Is It Safe to Send Your Child Back to Daycare During COVID-19?

Daycares are reopening in states across the country and likely near you. But are they safe as COVID-19 cases still exist? Here’s what you need to know about the safety measures daycares are taking to protect your children.

Some daycares in the U.S. stayed open for the children of essential workers during the entire pandemic, others couldn’t survive the financial burden of closing for so long, and now—months after the coronavirus crisis began—the remainder of child care centers are opening their doors to families again. But how safe are they, and should you send your kids?

There’s no right or wrong answer, as every family is in a completely unique situation. But if you’re on the fence and able to keep your kids at home a little longer, it might not hurt to do so.

“For the otherwise healthy child in a family who can ‘afford’ to keep the child home, staying home for the first month or two while the country is starting to open back up can lessen the child’s exposure to the regular daycare germs that circulate, in addition to the potential uptick in COVID-19 infections,” says Jill Garripoli Pedalino, D.O., pediatrician and owner of Healthy Kids Pediatrics in Nutley, New Jersey.

“Parents should especially consider holding off on sending their kids back to daycare if logistically possible if the child has an underlying medical condition or a previously diagnosed weakened immune system,” recommends Dr. Jill, as her patients lovingly refer to her.

Not every family has the option to stay home, though. Some parents will soon have to return to work in person, some need support after weeks of trying to make ends meet, and for others, the workload is just too much to have a child at home. Other parents are simply ready for their kids to get back into their normal routines and socialize again, and that’s OK too. At the end of the day, every parent needs to decide what’s best for their family.

Working with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and state health officials, you can rest assured that daycare owners are taking every precaution to protect your little ones from COVID-19. But it’s not going to look like it did pre-pandemic, so here are a few big things you can likely expect from your child care center depending on where you live.

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