I am repeatedly hearing from constituents and parents that the guidance released ahead of daycare centers opening does not do enough to address their critical health concerns.
The guidance relies on children understanding and adhering to social distancing, frequent hand washing, and mask wearing. This asks a lot of our youngest children and will be difficult for staff to monitor and enforce, especially when it comes to toddlers. The concern is that children in these contexts don’t just share toys and close space in these contexts, but also viruses.
Temperature screenings of all individuals entering the building and sworn statements are important, but they simply aren’t enough. They do not take into account the significant number of asymptomatic individuals testing positive.
That is why I am going to introduce legislation that would require all daycare staff to be tested once every seven days in staggered groupings. It would also require the Department of Health and the Department of Children & Family Services to develop temporary regulations within 10 days of enactment.
We have seen the impact of this coronavirus in our long term care facilities and we’ve since learned that staff in these facilities were often unknowingly vectors of the virus. Regular, large scale testing was what could have prevented these outbreaks.
We need to be more proactive in our daycares. We have an abundance of free and low-cost testing available now — let’s use it to protect our children, staff and the greater community.