BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Erie County Department of Health has provided questions for parents and caregivers to ask child care centers as young children settle into their back-to-school routines.
The questions are to help ask child care centers about their health and safety practices related to COVID-19.
“Most children in child care settings are too young, under 12 years of age, to be eligible for COVID-vaccination,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “This group of children is particularly vulnerable to infection.”
Here are ECDOH questions:
- What are your center’s policy on mask use for staff, children, and others who enter the building?
- How do you screen staff, parents, children, and vendors who enter your center for COVID-19 symptoms?
- Are child care center staff fully vaccinated? Do all staff know how to access COVID-19 testing?
- Do center staff rotate to different rooms during the day or during the week?
- Does the center have a process for having staff return to work, or children return to care, following illness?
As reported by ECDOH for the week ending September 11, the highest positivity rates continue to be in persons under age 19; the 5-10 and 14-17-year-old age groups each had positivity rates of more than 7% for the week ending September 11. The 11-13-year-old age group’s positivity rate was nearly 10%.
This data is provided with the note that these younger age groups tend to have lower overall test report numbers than adult age groups.
The ECDOH office of epidemiology has noted clusters of COVID-19 cases associated with child care centers in late August and early September. This coincides with a nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases for youth and adolescents, both in sheer numbers and as a percentage of overall cases.
ECDOH explained its preK-grade 12 Guidance for Schools to child care center directors in a virtual meeting on September 8 and also shared that guidance with child care centers through the Erie County Department of Social Services and the Child Care Resource Network.