Early Childhood COVID-19 Timeline as told by CCSA

This timeline helps us mark major developments and consider how far we’ve come as we plan how to support the early childhood system in North Carolina after the COVID-19 pandemic. Check back often for updates.

March 3 Governor Roy Cooper announces first person in North Carolina to test positive for Coronavirus.
March 14In response to a growing number of cases, Governor Cooper announces a two-week school closure, which includes NC Pre-K and pre-K sites in public schools. Other child care settings are encouraged to stay open to meet demand for emergency child care.
March 16 NC DHHS publishes “Interim Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Guidance for Child Care Settings,” which establishes preliminary health and safety precautions for child care providers to follow, including daily health checks of providers, parents and children, frequent disinfection of surfaces and toys and social distancing wherever possible.
March 17Twelve leading child advocacy organizations deliver a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives demanding an economic stimulus package for the child care sector.
March 17 NAEYC releases preliminary results from a COVID-19 survey conducted among child care providers beginning March 12. Nationally, 30% of these respondents said they would not survive a closing longer than two weeks without financial support.
Week of March 17Child Care Services Association (CCSA) employees adapt to begin primarily working from home.

CCSA’s Referral hotline is converted to support essential workers finding emergency child care during the COVID-19 crisis. Programs and providers continue to receive technical assistance from CCSA.
March 18Families First Coronavirus Response Act is passed. This piece of legislation expands emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave.
Week of March 23 CCSA launches its COVID-19 Relief Fund for child care programs, in partnership with the North Carolina Smart Start network. CCSA is able to continue payments to Durham PreK providers, despite closures. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship, Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® recipients also continue to receive financial aid and payments despite school and center closures.
March 24The North Carolina Early Education Coalition delivers a letter to Governor Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, calling for the closure of early childhood programs and the establishment of an emergency child care system.
March 27National COVID-19 stimulus, the CARES Act, is passed. The CARES Act authorizes funding for small business loans, infrastructure and $1,200 payments to any non-dependent adult with an income below $75,000 per year. Families with children will receive $1,200 per adult and an additional $500 for each child under the age of 18. Small business loans are authorized at a rate of 2.5 times the average costs of monthly payroll. CCSA published a document explaining this in detail for child care providers.

As part of the CARES Act, North Carolina is to receive $114 million through expansion to the Child Care Development Block Grant for assistance with child care closures, provider wages and child care subsidy for essential workers. Head Start receives $750 million. (Source: April 1 Webinar from NC Early Education Coalition).

This bill also authorizes significantly increased unemployment insurance and expands eligibility for unemployment insurance to self-employed workers. This expansion has the potential to help family child care providers.
March 27NAEYC releases state-by-state results from its COVID-19 survey of child care providers. In North Carolina, 32% of providers said they would not survive a closure longer than two weeks without support, and 12% said they would not survive closure of any length without immediate support.
March 27Governor Cooper announces stay at home order for North Carolina for 30 days, based on 763 confirmed cases of the virus and 3 confirmed deaths. Non-essential businesses are closed, others are closed to the public and individuals are directed to stay home except for essential trips. The order is later extended to May 8. Child care centers and homes are considered essential businesses under the order.
March 31Deadline for private child care centers and family child care homes in North Carolina to apply to stay open as emergency providers, which they must do in order to legally operate. Programs that do not apply are considered closed and are not eligible for some funding for this reason.

