February 26 | Weekly Digest: COVID-19 Response & Recovery for Child Care & Wellbeing

Bright Beginnings Advocacy, Community

COVID-19 Response & Recovery Plan

Our goal is to ensure that young children have quality, nurturing, and safe child care and education as physical distancing and other guidelines continue in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The next Coalition Call will be held on Wednesday, March 10 from 1:30-2:45pm. If you are not already receiving calendar items, please RSVP here.

For more information about this effort and the coalition behind it, please visit our web hub here.

This Week’s Highlights

A few highlights from this last week are shared below. Previous Weekly Digests are available here

By the Numbers

98 local child care centers are operating now (81% of total registered) — no change since last week.

291 local child care homes are operating now (89% of total registered) — 11 more since last week.

1,080 families requested a referral since the start of shelter-in-place — 22 more since last week.


  • In the national news! Child Care: ‘the invisible work that makes all other work possible’. Read more here. 
  • Hot off the press! Updated vaccination clinics have been added to the Health Department Website. Click here to schedule a vaccine if you are 65+ and working in the ECE, Education, Ag industry or live in eligible zip codes. 
  • California’s recovery starts with childcare! Read and share this fact sheet with advocates to support the early childhood workforce and recovery efforts. Get the fact sheet here
  • Join the Quality Matters information session on how to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 2 from 6:30-7:30pm. This informational session will help the Early Childhood Education workforce as they navigate through the registration process. Click here to access the flyers. 
  • The CDC has released new school guidelines (updated February 22) to help protect students and staff from COVID-19. Check out the new Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year here and School Guidance Checklist here
  • Monterey County is making progress by getting more vaccines to residents and preparing to re-open schools, according to the Monterey County Community Newsletter. See the newsletter here and sign up for free.  
  • Mothers are three times more likely to not work because of lack of childcare, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and are more likely to experience burnout than fathers. The Monterey County Weekly highlights the struggles of mothers who are juggling work, distance learning, child care and other stressors during the pandemic. Click here to read more. 
  • Practicing some simple mindfulness activities with your children can help both adults and children when they are feeling anxious or stressed. Zero to Three provides some easy activities to do with your children that can be fun and beneficial for your emotional health! Check out their activities here
  • Shake off that stress with a livestream video and instruction featuring Forza Vital. This fun and motivational group activity is being offered by MAOF every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:45-7:20pm. Contact MAOF at 831-757-0775 to register.
  • Get Tested for COVID-19! We encourage anyone who is concerned that they may have or been exposed to COVID-19 get tested at one of many testing sites in Monterey County, whether or not you have symptoms. Each testing site has different schedules and requirements for appointments. See the various testing sites here. For OptumServe sites, testing is generally preferred to be by appointment, but there are walk-ins available, too. Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-634-1123 or visiting COVID-19 Test Registration.
  • Get the COVID-19 FAQ’s from Natividad Chief Medical Officer Dr. Craig Walls. This expert guidance includes answers to some basic questions on the COVID-19 virus including how to avoid getting infected, testing, and mask protocol. Click here for his responses to your questions. 
  • The date for Round 2 of the Small Business Relief program has been extended until March 8, 2021. There are still funds available for Monterey County ECE programs with 2-25 employees. Check out the Monterey County CARES funds for small businesses here for the details, including a pre-recorded video in English and Spanish with information on how to apply. 
  • Retired Supervisor Simon Salinas got his COVID-19 vaccine at Natividad Hospital last week! In this short video, he talks about the quick and easy process and how important the vaccines are for our community. The video is available in Spanish too! Click here to see his post. 
  • Want to know where funding for the Buckhorn Early Learning Center comes from? Learn how you can make a difference for the children in the Alisal community. Please join the Alisal Early Learning Advisory Committee Zoom meeting on March 10 from 5:00-6:00pm. The link to the meeting is here!
  • The California Department of Public Health released new guidance on outdoor and indoor sports for adults and children beginning today, February 26. It includes guidelines on numbers of participants, observers and mask requirements, as well as a table of perceived risk by type of sport activity. Click here for the guidance. 
  • Workers who have questions about their rights including unemployment, keeping workplaces safe, temporary housing, and other questions during the pandemic can call the California COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-422-4255 or go to the California for All COVID-19 page here
  • The CDC now recommends all persons who have been exposed to COVID-19 quarantine for 10 days instead of 14 days. For the updated guidance (released February 18), click here
  • The Golden State Stimulus Package was signed by the Governor. This is great news for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus and are in need of funds and support. Read the information from Senator Ana Caballero’s office here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

  • Go to Montereycountychildcare.org for the 3 easy steps to get information on the vaccine! 
  • Want to know if it’s your turn to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Click here to register for My Turn, a state-wide notification system that will let you know if you are currently eligible for the vaccine. 
  • When you become eligible, you can make an appointment for your vaccine at one the following:
    • www.MCVaccinate.org (NOTE: you must use the internet browser Chrome and have an email address to use this scheduling service).
    • CVS Pharmacy is providing appointments in Salinas, Carmel, and Monterey.
  • Several hospitals have released vaccine information and appointments for eligible Monterey County residents. Visit their websites by clicking the links below:
  • Vaccines are important to help stop the spread and reach herd immunity against the COVID-19 virus. These posters from Yolo County are available here to download and share!
  • The CDC has released information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here for the safety information and here for the myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccine.


