There is no published national research reporting child care professionals’ physical health, depression, or stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given their central role in supporting children’s development, child care professionals’ overall physical and mental health is important. In this large-scale national survey, data were collected through an online survey from May 22, 2020 to June 8, 2020. We analyzed the association of sociodemographic characteristics with four physical health conditions (asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity), depression, and stress weighted to national representativeness. Sociodemographic characteristics included race, ethnicity, age, gender, medical insurance status, and child care type. Our findings highlight that child care professionals’ depression rates during the pandemic were much higher than before the pandemic, and depression, stress and asthma rates were higher than U.S. adult depression rates during the pandemic. Given the essential work child care professionals provide during the pandemic, policy makers and public health officials should consider what can be done to support the physical and mental health of child care professionals.
The relationship between the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions and COVID-19 vaccination among U.S. child care providers remains unknown. If unvaccinated child care providers are also less likely to employ nonpharmaceutical interventions, then a vaccine mandate across child care programs may have larger health and safety benefits. To assess and quantify the relationship between the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions and COVID-19 vaccination among U.S. child care providers, we conducted a prospective cohort study of child care providers (N = 20,013) from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Child care providers were asked to complete a self-administered email survey in May-June 2020 assessing the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions (predictors) and a follow-up survey in May-June 2021 assessing COVID-19 vaccination (outcome). Nonpharmaceutical interventions were dichotomized as personal mitigation measures (e.g., masking, social distancing, handwashing) and classroom mitigation measures (e.g., temperature checks of staff/children, symptom screening for staff/children, cohorting).
For each unendorsed personal mitigation measure during 2020, the likelihood of vaccination in 2021 decreased by 7% (Risk Ratio = 0.93 [95% 0.93 – 0.95]). No significant association was found between classroom mitigation measures and child care provider vaccination (Risk Ratio = 1.01 [95% CI 1.00-1.01]).
Child care providers who used less personal mitigation measures were also less likely to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as an alternative form of protection. The combined nonadherence to multiple types of preventative health behaviors, that is, both nonpharmaceutical interventions and vaccination, among some child care providers may support a role for mandatory vaccination to achieve pandemic control.