COVID-19 and the Head Start Community

Vaccinating the Head Start Community

Vaccination is the safest way to protect individuals and the people they live and work with from getting COVID-19. The available COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. It's also an important part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mitigation strategy and moving Head Start Forward to return to safe, comprehensive in-person services, as local conditions allow.

As part of President Biden's Path out of the Pandemic, the Office of Head Start (OHS) published an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) on Nov. 30, 2021, requiring all staff, certain contractors, and volunteers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Jan. 31, 2022. OHS provides guidance to assist grantees with vaccine outreach and support efforts. The guidance in ACF-PI-HS-21-03 and ACF-PI-HS-21-04 will help determine which one-time investments best support staff, children, and families, while adhering to federal, state, and local guidance. OHS also encourages programs to explore examples of Head Start staff and family vaccine outreach and support activities on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC).

While the IFC is the applicable regulation, OHS encourages the Head Start community to review the CDC’s guidance on staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and understand when people are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

OHS Resources to Promote the COVID-19 Vaccine

#SleeveUp4Head Start Social Media Toolkits
Use social media to encourage Head Start staff and families to #SleeveUp4HeadStart and get vaccinated against COVID-19. These toolkits includes images to download and post, plus bonus materials to promote vaccination.

COVID-19 Risk Reduction Strategies: Posters
Download and display these printable posters to remind staff and families about basic COVID-19 prevention strategies. The posters promote vaccination, masks, and simple tips to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Resources for Building Vaccine Confidence

Tips for Talking to Head Start Families and Staff About the COVID-19 Vaccines
The COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. This resource includes strategies for talking with Head Start staff and families about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Changing the COVID Conversation
It has never been more important to understand the perceptions of Americans and modify public health language accordingly. The de Beaumont Foundation created a series of polls and focus groups to identify messaging and language that is most likely to build support for public health measures and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. Find poll results and resources to improve effective COVID-19 communication.

COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative
The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative are leading a massive communications effort to educate the American public and build confidence around the COVID-19 vaccines. Access their toolkits for message guidance, language do’s and don’ts, audience insights, and assets. Use these tips and tools through your own channels to help increase vaccine confidence.

Get Vaccine Answers
Explore FAQs related the COVID-19 vaccine, including around vaccines for pregnant people and children. The answers on this site were developed with and vetted by the CDC, through the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative.

OHS Vaccine-related Webinars

9/13/2021: Introduction to COVID-19 Vaccines
Watch Dr. Sean O'Leary, a pediatric infectious disease expert, explain how COVID-19 vaccines work to keep children, families, and staff safe from getting sick with severe strains of the virus. Now more than ever, it is important to share the science behind vaccination to help Head Start and Early Head Start staff and families.

8/4/2021: Head Start Forward: Health and Safety Considerations
The fourth webinar in Head Start Forward series provides health and safety guidance and support programs can use as they work toward full enrollment and fully in-person comprehensive services. Explore important considerations, including recommended risk reduction strategies, updates on toothbrushing, family style meals, masks, and screening.

3/17/2021: ACF and CDC Early Childhood Vaccine Priority: an OHS Follow-up Conversation
Watch this webinar to find answers to Head Start and Early Head Start grantees’ common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

3/12/2021: ACF and CDC Early Childhood Vaccine Priority Stakeholder Webinar
Watch this webinar for information and outreach resources to help get essential school and child care workers vaccinated. Check out the OHS Follow-up Conversation to find answers to Head Start and Early Head Start grantees’ common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.