Are Child Care Centers Open

When the pandemic first hit, the U.S. had to scramble to make changes in a short amount of time — this included child care centers nationwide. Many parents and children experienced lockdowns, shuttered workplaces, and closed child care centers. However, essential and frontline workers still had jobs to do. Their children needed care, and some child care centers answered the call — Bright Horizons kept centers open and joined the First Responders First project to provide no-cost child care to healthcare workers.


Now, as offices reopen and more parents head back to work, they’re looking for reliable child care and wondering, “Are child care centers open?” And, “Can they keep my child safe?” The answer to both questions is yes — and not only are they keeping children safe, but they’re also helping children thrive.

Children playing in Early Learning Center

Are Child Care Centers Open? What Are Their Health & Safety Policies? 

Whether you’re going back to work after maternity leave or you’re heading back to the office after working from home with your child, you likely want to know, “How are child care centers open right now handling everything?” 

You’ll find policy nuances from center to center, but most follow the CDC’s guidelines, and all have to comply with state and local regulations. At Bright Horizons, you’ll find health and safety policies that set the standard for the industry.

Not only are daycare centers open, but they’re also doing everything they can to help stop the spread and keep children, families, and staff healthy and safe.

COVID Testing Policies

As you search for a child care provider, find out how your potential centers handle illnesses — what are their policies for COVID-19 testing and quarantining? If anyone, child, staff, or family member, is demonstrating symptoms, do they need to submit a negative COVID test and be symptom-free before they can return? If they test positive, do they have to stay out of the center for 10 days? 

Health Screenings 

Ask about daily health checks — is a screening done at the door? Do parents complete a questionnaire about symptoms before drop-off? High-quality daycare centers put the safety of their children, families, and staff first. 

Virtual Tours & Communication

Many centers are trying to minimize the number of ‘outside’ people in the building — so virtual tours, visitors, and special guests have become very common. Ask who’s allowed inside each center you’re considering. 

Disinfecting & Sanitizing 

This is something that’s always been important — now, it matters even more. Ask how frequently the tables, play spaces (indoor and outdoor), nap mats, and more are sanitized and disinfected. What do they use to sanitize and disinfect? How do they ensure the toys are free of chemicals before they’re returned to toddlers and babies?

Is It Safe to Send Your Child to Daycare?

This might be the meat of the question for some parents. It’s not a matter of “are daycares open?,” it’s a matter of if they’re open and a safe choice for your little one. In truth, it’s the most reasonable question you could have.

However, it comes down to every program and center being different. You’ll need to ensure that the child care center you’re interested in is doing the work to keep your child safe. There are child care centers open that may cut corners or not have your child’s best interests at heart. Be conscious of this possibility so you can stay one step ahead.

 
 

ARE CHILD CARE CENTERS OPEN?

What is a child care provider?

This is anyone that provides care to a child — babysitter, au pair, nanny, daycare, early learning center, or other care programs. Family members can also be child care providers. 

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Children are just as likely to become infected with COVID-19 as adults. However, they’re less likely to experience severe symptoms due to the virus. Most children will experience no or only mild symptoms if they get infected with COVID-19. Many are asymptomatic, which means technically, fewer children have been sick with the virus than adults.

Can I take paid sick leave is child care is unavailable?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act aims to help working parents and families during such an unsure time. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act has the potential to provide you with two weeks of paid leave depending on your circumstances.  You may be able to take both paid sick leave and/or expanded medical and family leave to care for your child if child care is found to be unavailable. 

However, some employers also offer a backup care option that may help you more efficiently. How does back up care work, you may be wondering? It differs by employer, so reach out to your company to see if they’re offering such an employee perk.

 
mother holding child

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Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.