Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children, families, and early learning professionals have had to transition to new methods of work, play, interaction, and learning. To offer support, Trying Together is providing updates on the status of COVID-19, available resources, and more.

If you are interested in learning more about COVID-19, including information on symptoms, testing, and infection rates, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website. To view additional resources for families and early childhood professionals, please continue reading below.



COVID-19 Resources

To best support these community members and the young children in their lives, Trying Together has created two resource lists, featuring helpful resources that families and educators can use to maneuver this difficult time.

Guidance for Pennsylvanians

As of May 31, COVID mitigation orders are lifted in Pennsylvania. The order requiring universal face coverings was lifted statewide on June 28, 2021. The Pennsylvania Department of Health still urges Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance on wearing masks where required by law, rules, and regulations, including healthcare, local businesses, and workplace guidance.

Meals for Children

The Summer Food Service Program distributes free Grab ‘n Go Meals to children at 13 CitiPark and 34 partner locations in Pittsburgh. Meals are available to children up to the age of 18, and to individuals with disabilities up to 21 years old. This program runs from June 11 through August 13, 2021 (dates vary by location). To learn more, visit the program webpage or call 412.571.3291.



What is COVID-19?

According to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), “COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans.” While this strain of coronavirus is new, coronaviruses are actually a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. While it is rare for animal coronaviruses to infect people who are exposed to infected animals, it has happened in the past as seen with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

COVID-19 Vaccines

Currently, all Pennsylvanians age 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on where you can get vaccinated, vaccine safety, and more, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website. For questions about COVID-19 vaccines, call the PA Health Hotline at 1.877.724.3258.


As COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, common symptoms of infection include fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. However, WHO states that some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea. After being infected with COVID-19, individuals generally display mild symptoms that begin gradually, but some people who become infected may not develop any symptoms at all and may feel healthy.

80 percent of the individuals who become infected recover from the disease without needing special treatment. However, one out of every six people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Elderly individuals, immunocompromised individuals, and individuals with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney diseases, hepatitis B, and cancer are particularly at risk of developing serious illness if infected with COVID-19. Because of this, it’s important to limit possible contamination and reduce the spread of the virus.

How It Spreads

COVID-19 spreads through person-to-person contact (within about six feet) or by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after coming into contact with surfaces that have been contaminated with respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. WHO states that “studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.”

The risk of getting infected by COVID-19 depends on where you are and if there is an outbreak currently happening in that area. Individuals living in or visiting cities or areas that are experiencing an outbreak have a higher risk of becoming infected. There is a higher risk of infection and serious complications for elderly individuals, immunocompromised individuals, and individuals with underlying medical conditions. With this, WHO states that it’s important to “comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement, or large gatherings” and to cooperate with disease control efforts to reduce your risk and potential spread.

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Currently, the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect both yourself and others against infection are to:

    • receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you are able to do so;
    • avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth;
    • if water and soap are not available, sanitize your hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol;
    • clean and disinfect commonly used items and frequently touched surfaces such as the items listed above with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following the label directions appropriately;
    • practice social distancing from others, especially avoiding individuals who are exhibiting symptoms, coughing, or sneezing;
    • wear a face mask when shopping at essential businesses, visiting your health care provider, on public transportation, interacting with others at essential business, and when feeling sick, coughing, or sneezing; and
    • comply with any local restrictions and recommendations on travel, movement, or large gatherings.

Visit the CDC website for more information on how to properly clean and disinfect the areas around you. While this resource is primarily intended for individuals and households with suspected or confirmed cases hygienic practices can help reduce the spread of the virus. Watch this video for proper handwashing techniques.


The CDC also has a resource highlighting precautions and preparation tips for individuals at risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, such as elderly individuals, immunosuppressed individuals, and individuals with underlying medical conditions. Visit the CDC website to learn more.

What to Do After Infection

If symptoms are mild:

Most people with mild COVID-19 symptoms can recover at home. To get tested for COVID-19, find a testing location near you or contact your health care provider. If you do not get tested, stay home, isolate yourself, and avoid contact with others. People who test positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate in their home for 14 days, or 10 days if they are not experiencing symptoms. People living with you will also need to quarantine unless they are fully vaccinated.

Wear a tight-fitting mask if you must be around others and make a list of people you have come into close contact with (within six feet) from two days before testing positive. Close contacts should monitor for any symptoms for 14 days after exposure. If symptoms become worse, contact a healthcare provider. For information about isolating, quarantine periods, and more, read this document from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

If symptoms are severe:

If you are experiencing severe symptoms (including a fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit), call your healthcare provider or the nearest hospital/urgent care to schedule an appointment. If it is an emergency, call 9.1.1. Signs of an emergency include trouble breathing, new confusion, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, inability to wake or stay awake, and/or bluish lips/face.

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or CDC website.

More Information

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Allegheny County Health DepartmentWorld Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.