As of midnight on March 31, 3,804 (66%) of North Carolina’s licensed child care settings had applied to remain open, with 58% of private centers and 90% of family child care homes in the state applying to remain open. (Statistics source: NC Early Education Coalition Webinar April 1, 2020)
April 1NC DHHS begins the Emergency Child Care Program subsidy for essential workers with incomes below 300% of the federal poverty line, to be paid through at least April and May.
April 3 NC DHHS and DCDEE announce that all subsidy payments to child care providers will be paid through March, April and May, regardless of whether the center or child care home is open or closed. This is in addition to any subsidy for children of essential workers.
April 3A month from the first case, confirmed COVID cases have reached 2,483 and deaths have reached 29 in North Carolina.
April 7The NC Early Childhood Education Coalition, in collaboration with 20 organizations across the state, releases recommendations for a $125 million child care industry support package.
Week of April 8Around the two week mark of the stay at home order and several weeks after school closures, unemployed North Carolinians struggle to navigate the unemployment insurance system, dealing with long wait times and lack of responsiveness. Carolina Journal reports that North Carolina ranked lowest in the nation at disbursing unemployment payments on time for the first quarter of 2020.
April 10,The Bipartisan Policy Center releases results from a national poll of parents and guardians of young children who used child care in the last six months. Of parents who still need to use formal care, 63% reported difficulty finding care. About a third of parents were staggering work hours with a partner or other household member in order to care for their child(ren), 21% were working fewer hours to care for children and 10% were working outside of their normal hours.
April 17The CDC publishes a report based on Coronavirus hospitalizations from March 1-30, which found profound racial disparities in both COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, particularly for Black and Latinx patients.
April 20CCSA partners with Durham Public Schools and a network of nonprofits and restaurants to take part in Durham FEAST, an initiative to maintain food security for Durham children and families during school closures and other adverse impacts of COVID-19. On April 20, CCSA began preparing 200 breakfasts and 200 lunches on weekdays to support the initiative, and will continue to do so through May 29.
April 22Harvard Center on the Developing Child publishes a statement paper titled “Thinking About Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Impacts Through a Science-Informed, Early Childhood Lens,” in light of data showing disproportionately high rates of hospitalization and severe illness for people of color. The paper ties these outcomes to social determinants of health and chronic stress due to the direct and indirect effects of racism, starting in early childhood.
April 24The Center for American Progress predicts that without further intervention, 4.5 million child care slots could be lost nationwide due to the COVID-19 crisis.
April 28DCDEE data shows that 56% of child care centers and 30% of family child care homes have closed since January in North Carolina.
May 1The first deadline for child care providers to apply for CCSA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, payments to be disbursed in June.
May 1Employees of Walmart, Target, Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods and more walk off the job and ask customers to boycott as part of an International Workers Day strike.
May 3Two months from the first reported case; confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 11,847, and deaths have reached 452 in North Carolina.
May 4Unemployment claims in North Carolina reach 1 million, which is 20% of the state’s workforce. So far, N.C. has made $1.27 billion in payments toward unemployment. Problems with the system persist, but since April 17 federal stimulus unemployment has been going into effect.
May 8Governor Cooper announces Phase 1 of the reopening plan. Phase 1 includes loosening of restrictions with some retail businesses re-opening at reduced capacity. Previously closed child care centers are allowed to reopen serving families with working parents or parents looking for work.
May 11As of the 11, all child care programs are licensed to reopen upon approval of an application. Any reopening child care program must follow COVID-19 NC DHHS public health guidance and commit to new licensing regulations. Some regulations that were lifted during the stay at home order are reinstated, such as limits on screen time for preschool-age children.
May 13The House of Representatives passes the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Act, or HEROES Act, the next proposed stimulus relief package. Though the bill would provide some major relief for families, renters and citizens with student loans, it falls short for the child care field. During the bill’s drafting process, child care policy advocates and researchers created a model to propose a dollar amount needed to keep the child care system afloat for the duration of the crisis. This amount was in the ballpark of $50 billion. Yet, the Heroes Act allocates a mere $7 billion toward child care relief. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill in June at the earliest.
May 14DCDEE announces new operational grants will be provided for child care facilities open in some or all of April, May and June to help cover losses from parent fees due to low enrollment.   Depending on size, rating, subsidy and other factors, eligible centers will receive anywhere between $500 and $30,000 per month, and family child care providers will receive between $359 and $2,500 per month.
Mid May to Early JuneThe Zigler Center in Child Development at the Yale University School of Medicine conducts a confidential survey of child care providers to help understand rates and causes of COVID-19 in child care settings, and estimate the potential spread caused by reopening.
May 21Boston Consulting Group releases a survey conducted in five countries including the U.S., which finds that 60% of respondents have no outside help with caring for their children, and parents now spend an average of 27 additional hours on household labor each week as opposed to before the pandemic. The bulk of this labor is falling to women, who are spending an average of 15 hours more than men on domestic work.
May 22North Carolina enters Phase 2 of the “Safer at Home” reopening plan, which allows some restaurants to open, child care providers to serve all children, larger indoor and outdoor gatherings and events, and more. Despite this, the day after reopening, the state experienced the biggest single-day spike in cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
May 25White Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin kills George Floyd, a Black security officer, father and Minneapolis community member. The other three officers at the scene do not intervene. A video recording of Floyd’s murder goes viral on social media, sparking mass protests against police brutality in Minneapolis. In response to Floyd’s death and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Titi Gulley and countless others, protests erupt in every single state in the U.S. An unprecedented 2,000 cities and towns are participating in the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, as well as over 60 countries.   Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, George Floyd is survived by his three children. His six-year-old daughter, Gianna, can be seen speaking about her father in this video.