All Ages Distance Learning Supports

  • Need help with distance learning for your school-age child? Families and providers in Monterey County who need help with distance learning can get support from their school district’s technology department. Click here for a list of district online tech support links. 
  • The CDC has released an immunization and developmental tracker for children 0-6 years. Click here to download the CDC tracker.

COVID-19 & Public Health

  • Think you might have been exposed to COVID-19? Here is a chart that outlines the steps you can take to limit the spread. 
  • The Monterey County Health Department has a FAQ page that answers many questions related to COVID-19. Check out their site here, which may help you understand how Monterey County is addressing the pandemic.
  • The California Department of Public Health has provided clarification on staff and cohort sizes in child care settings. In this guidance, staff working with children under age five are able to work with children in one or two cohorts. This allows staff who typically work in the morning and afternoon sessions to continue to work with both groups if needed. Substitutes who are covering for a staff member are only able to work with one cohort of children per day.
  • Monterey County Office of Education and the Monterey County Health Department have provided a scenario map to help programs respond to cases of COVID-19. Use this communication and action sheet to help you make the right decisions for families and children in your community. 
  • Find the most recent guidelines from the California Department of Public Health for day campsschools, and child care providers.

Resilience & Mental Health Resources

  • The California Department of Education, in partnership with the Great Kindness Challenge® (GKC), encourages all teachers, staff, child care centers, family child care, and preschools to participate in GKC whenever is convenient for you. Access the free materials for your agency here.
  • Does your child need more emotional or mental health support than you can provide? The Kinship Center Mobile Response Team provides immediate services to families with a child or youth (ages 0-21) experiencing a mental or emotional health crisis – big or small. Services are available M-F 8:00am-10:00pm, S-S from 11:00am-9:00pm and by hotline 24/7 at (831) 687-4379.
  • COVID-19 Child Care & Wellbeing Response & Recovery Coalition partners have posted valuable resources on how to talk about diversity and racism with young children. Check out what First 5 Monterey County has shared:
  • Social-Emotional Learning is a critical part of supporting the children and families in our community. This Social-Emotional Roadmap provides critical practices for reopening schools with equity-focused strategies as we move forward toward healing. 

Child Care & Education Quality & Business Tools

  • Community Care Licensing has numerous FAQs related to COVID-19 and ECE settings. Be sure to check the website for the most updated information here
  • The State Master Plan for Early Learning and Care has been submitted to the Governor. The plan includes recommendations for pay equity, quality enhancements, training and education paths, better outcomes for children, and other important elements. Our own local representative, Sonia Jaramillo, is a member of the ECPC providing input and a voice in the development of the plan. Click here to access the entire report. 
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released its report on the Importance of Child Care to U.S. Families and Businesses and cross-sector solutions to recover from COVID-19. Feel free to use this publication in your efforts. Click here to see the report.
  • Community Care Licensing has released best practices for child care educators who are serving school-age children. The information includes ways to enhance communication with families, the importance of schedules, support for distance learning, free meals, and other tips. Click here to learn more.
  • Interested in starting a Family Child Care program? CAPSLO can help you with design, paperwork, and tips to get you started! Contact Daisy Jacuinde at (831) 821-1593 or djacuinde@capslo.org for more information.
  • Early Start provides free services to infants and toddlers (0-3 years) with disabilities and their families. The San Andreas Regional Center serves Monterey County and can provide speech, occupational and physical therapy, nutrition, nursing, and other services. Flyers and information to share with providers and parents are available to help understand the importance of early intervention and prevention. Click here for more information. 
  • The statewide Resource and Referral Network released a report highlighting the impacts of COVID-19 on family child care arrangements, plans, and preferences. Earlier in 2020, over 12,000 parents responded to a statewide survey. Click here to access the report.

Children’s & Family Activities & Resources

  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium has online family-friendly science activities to encourage wonder and connection to the natural world. Check out these amazing resources here! They also offer online courses in English and Spanish here
  • Want to go to your local park or playground? Here is a link to city parks that will help you plan your trip. Some parks are still closed, so please check the park listing before you go! The California Public Health Department has released guidelines for use of public playgrounds.
  • Unable to pay rent due to COVID-19? The Attorney General has provided a simple form for tenants to notify their landlords about their inability to pay rent. Click here for the form. 
  • An Alisal Union School District Kindergarten teacher created a Spanish and English site called Kinder Rockets, full of fun, music-filled learning activities. It’s gone nationwide!

It Takes a Coalition 

The emergency response providing coordinated solutions for child care and education is led by a coalition of early childhood champions, united under the Bright Beginnings Strategic Framework to better support all young children and their families, to prepare every child for life and school. This coalition is ever-growing:

4th Monterey County Supervisorial District
30th California Assembly District
Building Healthy Communities
Carmel Unified School District
Child Care Planning Council
Child Development Centers and Continuing Development Incorporated
Children’s Council
Early Development Services
First 5 Monterey County
Go Kids, Inc.
Health Department
MAOF Resource & Referral & Alternative Payment Program
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Natividad Medical Center
North Monterey County Unified School District
Office of Education – Early Learning Program
Office of Education – Educational Services
Public Health Office
Quality Matters Monterey County
Salinas City Elementary School District
Social Services – Child Abuse Prevention Council
United Farmworkers Foundation
United Way of Monterey County

A special thanks to the coordinating team and major funders: Bright Beginnings Backbone, Child Care Planning Council, First 5 Monterey County, MAOF Resource & Referral, Quality Matters, and the United Way of Monterey County.

For more information, please contact sonja@brightbeginningsmc.org.