Washington State Pilot Study Demonstrates Effectiveness of Contact Hours Metric in Determining COVID19 Potential Infections in Child Care

An exciting development has occurred in a child care pilot study in the state of Washington in which a new monitoring methodology appears to be able to build a metric that is effective at determining potential COVID19 infection rates.  The results need to be expanded and replicated but it appears that by using a new metric called “Contact Hours” instead of group size, it is possible to build a screening tool that takes into account time, space and numbers of individuals and provides a Conversion Table based upon the number of children, adults, and time of exposure and placing these data into a series of equations with the result, the higher the “Contact Hours”, the higher the potential infection rate.

It uses a color coded (red, yellow, green) traffic light pattern in which as the “Contact Hours” increases, it correlates with the potential spread of the COVID19 virus.  Red indicates “Highest Potential”; Yellow indicates “Mid Range Potential”; and Green indicates “Lowest Potential”.  The “Contact Hour” modeling and formulas take into account both exposure time as well as density distributions of individuals.   The “Contact Hour” metric is much more effective and efficient than either measuring group size or staff-child ratios alone or in combination.

The Washington child care validation pilot study is attached here:

Washington Child Care Contact Hour Validation Pilot Study

The authors of the study are now interested in fine tuning the methodology to determine the exact thresholds in the “Contact Hours” models which can statistically predict the potential spread of the virus.

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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