In the aftermath of the global Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in other types of childhood illnesses. According to Andrew Hashikawa, the reasons for this are twofold: many young children have had minimal exposure to common viruses and bacteria, so they have built up less natural resistance when they enter group settings, and pediatricians have seen vaccine rates plummet, as stay-at-home policies led many families to delay routine health care visits. Hashikawa argues, “In this post-pandemic environment, ECE providers must now continue to balance the need to safely manage mildly ill children in ECE settings without severely compromising parents’ ability to work or negatively disrupting children’s educational opportunities.”
Hashikawa offers these suggestions when determining when an illness necessitates excluding a child from your program:
Hashikawa remarks: “A healthy child who exercises, sleeps well, eats a balanced diet, and is vaccinated will develop an immune system that is optimized to fight infection. While managing illnesses is important in ECE settings, it is also essential to remember that these settings are crucial to children’s development…Focus on ensuring children do not have their education disrupted unnecessarily by excluding them for illnesses when it is not medically necessary (e.g., a child with a runny nose who has no other symptoms and is acting fine).”
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