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COVID-19 in Child Care and Preschool Settings

Brief originally published April 13, 2021

After initial publication, the following changes were made to this brief. This update was published April 20, 2021.

  • The format of p. 1 was revised to include a photo and an abstract. Acknowledgments were moved from the last page to p. 1.
  • Overview section: the text in red was added:

In this research summary, we clarify what is known about the extent to which COVID-19 spreads in child care and preschool programs by synthesizing findings from 11 studies conducted between January 2020 and January 2021 that measure transmission in these settings, both in the United States and internationally. (See Appendix for a summary of each study’s findings.)

  • On p. 3, under the heading “What Is the Context in Which These Studies Were Conducted?” at the end of the last sentence of the first paragraph, the following parenthetical was added: (SARS-CoV-2)
  • Endnotes 1 and 2 were changed to read:

1. However, masks were not required of staff in Australia and England, and the U.S. survey conducted in April–May 2020 showed that only 35% of child care providers wore masks during the study period, although this was early in the pandemic before guidance changed.

2. For U.S. studies, data on local community prevalence are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker. For international studies, the data on the number of new cases per day per million residents (smoothed) were from: Roser, M., Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E., & Hasell, J. (2020). Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). OurWorldInData.org. https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus/country/united-kingdom?country=GBR~SGP~POL. For the studies of Salt Lake City and New South Wales, we used data on community prevalence provided by the study’s authors.

  • Endnotes 4 and 5 were deleted.