Washington DC – Today, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-5), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, along with United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Richard E. Neal (MA-1), James P. McGovern (MA-2), Lori Trahan (MA-3), Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-4), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-8) and William Keating (MA-9) wrote to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker about the concerning lack of transparency pertaining to coronavirus (COVID-19) data in Massachusetts child care settings and requested that the data be made available to the public.
“We recognize the challenging tightrope you and your administration must walk during these uncertain times and the imperative of protecting the privacy of personal information,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, we believe that access to COVID-19 data from child care providers would help Massachusetts families make informed decisions regarding sending their children back to school in the coming weeks.”
Specifically, the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation asked the Baker Administration to share the following information pertaining to the impact of COVID-19 on Massachusetts child care facilities with the public:
- The number of emergency child care providers across the Commonwealth that were forced to close, either permanently or on a temporary basis as the result of coronavirus cases, as well as the length of time these providers were closed.
- The number of emergency child care providers who experienced more than one coronavirus case and the number of incidences of community spread between staff and children.
- Any data the state may have on successful strategies providers deployed to detect and respond to potential or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The full text of the letter is available here.
According to a recent review by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, at least 97,000 children tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July. As school districts across the United States unveil preliminary plans for the upcoming school year, the Commonwealth is in a unique position to provide the country with a better understanding of how COVID is handled in a school-like setting because 550 emergency child care centers remained open and were carefully monitored in Massachusetts throughout the pandemic. The recent experience of these facilities could be an important benchmark for considering how best to open schools and other child care settings, and the data could also serve as a critical tool for parents to make the best decisions for their families.