PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--KinderCare Education today announced that it is the first early childhood education provider to give all of its more than 32,000 teachers and staff access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available. The company is actively working with health care providers and state health departments to ensure frontline employees like early childhood educators have early access. KinderCare will ensure the vaccine is free of cost for all center staff and will provide them with paid time off to receive the vaccination.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been the industry leader in creating healthy and safe environments for children and teachers. And as the nation’s largest child care provider, we owe a responsibility to our communities to do what’s right and ensure that all of our employees have access to the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it’s available,” said Tom Wyatt, CEO of KinderCare. “Child care is critical to enabling families to get back to work and ultimately the nation’s economic recovery. Because of this, we’re advocating that state regulatory agencies prioritize teachers as frontline workers so that they can receive the vaccine as soon as possible.”
A recent Yale study showed that child care centers are among the safest places for children. KinderCare programs offer best-in-class care and education for children aged 6 weeks to 12 years old, keeping them safe, happy and engaged, and implementing industry leading health and safety protocols. KinderCare’s health and safety team closely monitors COVID-19 transmission rates across centers and communities – and the results consistently show that transmission rates within KinderCare programs continue to be much lower than community rates.
Nearly all of the more than 1,500 KinderCare Learning Centers remain open nationwide as a result of the industry-leading health and safety practices center staff put into action daily. These protocols were developed in partnership with a panel of medical experts in alignment with evolving guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. Families can find centers in their area by visiting: https://www.kindercare.com/our-centers/results
All KinderCare centers follow strict health and safety protocols, including:
- Consistent grouping of children, teachers and staff
- Requiring all staff to wear masks
- Social distancing in classrooms, when appropriate for age groups – for example, placing cots six feet apart and head to toe during naptime
- Encouraging children in our centers 3 and older wear masks – teachers will also help children understand when they can safely remove their masks to eat, drink, or sleep.
- Restricting access to classrooms to teachers and students
- Comprehensive health screenings, including temperature monitoring, upon entry and throughout the day
- Handwashing throughout the day
- Frequent cleaning and sanitizing of toys, learning materials and surfaces with hospital-grade cleaners
- Ongoing training for all center staff as new health and safety measures are implemented
Along with promoting physical well-being and safety, KinderCare teachers and curriculum prioritize the social and emotional health and development of children of all ages. Teachers are trained with a special focus on anti-bias principles, creating inclusive environments and trauma-informed learning practices. In addition to trainings and curriculum, KinderCare staff also have access to a dedicated team of experts who can provide further one-on-one guidance to help teachers meet the unique needs of every student.
About KinderCare Education®
KinderCare Education is America’s largest private provider of early childhood and school-age education and child care. KinderCare supports hardworking families in 40 states and the District of Columbia:
- In neighborhoods, with KinderCare® Learning Centers that offer early childhood education and child care for children six weeks to 12 years old;
- At work, through KinderCare Education at Work™, providing customized family benefits for employers across the country, including on-site and near-site early learning centers and back-up care for last-minute child care, and
- In local schools, with Champions® before and after-school programs.
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, KinderCare operates more than 1,500 early learning centers. In 2020, KinderCare earned its fourth Gallup Great Workplace Award – one of only 19 companies worldwide to win this award. To learn more, visit KinderCare Education.