by Lauren Block MD MPH and Adam Block PhD; Illustrated by Debby Rahmalia
Discover along with 8-year-old Kelly the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine, what to expect during and after the vaccine, and how vaccination will help us begin to move beyond the pandemic.
Authors of “Kelly Stays Home: The Science of Coronavirus” and “Kelly Goes Back to School: More Science on Coronavirus” which have been downloaded over 25,000 times are back with their most important book yet on how the vaccine works and the importance of being vaccinated.
Today, October 28, 2020, in response to months of advocates’ work, Governor Murphy signed a Worker Protections Executive Order. Despite workers getting sick and even dying, the federal government has only issued recommendations, placing responsibility with the Governor to step up to ensure New Jersey workers’ health and safety from COVID-19 hazards.
The Worker Protections EO sets enforceable standards that virtually all employers must follow to protect their employees during the pandemic. These baseline standards include allowing proper social distancing, masks, sanitization, breaks for hand washing, notification of potential exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite, and following the requirements of applicable paid leave laws.
The Executive Order, which goes into effect on November 5th, mandates private and public employers implement uniform health and safety standards to protect all workers against the coronavirus, including:
Workers to keep at least 6 feet from each other “to the maximum extent possible.”
Workers and visitors to wear a face mask, with limited exceptions.
Employers to provide masks to workers at the company’s expense.
Employers to provide workers, customers, and visitors with sanitizing materials at the company’s expense.
Employers to conduct daily health checks of workers, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, and more.
Employers to notify workers when there is possible exposure to the virus.
Employers to provide workers with breaks throughout the day to wash their hands.
Employers to routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched areas in accordance to state and federal guidelines.
The New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) will launch a new webpage to field complaints from workers. The DOL and the Department of Health will both be able to investigate and enforce the EO. The state is also investing $400,000 in trainings so that workers can identify COVID-19 related workplace health and safety hazards and have the tools to be able to speak up when violations of the EO are not resolved by their employers.
The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California-Berkeley just last week published a great new read on their website, titled, “Is Child Care Safe When School Isn’t? Ask An Early Educator.” The illuminating article explores the fact that schools provide child care—not just education—and with in-person learning all-but evaporating for millions of K-12 students this fall, families are scrambling to find care amid the pandemic. The result? The essential service that is provided by schools on a daily basis is being sorely missed on both counts.
A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), released a new brief, A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color, that unpacks the harm of systemic racism to children’s development and describes how the coronavirus pandemic has magnified pervasive inequities in health, education, employment, and other factors across race and ethnicity.
Programs that help families meet their basic needs urgently need immediate shoring up. And policymakers must prioritize families of color who are most harmed by the coronavirus. We make the case for focusing on the needs of families of color with infants and toddlers in coronavirus relief and systemic policy reform efforts to ensure that policies do not continue or add to inequities.
This report captures the lockdown experiences of over 5000 families who responded to an online survey. The findings highlight the lack of support for families and the inequalities of babies’ early experiences. The report includes many case studies and statements from parents.
The evidence is unequivocal that the first 1,001 days of a child’s life, from conception to age two, lay the foundations for a happy and healthy life. Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23rd March and 4th July. The Parent-Infant Foundation, together with Best Beginnings and Home-Start UK, conducted a survey of families’ experiences of lockdown during their babies’ first 1001 days, the findings of which suggest that the impact of lockdown on some of these babies could be severe and may be long-lasting.
- The report describes the findings of an online survey of 5,474 expectant mothers, new parents, and parents of toddlers, undertaken during the pandemic. It shows that:
- Almost 7 in 10 found their ability to cope with their pregnancy or baby had been impacted as a result of COVID-19
- Nearly 7 in 10 felt the changes brought about by COVID-19 were affecting their unborn baby, baby or young child (with an increase in crying, tantrums, and becoming more clingy). This was felt most sharply amongst parents under 25 years old and those on the lowest incomes.
This report should be referenced as: Babies in Lockdown: listening to parents to build back better (2020). Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK, and the Parent-Infant Foundation. Babies-in-Lockdown-Main-Report-FINAL-VERSION
An Interview with Drs. Sabrina Liu and Sheila Modir on race and trauma in the U.S.
COVID-19 has brought to the surface many racial inequities in the U.S., especially related to health disparities and access to resources. Compounding these negative effects are the burdens of both racial trauma and COVID-19-related trauma.
As states create and implement guidance, it is important to note how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the stressors facing families and threatened the mental health of both children and adults. Leaders also need to pay attention to how new practices, intended to minimize the risk of virus exposure, may disrupt traditional, relationship-building connection points between providers and families. In all of this, innovative practices and intentional policymaking will be essential to continue meeting the developmental needs of babies in early learning programs.
In Considerations for Developmental Needs of Infants and Toddlers in Child Care Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic, ZERO TO THREE offers recommendations related to mental health and relationships to layer on top of CDC guidelines to ensure that the developmental needs of babies and families are a part of state re-opening plans.
“When children are clearly sad or upset, the best gift parents can give them is time, says psychiatrist Joshua Morganstein, spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association. “Sit with them and give them time, time to wait and listen to what they have to say.” He says this lets the child know that, number one, they are “worth waiting for” and that you will try to understand what they’re going through. And be honest, he says, when talking with your child no matter what their age.” Click here for the article from NPR.
Webinar: Supporting Families and Caregivers of Infants and Young Children Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
The New York City Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) hosted a webinar titled Supporting Families and Caregivers of Infants and Young Children Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic presented by Gerard Costa, Ph.D. & Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D.
In this webinar, Drs. Joy Osofsky and Gerard Costa addressed the impact of the changes in our world and personal lives brought about by COVID-19. Special attention was given to the ways in which infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are affected when their usual routines are disrupted and their ability to manage stress and stay regulated are compromised. These changes were described through developmental and relationship-based perspectives, highlighting the critical importance of establishing new routines to support co-regulating, attuned, and responsive relationships.
Insights from the brain sciences were described to better understand the ways in which infants, children, and adults may react around the fearful climate of COVID-19. Strategies for speaking with, supporting, and playing with infants and young children were presented. Importantly, the need for self-care of the adults in the lives of the children was addressed.
The recording, presentation slides, and additional information can be accessed here.
The New York City Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) was pleased to host a webinar titled The Loss and Grief of COVID-19: Real Challenges and Practical Suggestions presented by Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D., Gerard Costa, Ph.D., IMHM-C, & Gilbert M. Foley, & Ed.D., IMH-E (IV-C).
This discussion focused on the nature of grief surrounding COVID-19 recognizing that grief has no timeline and every pattern of grieving is individual. The presentation provided real and practical suggestions and advice related to how to cope as a family and how to talk to, listen to, and help children adjust and be supported. A combination of topic-specific presentations by each presenter and discussion among the presenters was used to present the material in ways that are practical and helpful. Some of the topics discussed were: the developmentally based expectable reactions of young children to the losses of COVID, how to talk to children about illness and death, the importance of structure, schedules and rituals in a time of change, the normalcy of anxiety with uncertainty, the importance of co-regulation in helping children manage emotions and behavior, the self-healing and regulatory power of play, how to cope as a parent, and the critical importance of culture and ethnic traditions in mourning.
The recording, presentation slides, and further information can be accessed here.