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9 Critical Questions About Safety to Ask Your Child Care Provider

Mom and children checking tempatures

This page reflects COVID-19 pandemic protocols, and is not up to date. Please visit our Health and Safety page for current information.

When COVID-19 stopped life as we knew it in March, it was hard to predict we’d still be struggling to reopen states at the end of 2020. With cases rising as winter deepens, you likely have questions about what to consider when choosing child care in a pandemic. We’ve got answers that can make a tough decision much easier!

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Q: Why are child care centers open—aren’t they at increased risk for COVID-19?
A: You’d think that little kids (who seem to always have their hands in their runny noses!) would be the most at-risk population right now. But if we look to the data, you can feel better about the decision to enroll in a program.  
So far, studies have found that once they’re exposed, children under 10 years old are about half as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as older children and adults. And, if by chance they do get infected, they’re less likely to develop severe (or fatal) symptoms. 
Q: Should I send my child to a daycare center or school—especially with cases rising?  
A: There are inherent risks to the everyday decisions we make during this pandemic: going to the store, visiting a friend, scheduling a play date. Plus, every family has different needs, tolerance for risk, and “house rules.”  
We believe it’s our job to not only meet, but to exceed the guidance for our industry. And we know that with the proper precautions in place it’s possible to provide safe spaces for kids during the pandemic. 
Q: Seems like it’d be tricky to keep kids safe at mealtimes—how do you handle that?  

A: We’ve paused our family-style meals to stay safer, but kids still love participating mealtimes and snacks with their friends. They sit with their class with proper spacing and enjoy their food without sharing. If a child doesn’t bring their own utensils, we have reusables for them to borrow. They’re safer than plastic because they don't break or pose a choking hazard, and we make sure they’re squeaky clean before and after each use. 

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Q: I keep hearing about “pods” and “cohorts”—what are they and why are they important? 

A: Keeping children within small, stable groups of peers and teachers (sometimes called “pods” or “cohorts”) is a simple and effective way to limit risk of infection and spread. Here’s how it works at KinderCare: 

  • Students spend their days with a small stable set of peers and teachers. 
  • Each group does not mingle with other groups in the center—even when outside. 
  • If a child or teacher in one group gets sick, we close that group until everyone is well. 
Q: How can I trust what’s happening at the center if I can’t go into the classroom?  

A: Typically, you’d be able to see our cheerful, dynamic, nurturing classrooms for yourself. These days, our indoor spaces are reserved for children and staff only. You’ll never feel in the dark about your child’s day because we use the KinderCare App to stay in touch! Learn all the ways our mobile app keeps you connected to your child.

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Q: My child’s having a tough time coping. How is KinderCare going to help them feel better? 
A: Kids are social creatures—and they’re creatures of habit! They miss their friends, and they crave routine. We understand how long stretches of isolation can stir up loneliness, frustration, impatience, and other big feelings. We’re here to offer the dedicated space and support for kids to process it all.  
Q: How do I know my whole family will be accepted at KinderCare?  
A: Physical health is only part of the way we address safety in our centers. Emotional security, and the underlying belief that everyone deserves to be treated equitably, is just as important to us.  
It’s a difficult time for so many people in this country, and in our KinderCare community. We stand for diversity, equity, and inclusion as we care for and educate our next generation. Our positive, inclusive, and unbiased classroom culture is founded on our belief that everyone belongs in our circle.  
We even have teams dedicated to this issue specifically. Our expert education team has built anti-bias curriculum and training for our teachers, our inclusion services team is an invaluable resource for parents and staff, and our DEI committee is comprised of leaders in our organization who help direct the future of our company in this space.  

In the classroom, we utilize materials that reflect different backgrounds, talk about similarities and differences with little ones and hold class meetings, bonding activities, and mindfulness practice with older kids.  

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Q: What happens if someone at school is exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive? 

A: Did you know that not all child care centers are required to close when a possible COVID-19 exposure is identified? We don’t take any chances. If our center has a virus exposure, we close for a couple of days to give us time to connect with the Health Department, clean the center, and confirm it’s safe for everyone to return. Learn more about our industry-leading health and safety practices that keep our centers safer. 
Q: Does the building have high-quality air filters and industrial-grade cleaning supplies? 
A: The air purification systems at KinderCare centers use MERV 13 filters (which is technical talk for: filters that capture particles in the air), and our cleaning products are hospital-grade, made by EcoLab. We clean all high-touch surfaces regularly and send home all personal items each day for laundering. 

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At KinderCare, we can confidently answer these questions (and more) because we’re the nation’s largest, most accredited child care provider, and the industry-leader in health and safety. If you’re looking elsewhere for care, make sure to use this health and safety checklist to make sure your provider ticks all the important boxes! 

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