COVID-19 and the Head Start Community

Vaccination for Head Start Staff

Vaccination of Head Start staff is essential as we work together to build back out of the COVID-19 pandemic and return to fully in-person services. 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. The purpose of this IFC is to protect the health and safety of Head Start staff, children, and families; to mitigate the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, in Head Start programs; and to help more programs and early childhood centers safely remain open.

About COVID-19 Vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They are very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death from the COVID-19 virus and its current variants, including the Delta variant. The vaccines are free and currently approved for children age 5 and older. The majority of Head Start children are not yet eligible for the vaccine. This means it is critically important that our Head Start teachers and staff be fully vaccinated.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or local health officials. Learn more about the vaccines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Find a COVID-19 vaccination center near you at www.vaccines.gov.

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.

Staff Vaccination Strategies from Program Leaders

Explore video recordings from program leaders sharing how to promote vaccination and support staff to comply with requirements.

Talking to Staff

#SleeveUp4HeadStart Staff Social Media Toolkit
Use social media to encourage staff to #SleeveUp4HeadStart and get vaccinated against COVID-19. This resource includes images to download and post, plus bonus materials to promote vaccination.

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. Most people are planning to be vaccinated. Others may feel nervous about vaccine safety and side effects and want to know more before committing. By taking time to listen to their concerns and answer their questions, you can help staff become confident in receiving the vaccine. This resource includes strategies for talking with Head Start staff and families about the COVID-19 vaccines.

President Biden's Announcement

White House Announcement
On Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden introduced a new requirement for the Head Start program to support the health and safety of American children and families. All Head Start employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19. This step is essential as we work together to build back out of this pandemic and move toward fully in-person services. 

Vaccinating Head Start Staff: A Letter from the Director
Read as Dr. Futrell addresses the new mandate for the Head Start program that includes vaccination against COVID-19 as a requirement for all Head Start employees.

Contact the Office of Head Start (OHS)

Reach out to OHS with your questions about the vaccination requirement.

Contact OHS