizons coordinating COVID-19 health and safety concerns with its extended network centers?
Bright Horizons requires all center/group care providers in the Bright Horizons network to maintain a COVID-19 exclusion policy and a daily health check policy, which must be based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and be consistent with any applicable regulations. In addition, Bright Horizons regularly shares our guidance and policies as best practices for the centers in our network.
Can I request a vaccinated caregiver?
Unfortunately we cannot enable or fulfill requests for a vaccinated caregiver at this time. It is critical to understand, however, that we have never relied on vaccination status to create or adjust our health and safety protocols. We continue to operate under the same health and safety protocols we operated under when vaccines and testing were not available at all. Recent events including the arrival of the Delta variant, a variant which is highly transmissible even by vaccinated individuals, have demonstrated that Bright Horizons made the right decision to rely on those protocols and policies developed based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and state and local authorities, and with the assistance of our health expert, a pediatric infectious disease specialist from Boston Children’s Hospital that have served so well since the inception of the pandemic. Those policies are available for your review HERE and HERE.