It’s important to stay safe, healthy and be informed, particularly for those who continue to be on the front lines of caring for children and families. With K-12 schools closed, child care programs must consider whether to remain open and risk exposure or to close and put their teachers and staff at risk of not being paid. The programs that choose to remain open might also be needed to serve additional children. Our goal is to keep our staff and community safe, continue business operations in service of our mission and do our part to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Are you a working parent who can’t work from home, or has your child care program had to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak? We can help! We are tracking child care closures & programs with additional capacity. Our services are free. Call us at 1-855-327-5933 and learn more here.
Are you a child care provider? Help us inform parents about your availability or closure. Update your program’s open/closed status here.
Below are resources regarding public health and safety, ECE policy from DHHS, food resources and online educational tools to help in the classroom and the home.
CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund
Child Care Services Association (CCSA) established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help families and child care programs in North Carolina with urgent and long-term expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CCSA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, in partnership with our CCR&Rs and Smart Start Partnerships across the state, will serve child care programs that are open and serving the families of essential workers. Once the immediate crisis has passed and operations return to normal, CCSA will shift its focus and work to support families that need help paying for child care.
The CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund will retain flexibility to respond to any evolving and emerging needs. The initial priority is to address the needs of families and child care programs in local communities in North Carolina.
Learn more about how you can help support high quality child care in North Carolina here.
North Carolina Health & Safety
Stay up-to-date on the COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, with these resources, some specific to child care programs.
- Division of Public Health
- Department of Public Instruction guidance
- Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
- What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- What to do if you are sick
- Stop the spread of germs – help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19
- How to Clean Your Smartphone — it’s dirtier than you think
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
Best Cleaning Practices in Child Care from NAEYC
Messages are appearing on media regarding cleaning facilities, surfaces and toys. A step is unclear in the procedure that is critical. Clean – sanitize – disinfect and when each of these processes happen. See the guidance here from NAEYC.
Additional guidance for child health and safety can be found in the comprehensive Guidance of Caring for Our Children written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, found here.
New Guidelines and Application to Remain Open or Reopen for Child Care Programs from DHHS
Thank you for supporting our state and families by providing critical child care during the COVID-19 crisis. We know you are concerned about ensuring a healthy workplace for staff and safe, reliable care for children. We also know you need financial support to be able to remain open to support other critical workers who are working to keep our communities safe.
- NC DHHS will pay ALL NC Pre-K providers, regardless of site location or if the program is open or closed, fully through the remainder of the program year. Payments will be based on February attendance.
- NC DHHS will pay all NC Pre-K contractors their full program coordination/administrative rates.
- NC DHHS will be sending NC Pre-K contractors additional programmatic guidance for supporting NC Pre-K children and families remotely during the remainder of the program year.
This guidance provides you with the following information:
- New Guidelines and Application to Remain Open or Reopen
- ACTION REQUIRED: You must complete a COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application Form by 11:59 pm on March 31, 2020.
- Financial Assistance for Child Care Facilities and Critical Workers
A Message from NC ECE Shared Resources
As we all continue to transition to the constant changes occurring due to the current pandemic, please know we are focused on doing everything we can to meet the needs of our partners and child care professionals across the country.
We have been constantly updating all of the shared resources platforms with pertinent information from both the perspectives of child care business owners/directors and teachers in the classroom. We are consistently updating and sharing information as it becomes available on both the platform and through e-blasts.
In that regard, we created a PDF we wanted to share in hopes this can support any communications you are doing at a more local level. Please feel free to share this as you see fit in any correspondence you may have planned.
Read more here.
A Message on COVID-19 from the Children’s Bureau
Given the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, we are aware of the impact that it may have on the populations you serve.
As our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continue to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners across the globe to respond to contain COVID-19, we want to inform you that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at HHS continues to provide updates and guidance from medical professionals about how to protect you and those you serve from COVID-19.
Read more here.
DCDEE Announces Flexibility in Policy and Regulatory Requirements for Child Care Providers
View letter to child care providers from Susan Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary at NC DHHS here. Below is an announcement from DHHS.
We appreciate all the hard work and continued sacrifices that our child care facilities have made during the COVID-19 outbreak to serve our families, fuel our state’s economy, and protect our state and nation’s security.
With the closure of North Carolina’s public schools, we know the demand on our state’s licensed child care facilities is elevated. In order to provide relief and flexibility to child care facilities serving families, we have been actively working to identify policy and regulatory requirements that can be temporarily waived, while still ensuring the health, safety and well-being of children.
While we ask that facilities attempt to continue to maintain compliance with all child care rules to the extent possible, the ones included in the enclosed chart have been identified to provide flexibility to centers during this time of crisis. We will continue to evaluate and determine whether we need to include additional regulatory flexibility as the situation progresses.
