Formulae for a Contact Hours Metric to be Used in Emergency Child Care Technical Research Note

In an earlier email posted on emergency child care, there was mention about the need to develop a new metric dealing with contact hours.  The attached short technical research note provides a methodology for developing such a metric:

Since monitoring of programs will not be occurring during the COVID19 pandemic are there ways to measure compliance without actually needing to do observations in facilities, such as centers or homes.  There is when it comes to adult child ratios and group sizes by using a metric which uses the number of contact hours (CH) and determining if there is any relationship to COVID19 infections.  And it involves asking the following six questions:

  1. When does your first teaching staff arrive or when does your facility open?
  2. When does your last teaching staff leave or when does your facility close?
  3. Number of teaching/caregiving staff?
  4. Number of children on your maximum enrollment day?
  5. When does your last child arrive?
  6. When does your first child leave?

After getting the answers to these questions, the following formulae can be used to determine contact hours (CH) based upon the relationship between when the children arrive and leave (TH) and how long the facility is open (TO):

CH = ((NC (TO + TH)) / 2) / TA    

CH = (NC x TO) / TA

CH = ((NC x TO) / 2) / TA    

CH = (NC2) / TA

Where: CH = Contact Hours; NC = Number of Children; TO = Total number of hours the facility is open; TA = Total number of teaching staff, and TH = Total number of hours at full enrollment.

By knowing the number of contact hours (CH) it will be possible to rank order the exposure time of adults with children.  This metric could then be used to determine if greater contact hours is correlated with the increased risk of the COVID19 virus, for example.   The following chart can be used by entering the following metrics (example in the table is based upon 5 enrolled children (NC)):  the facility is open for 10 hours (TO) and then various scenarios are played out for how long the facility is at full enrollment (TH).  Based upon these metrics an outcome rubric can be used where less CH is a positive (+), while high CH is a negative (-).  For simplicity, the following chart is based upon one teaching staff (TA) being present (1:5 Adult-Child Ratio).

Contact Hour Score Generated from Above 4 Formulae and Potential Outcomes (COVID19 Infections)

Contact Hours – CH Score Formulae for CH Score Potential Outcomes


(5 (NC) x 10 (TO)) / 2 +


(5 (NC) (5 (TH) + 10 (TO)) / 2

+ / –


5 (NC) x 10 (TO)

-/ +

62.5 5 (NC) x 12.5 (TO)

Formulae for a Contact Hours Metric to be Used in Emergency Child Care Technical Research Note

Here is an update to the above Technical Research Note with a Conversion Table generating Relatively Weighted Contact Hours and a series of research notes (first paper) and an Excel Spread Sheet for actually do the calculations and generating results (second paper):

CHACR Fiene 4-24-20

CHACR Formula Models3 Excel Spreadsheet

About Dr Fiene

Dr. Rick Fiene has spent his professional career in improving the quality of child care in various states, nationally, and internationally. He has done extensive research and publishing on the key components in improving child care quality through an early childhood program quality indicator model of training, technical assistance, quality rating & improvement systems, professional development, mentoring, licensing, risk assessment, differential program monitoring, and accreditation. Dr. Fiene is a retired professor of human development & psychology (Penn State University) where he was department head and director of the Capital Area Early Childhood Research and Training Institute.
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