Pandemic preschool: How to navigate sending your child into an unfamiliar building with masked strangers

Grace Hauck, USA Today

Masked strangers. Temperature checks. Unfamiliar kids playing 6 feet away.

Many child care centers and preschools that survived COVID-19 shutdowns are reopening their doors this fall. But the first day of class looks a little different this year, leaving some kids and guardians feeling anxious.

Minors account for about 8% of all coronavirus cases in the U.S., and most have mild symptoms and fully recover within one to two weeks – quicker than most adults. But a small percentage of children have been reported to have more severe illness, and researchers are still learning more about the role children play in asymptomatic spread of the disease.

To keep kids, families and staff safe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that child care programs implement an array of new safety measures amid the pandemic, such as reducing class sizes, intensifying cleaning protocols, taking children’s temperatures each morning, requiring kids and staff to wear face masks, staggering drop-off and pickup times, spreading nap mats out 6 feet apart, ending family-style mealtimes and more. Many states and counties have additional guidance.