July 29 | Weekly Digest: COVID-19 Response & Recovery for Child Care & Wellbeing

Bright Beginnings Advocacy, Community

COVID-19 Response & Recovery Plan

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

Summer break! The next Coalition meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 11 from 1:30-3:30pm. 

Weekly Digests will still be published. If you have questions about new regulations as they relate to child care and education settings, please contact Laura@BrightBeginningsMC.org.

This Week’s Highlights

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

Vaccines By the Numbers

73% of Monterey County residents ages 12+ have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as reported here by the Monterey County Health Department on July 26.


  • Even if you are vaccinated, face masks are now recommended indoors. See the updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health (July 28) located here. FYI, Monterey County is considered to be in the MODERATE level of COVID-19 transmission. 
  • Interested in a career in early childhood education, but not sure how to start? There are free classes, apprenticeship opportunities, and English language classes available this fall. For more information or to register, call (831) 386-7105, and share this flyer with your community!
  • Free meals are now the norm for all students enrolled in school! This is great news and helps to reduce the stigma of poverty that many children face. Although free meals were going to be offered due to the pandemic for the 2021-22 school year, a new law effective in the 2022-23 school year allows for free breakfast and lunch to continue.
  • Want to know if a family qualifies for state-subsidized child care? A new Family Monthly Fee Schedule sent by CDSS is now available here, determining if families are eligible based on income and family size. The state preschool eligibility is located here
  • Check out this video from Early Childhood Pathways to Success. It shows information about apprenticeships in ECE and the importance of supporting teachers in the field.
  • In order to safely support in-person child care operations, the CDC has issued new Child Care Guidance (July 9) here
  • Your opinion matters! Please take the Community Resilience Survey to share your voice and for a chance to win a free emergency kit. Share with other local Monterey County residents and partners. Individuals can access the survey in English and Spanish here. Organizations can take the survey here
  • Did you miss the PBS NewsHour Specials? Click here to access the entire series. Videos are less than 10 minutes and can be shared with families, leaders, and your community.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

  • The Monterey County Health Department is recommending all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks when in public, indoor spaces such as grocery and retail stores or theaters. This recommendation comes from an abundance of caution from the Monterey County Health Department and is listed here for your convenience. 
  • The CDC has released new COVID-19 guidelines for the K-12 school system (inclusive of TK, they just call it K-12).
  • There is one requirement for all schools for the 2021-2022 school year — the wearing of masks indoors by all individuals on school campuses, no matter their vaccination status. The California Department of Public Health released updated K-12 Schools Guidance which modifies previous guidance.
  • Did you misplace your COVID-19 vaccine card? Sign up for this new digital vaccine card from the California Department of Public Health! Click here to try it out! 
  • Visit the Monterey County Vaccines website for a comprehensive and up-to-date list of vaccine clinics, business resources, and other important information to keep Monterey County moving in the right direction. Click here to access this site for all things vaccine related, produced by the Monterey County COVID Collaborative. 
  • Check out new guidelines for businesses, travel, gatherings, and more. Check out this notice, Beyond the Blueprint, for newest information.
  • The Pfizer vaccine is now available for children 12 and up. Read the California Public Health notice here
  • Visit www.MontereyCountyChildCare.org for easy steps to finding vaccine appointments and other vaccine-related information. 
  • Get your second dose! It is important for everyone to become fully vaccinated — if you have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, you will need to get a second dose. Only fully vaccinated people are adequately protected from the virus. Click here to learn more.
  • