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January 2021
Spotlight on the Environmental Safety of Child Care and Early Education Programs
This month’s Library Highlights features research and publications on ensuring safe physical environments for child care and early education programs and facilities.

Environmental Health and Safety in Child Care Settings: Considerations During Viral Outbreaks

This resource provides an overview of how viral transmission can occur in child care spaces and how to combat transmission through sanitization and increased air ventilation. It also encourages homes and centers that temporarily closed to consider how their facility’s water quality may be impacted.

The Design and Evaluation of the Physical Environment of Young Children's Learning Settings

This journal article highlights the physical setting of schools, classrooms, and other spaces for early care and education as a key contributor to children’s learning and development. It presents physical factors (such as air quality, noise, and light) as essential to discussions of quality learning environments. The article recommends that policymakers and researchers factor the physical setting into early care and education (ECE) evaluations.

Federal Agencies Need to Enhance Monitoring and Collaboration to Help Assure Drinking Water Is Safe from Lead

This report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office examines federal, state, and local efforts to test for lead in drinking water in child care settings. It also reviews how the Office of Child Care, Office of Head Start (OHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collaborate to support these testing efforts. The report provides recommendations to the EPA and OHS to enhance interagency collaboration and require documentation for lead testing from Head Start grantees.
Let's Get Outside!: Considerations for Child Care Guidance: Reduce Risk of Disease and Improve Health During COVID-19 -- and Beyond

This resource suggests ways in which policymakers and regulators can support and encourage providers’ use of outdoor play and learning areas to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This concrete guidance is timely, especially as child care providers plan for warmer days.

Ventilation in Day Care Centers and Sick Leave Among Nursery Children

This study from 2016, which examines data from ECE providers in Denmark, suggests a significant inverse relationship between higher quality ventilation and the number of children who took sick leave. Care centers with higher quality ventilation reported fewer days of sick leave than those with lesser-quality ventilation. Although the study predates COVID-19, it adds to the understanding that proper ventilation is important to the safe operation of ECE programs. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer guidance on ventilation in buildings and homes.
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Until March 30, 2019, Research Connections was supported under grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Research Connections is now supported by contract #HHSP233201500071I from OPRE, ACF, HHS. The contents do not necessarily represent the views of OPRE, ACF, or HHS. 

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