Additionally, during this time, all monitoring visits and environmental rated license assessments will not take place. This temporary change does not include investigations of complaints and investigations of child maltreatment. Other flexibilities include areas such as Staff/Child Ratios and Group Size, Training Requirements, Records, Activity Areas, and Nutritional Standards. Be assured that a child care facility’s star rating will not be impacted if a facility temporarily utilize these flexibilities. An NC Pre-K classroom that discontinues operation as an NC Pre-K classroom will operate according to the regular child care licensing standards identified in the attached chart.
Thank you for supporting our state and its families by providing vital care and services.
View flexible policy and regulatory requirements here.
Institute for Childhood Preparedness Coronavirus Resources
- Parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites.
- Wake County Public schools will provide meals for students Monday – Friday beginning March 17. There are also many food distribution resources throughout the county.
- Durham County Public Schools will provide meals for students beginning March 23, locations will be announced soon.
- Orange County Public Schools will provide meals for students at a number of locations beginning on March 16.
- Both Wake County and Johnston County schools announced places to ensure that food is available to those in need.
- Find other sources of food in your area here.
Expensify.org Offers to Reimburse Families in Hunger During COVID-19 Crisis
Below is a message from Expensify.org.
These are unprecedented times, and it’s inspiring to see communities rising to the challenge. However, not everyone has the resources to “shelter in place” especially the millions of people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Living paycheck to paycheck is hard when millions of businesses around the nation are closing down indefinitely, and hourly workers (including those dependent upon tips) are the hardest hit. In particular, families with kids whose primary meals happen at school are especially vulnerable when those schools shut down.
With this in mind, Expensify.org is going to temporarily redirect all of its charitable funds to Expensify.org/hunger. With its ability to reimburse volunteers directly in real-time, Expensify.org is uniquely positioned to help families in need immediately. Until today, this fund was focused on paying off kids’ “lunch debts”, but with schools closed around the nation, that isn’t the top priority. Instead, we’re devoting everything to a new program: matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50 per family. It works like this:
- Purchase food as normal with your SNAP card
- Download Expensify on iOS or Android, for free
- Join the Expensify.org/hunger policy
- SmartScan the receipt, which will tell us how much you paid and show that it was paid for with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card
- Submit it to email@example.com
- Set up your bank account to receive the funds
- So long as we have funds available, we will reimburse up to $50 per family (one time), the very next day.
To be clear, we can’t commit to reimbursing every single person in need — we have no idea how many people will do this, and unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited funds. We also don’t know how long this crisis will last and how far our brand new charity’s resources will stretch. But we’re going to do what we can with the funds donated on behalf of Expensify Cardholders via the Karma Points feature, as well as by the extremely generous donors who have signed up for our Corporate and Personal Karma programs.
This is a truly global crisis, and it is only beginning. We all need to work together to weather the storm, and on behalf of Expensify.org’s many generous members, we’re eager to help.
President of Expensify.org
PS: While you may not personally be on SNAP, please forward this along to anyone based in the US (where the SNAP program operates) you know that may need food assistance — or to any other groups or organizations who might be able to spread the word that help is available. Helping our local communities is what Expensify.org is all about!
Sent by: Expensify, Inc. – 548 Market St #61434 – San Francisco, CA 94103
COVID-19 and Homelessness: Strategies for Schools and Early Learning Programs
Schools and early childhood programs offer stability and safety. When schools and early learning programs close, or move to online learning, the health, safety and well-being of homeless children and youth are jeopardized. See information from SchoolHouse Connection here.
New NIEER Webpage for ECE Policymakers on COVID-19
The world’s attention—and our attention, too—is focused on an effective response to COVID-19. NIEER has created a webpage of federal, state and local guidance and examples ECE policymakers may find useful. If you wish to suggest resources useful to policymakers via their COVID-19 webpage, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and include COVID-19 in the subject line.
Orange County Announces Emergency Small Business Funding Program
The County will offer zero-interest loans up to $20,000 with loan repayment over five years to eligible applicants. Grants will be awarded up to $5,000 to eligible applicants. An applicant can receive a maximum amount of $25,000 in the form of a loan and grant. The County will accept applications through April 10, 2020. Learn more here.
Free Educational Resources
Social distancing and self-imposed isolation is an opportunity to disrupt children’s development. We know the first five years of a child’s life are the most crucial in laying the foundation for all future learning. Below is a multitude of either completely free or full of quality free content for kids to explore.
- Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed.
- Lakeshore is offering more than 1,000 free resources for the classroom and home.
- Common Sense Media is offering free educational apps, games and websites for children.
- PBS offers a great list of resources for How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus.
- Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being.