Here and here are some resources for talking to young children about racism and police violence. The National Black Child Development institute also has a list of resources on helping children cope with racial trauma.
May 27House Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bobby Scott (VA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) propose the Child Care is Essential Act, which would provide $50 billion in funding to stabilize and support the child care field. In the Senate, a companion bill is also introduced by Senators Murray, Casey, Gillibrand, Smith and Warren. The $50 Billion figure is consistent with the CLASP report referenced earlier in this timeline, which provided a state-by-state estimate of the funding needed to save the predicted 4.5 million child care slots from being lost.
May 30 through June 1Black Lives Matter protests erupt around the state, with thousands attending marches in Raleigh over the weekend. Police deploy tear gas and rubber bullets, and many people are arrested. The City of Raleigh establishes a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. beginning June 1.  
First Two Weeks of JuneAfter reviewing more than 1,000 applications in May, CCSA begins notifying recipients and releasing funds as a part of the CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund.
June 4The Payroll Protection Program is revised, so that borrowers have more flexibility in how they can use the loan, and the likelihood that they will receive full loan forgiveness is increased. The timeline for using the loan is increased to 24 weeks, and the deadline to rehire laid-off workers extended until December. Previously, borrowers were struggling with the loan’s strict requirements that 75% of the funding be used toward payroll. This was reduced to 60%.
June 11Due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, N.C. Health Secretary Mandy Cohen warns in a press conference of the possibility of returning to a stay at home order if conditions do not improve.
June 14In celebration of Pride Month and in mourning of the recent murders of Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, Riah Milton and Tony McDade, thousands rally outside the Brooklyn Museum in New York for Black trans lives. In North Carolina, the recent murders of Black trans women Monika Diamond, Chanel Scurlock and Keyiariah Quick, are still fresh. Being trauma-informed and treating LGBTQIA+ providers and young children with respect and dignity is vital. The NAEYC has provided the following resource, titled “Embracing LGBTQIA+ Staff in Early Childhood Programs.”  
June 15NCDHHS publishes updated Interim Guidance for Child Care Settings, which outlines updated health and safety procedures based on continuing the reopening process, and increased knowledge about COVID-19.
June 22North Carolina Health News publishes an article about the mental health impacts for children of isolation from friends and peers. The article contains perspectives from various studies, including a systematic review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in June, and interview quotes with several social workers.  
Week of June 22As we approach the initially proposed timeline for Phase 3 of reopening, a test positive rate of 10% and per day hospitalization rates reaching record highs in the state make it unlikely that Phase 3 will begin this week. Nearly four months after the first case in North Carolina, there have been a total of 53,840 cases, with 1,250 deaths.