School is virtual, parents are working from home unless they are essential, and the youngest children are running around being not exactly conducive to a learning environment. All these things lead to one big question: are daycares, nannies, or baby sitters safe options?
The short answer is, unfortunately, no. The long answer is, it depends.
Even though things are opening back up, and you might feel like any lingering risk is gone because it has been several months since this pandemic has begun but, any time your child is outside of your home they run the risk of contracting the virus. While children haven’t been shown to be impacted as much as other age groups by COVID-19 they are potentially the largest vector for spreading the disease to others. Keeping children under the age of four 6-feet apart with masks properly on is an almost impossible task, also keeping them from touching surfaces they don’t need to, and from touching others for 8 hours+ a day makes that task herculean.
Your children are exposed to you, and to anyone at the grocery store, office, doctor’s offices, and anywhere else you might have to visit on any given day. Taking them to daycare doesn’t just expose your children to other children, it exposes them to those children’s parents, grandparents, siblings, and anywhere they might have visited. In addition to that, the teachers and staff present another source of potential COVID-19 exposure. Cleaning procedures and social distancing will help if a child or staff member comes in as an asymptomatic carrier or if they are sick but just don’t feel sick yet but, it doesn’t entirely mitigate the risk.
Still there are some situations where the risk is necessary, if you are an essential worker who has no other option, at-home daycare in the form of a nanny, babysitter, or adult-aged child is the best choice followed by a vetted daycare that is observing all CDC guidelines and does not have any recorded exposures.
The most we can do is try to mitigate the risk, and do our best. Changing clothes when your child gets home, washing hands and ideally having them take a shower or bath can help limit some of the post-exposure risk that may occur.
We know that this is a tough time, and stress levels are high at home. Working from home with your children, may, on some days, feel impossible. We also know that for some families, especially ones where one or both parents work, there aren’t any real options. Limiting those who are at daycare or preschool will help those who have to go safer by lowering the number of contacts, helping to keep our communities and families safe.
If you have questions or concerns about daycare and your child please feel free to contact us at 540.349.3225 and we will do our best to help you.