Start Early. Start well.

COVID-19 Resources

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Buffett Institute is working with its partner organizations to share information and resources with Nebraska child care providers, parents, teachers, and others.

Nebraska COVID-19 Early Care and Education Provider Survey III

The Buffett Institute has released the results of its latest survey examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nebraska's child care professionals and its implications for practice and policy. The Nebraska COVID-19 Early Care and Education Provider Survey III: Holding It Together—and Hanging by a Thread paints a grim but resilient picture of an early childhood workforce that cares for young children. Despite daunting challenges, early childhood professionals have persevered during a pandemic that has upended their business operations and continues to have lasting impacts on their health and well-being.

Survey Report (download PDF)

News Release


How Are Children Faring Academically and Emotionally in Wake of Pandemic?

It has been a year since schools first closed their doors as a deadly virus circled the globe. Now, with the vast majority of students back in classrooms full time—and with vaccination signaling that the worst of COVID may finally be behind us—it’s time, experts and educators say, to begin assessing a complicated and consequential question. Are the kids all right? And if not, what can we do to help them? Schools and parents are prepping for potential struggles with reading, math, and other subjects after the virus disrupted two separate school years. Educators and experts are also worried about the social and emotional well-being of young children after a year of COVID-19. Several local school districts are adopting or strengthening social-emotional curriculum for the upcoming school year, hoping to increase students’ resilience.

Matthew Hansen delves into the social-emotional implications in his column, which you can read here.

Erin Duffy talks with parents, educators, and researchers who are trying to gauge how much learning has been disrupted by pandemic stress and the abrupt switch to online learning last spring. Read her column here.


Interim Study Report on Legislative Resolution 390

The Appropriations Committee of the Nebraska Legislature has released its report, "Examination of the Fiscal and Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nebraska's Early Childhood Workforce and the Early Childhood Care and Education System." The report includes study findings as well as committee recommendations.

LR 390 Report and Related Materials

News Release

Nebraska's Public Investment in Early Childhood Care and Education Fiscal Year 2017 – Technical Report

Op-Ed by Sen. John Stinner

Matthew Hansen Column


Explore More: Using Technology in Early Childhood Education

Throughout 2020, young children engaged with digital technology like never before as early childhood professionals creatively adapted to a “new normal.” While this shift presents incredible opportunities for children’s learning and development, it also poses questions about appropriate and effective uses of technology in early childhood. The Buffett Institute is proud to offer a new collection of on-demand resources for early childhood professionals in individual or group settings. Featuring Dr. Chip Donohue, founding director of the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson Institute and senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media, these videos and learning guides offer specific and practical information for the equitable use of technology in classroom and child care environments. Learn more


Nebraska COVID-19 Early Care and Education Provider Survey II (August 2020)

The Buffett Institute conducted a survey in June to assess the impact of COVID-19 on early childhood providers in Nebraska. More than 1,000 providers responded to the survey. Economic, health, and personal stressors reported from the Institute’s first provider survey in March 2020 continue and are increasing. Findings show that child care providers need more support to stay in business. In addition to other stressors, if the COVID-19 pandemic continues or worsens, Nebraska could lose many of its licensed child care providers unless financial assistance is provided. 

Survey Report (download PDF)

Survey Report (view online)

News Release

Matthew Hansen Column

Early Years Matter Conversation with Kate Gallagher and Alexandra Daro


Nebraska COVID-19 Early Care and Education Provider Survey (March/April 2020)

The Buffett Institute conducted a survey in late March to assess the impact of COVID-19 on early childhood providers in Nebraska. More than 2,100 providers responded to the survey. Findings, which were released in April, show that child care providers are facing incredible stress linked to economic insecurity, threat of health problems, and a lack of reliable information. 

Read Survey Highlights - Perspectives of Child Care Providers

News Release

Matthew Hansen Column About Providers


Developmental Guidelines for Safely Opening Early Learning Programs

In response to a growing demand for information on how to reopen child care safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buffett Institute is releasing child development guidelines created to provide assistance to early care and education programs seeking to reopen child care in Nebraska as safely as possible.

Read the guidelines in English or in Spanish

Media Advisory

Video - How to Safely Reopen Child Care and Help Children During COVID-19

Matthew Hansen Column About Guidelines


The Impact of COVID-19 on Early Care and Education

The Buffett Institute teamed up with the University of Nebraska Foundation to host a May 1, 2020, webinar titled "The Impact of COVID-19 on Early Care and Education." Sam Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute, and Kate Gallagher, director of research and evaluation at the Institute, share highlights from a survey of more than 2,100 Nebraska early care and education workforce members as well as implications of COVID to Nebraska’s early care and education providers, children and families, and communities. Watch the video

What Children Need During These Troubling Times

Matthew Hansen, managing editor at the Buffett Institute, talked with experts about what children need and what we as adults can offer them, even as our own lives are upended by the coronavirus crisis. Read his column

Resources for Families and Child Care Providers

Our partners at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF) are compiling information and resources to help people during the COVID-19 crisis. There is a general information page and an additional page with specific information for child care providers. The provider page also includes information compiled by the Nebraska Business Development Center for child care business owners and employees.

General Information Page

Child Care Provider Page

Nebraska Child Care Referral Network Is a New Tool for Parents, Providers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many essential workers are desperate to find safe places for their children. A new website,, features a searchable database of licensed child care providers to help parents find quality emergency child care. The Nebraska Child Care Referral Network is also a valuable tool for the hundreds of licensed child care professionals struggling to keep their businesses open.

Nebraska Child Care Referral Network

First Five Nebraska Blog

First Five Nebraska is a team of policy, data analysis, and communications professionals working to advance high-quality early care and learning opportunities for our youngest children. First Five’s blog provides the latest early childhood updates, which is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis. Visit First Five's blog

UNL Website Helps Children and Families Find Beauty in Everyday Moments

A Beautiful Day is a virtual early childhood space designed to connect with children and families in Nebraska and across the world. Our colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln created this space as a way to share ideas, to foster learning and play, and to support caregivers experiencing physical distancing. More videos are being added on a regular basis. The inspiration came from Fred Rogers who said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” The Buffett Institute was proud to collaborate on this project with Child, Youth and Family Studies (CYAF), Ruth Staples Child Development Laboratory, the College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS), and Nebraska Extension. Visit the website

State and Federal Policy

The Buffett Institute’s leadership team collaborated with early childhood partners First Five Nebraska, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative on letters that were sent in March to state and federal officials.

The first letter, sent on March 20 to the CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the directors of the Nebraska Departments of Education and Labor, and the members of the Legislature, asks state officials to consider policy actions to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the state’s early childhood system. The second letter, sent on March 22 to Nebraska's congressional delegation, contained policy proposals intended to extend financial lifelines to keep child care providers viable during the pandemic.

Read the letters and learn more on First Five’s blog.

An opinion piece by Samuel Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute, on protecting children's well-being during COVID-19 ran in the Washington Post on March 24. Read the op-ed

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