Head Start and Early Head Start programs should take steps to reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 spreads through the air. An infected person can spread the virus even if they do not feel sick or are not coughing or sneezing.
Infectious Disease Risk Reduction Strategies
These strategies help reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19:
- Stay up to date on immunizations for infants, children, and adults, including COVID-19 vaccines
- Stay home when you're sick
- Conduct daily health checks
- Increase the flow of fresh air
- Wash your hands
- Cover your mouth when coughing
- Clean, sanitize, and disinfect
Using multiple strategies at the same time helps reduce the risk of illness among children, families, and staff.
COVID-19-specific Risk Reduction Strategies
These strategies provide additional protection to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19:
- Wear a mask. Refer to Face Masks in Head Start Programs for more information.
- Make improvements to facility ventilation systems. Refer to Tips for Working with a Ventilation Consultant.
- Follow recommendations for what to do if you were exposed to COVID-19.
- If you test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, follow recommendations for isolation.
These additional strategies help reduce illness from COVID-19, especially for people who are at high risk for severe disease.
Risk Reduction Strategies and COVID-19 Levels in Your Community
It is important for programs to understand the level of COVID-19 in their community because more risk-reduction strategies will be needed when levels become higher. Review data about the prevalence of COVID-19 in your community from sources such as your state, territorial, tribal, or local public health agencies or the CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels website. Communicate with your local public health agencies for strategies and guidance.
Search the Caring for Our Children (CFOC) Online Standards Database to find the CFOC standards, including a series of COVID-19 modifications.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Last Updated: September 23, 2022