Researchers looked at responses from 57,335 daycare providers, including those that continued to provide child care and those that did not, during the first three months of the pandemic and found that there were “no differences in COVID-19 outcomes,” indicating that there was a low risk of children spreading the disease to adults.
“The amount of contact they had with child care was completely unrelated to whether or not they got sick with COVID-19 or were hospitalized with COVID-19,” Walter Gilliam, a professor at the Yale Child Care Center and lead author of the study, said on North Country Public Radio.
Gilliam said that on-site safety measures were taken, such as frequent hand washing, disinfecting surfaces, and screening for illness. Mask-wearing wasn’t a significant preventative measure as many providers and even more children didn’t wear them, but it didn’t mean that masks were not effective, said Gilliam.
“And if the COVID transmission rates are too high, it doesn’t really matter necessarily that the child care program isn’t spreading COVID-19,” Gilliam said. “The child care providers will get sick in the community.”
According to a June survey (pdf) by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “on average, enrollment is down by 67%” and “approximately two out of every five respondents—and half of those who are minority-owned businesses—are certain that they will close permanently without additional public assistance.”