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Monitoring and Evaluating Mitigation Strategies in Child Care, K-12 Schools, and Institutions of Higher Education
Understand how your COVID-19 prevention and control strategies are working
As institutions of higher education (IHE), K-12 schools, and child care programs reopen or stay open for in-person instruction, it is important to monitor and evaluate COVID-19 mitigation strategies. These resources provide logic models that show the connection between activities and outcomes, example evaluation questions, indicators, data sources and other tools that evaluators and administrators of educational and public health institutions can use to monitor and evaluate the implementation and impact of COVID-19 mitigation strategies in these settings.
CDC provides recommendations to prevent COVID-19
Child care programs, schools, and institutions of higher education should consider implementing COVID-19 mitigation strategies as they reopen or stay open. These may include requiring staff, faculty, and children over 2 years of age or students to wear masks, restricting mixing between groups, integrating safe and effective cleaning and disinfection, communicating prevention messaging pdf icon[290 KB, 2 pages], ensuring social distancing (e.g., maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others) as much as possible, limiting large group gatherings (e.g., assemblies, orientation), enhancing ventilation external icon in school buildings, and reinforcing hand hygiene. These mitigation strategies promote health and safety, and implementation may be tailored to the needs and situation of each school, with special attention to individuals at increased risk for severe illness and disproportionately affected populations. The figure below provides an abbreviated and tailored version of the logic model for U.S. Community Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19 for child care programs, K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education.
Mitigation Strategies by Setting
- Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open
- Operating Schools During COVID-19: CDC’s Considerations
- Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
Use monitoring and evaluation findings to adjust your strategies
Monitoring and evaluation provides practical information for state and local health and education agencies, administrators, and evaluation professionals to make timely decisions to support health, and safety of all children, students, staff, and faculty and to promote health equity working together to ensure that people have resources to maintain and manage their physical and mental health.
When developing a monitoring and evaluation plan, education and health agencies, in collaboration, may use the example evaluation questions, indicators, and data sources below to determine a protocol and scope feasible for their situation. These are not exhaustive lists of questions, indicators, or data sources, and they may be adapted to align with community priorities and needs.
Conducting monitoring and evaluation may help child care programs, schools, and institutions of higher education examine their unique circumstances and make the best proactive decisions for their children or students, faculty, and staff, including:
- Identify which factors help or hinder effective implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies to reduce the spread of the virus which causes COVID-19
- Inform allocation of resources to effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Identify and communicate about needs for additional resources and support to effectively implement mitigation strategies
- Understand which mitigation strategies are effective in child care programs, schools, or institutions of higher education to reduce the spread of COVID-19, to maximize the positive outcomes while minimizing related negative consequences
- Ensure the needs of individuals at increased risk and disproportionately affected populations are met
- Inform decision-making about strengthening, focusing, and relaxing mitigation strategies (e.g., determining the optimal schedule for cleaning high-touch surfaces)
- Assess how different populations participate in, and are affected by, mitigation strategies in child care programs, schools, or institutions of higher education to ensure the health and safety of all children or students, staff, and faculty and to promote health equity by working together to ensure that people have resources to maintain and manage their physical and mental health
- Share data and lessons learned about practices to prevent and reduce spread of COVID-19 with key stakeholders, including local policy makers, education and health agency officials, administrators, surrounding community, families, and caregivers
State and local data already being collected are potential monitoring and evaluation data sources. These data may include policies (e.g., stay-at-home orders, mass gathering restrictions, education agency policies and recommendations) and administrative records (e.g., absenteeism, closures, plans for reopening). Primary data may also be collected, including from surveys developed by or for child care programs, schools, or institutions of higher education; administration surveys; interviews; focus groups; health department community surveys; and others.
Example questions, indicators, and data sources
 Indicators and data sources may be tailored to align with the context of the intended evaluation and local communities, including what is important and feasible to assess and what data are available. Some data may be available at the local level and may not need to be collected from child care programs independently. It is critical to maintain confidentiality and privacy of the child, staff member, or volunteer as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
- Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission
- An Approach for Monitoring and Evaluating Community Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19
- Operating Schools During COVID-19: CDC’s Considerations
- Interim Guidance for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in K-12 Schools
- Interim Guidance for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)