Last month, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to roll through the nation, two things became abundantly clear: many employees on the frontlines of the fight were also parents. And for these critical workers to be able to care for our families, someone would have to care for theirs.
With the support of early education teachers around the world, Bright Horizons opened hub centers for these essential workers – “to make a difference,” said our CEO Stephen Kramer, “in the way that only Bright Horizons can.”
But unique times would require unique protocols. Which is where Boston Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Kristin Moffitt came in. One of the leading pediatric infectious disease specialists, Dr. Moffitt had already become a go-to for the media and parents looking for information on how COVID-19 was affecting children. As our partner, she began advising us on safety protocols, from limited capacity and small group sizes in our centers, to enhanced teacher-child ratios and intensive hygiene and cleaning practices.
From the get-go, we knew such a partnership would be critical. All parents want to know their children are safe. And healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 aren’t just parents – they’re experts in their space, and we knew they’d be paying close attention. “The number of students was one of my big concerns,” said one parent, a doctor, using a hub center. “If it had been super busy, that would have caused me to rethink.”
Just as those on the medical frontlines continue to reassess how they treat patients, Dr. Moffitt continues to support our centers, ensuring we are evolving our practices as knowledge of the pandemic evolves. The focus on refining and refining some more has not been lost on parents.
“Last week they were checking symptoms,” observed one RN with a child in a DC hub center. “Now they’re taking temps. They keep us posted so we know what to expect. I feel comfortable, I feel safe, I feel like my daughter’s safe, and it makes me feel very good to have that kind of structure in that center, especially with the whole COVID situation.”
“I think it’s really important for families using daycare,” Dr. Moffitt told WCVB in Boston, “to have conversations with them about what those daycare centers are enacting in terms of enhanced protocols around hand hygiene.”
Thanks to Dr. Moffit, we already are.
For other Boston Children’s COVID-19 resources visit bostonchildrens.org/coronavirus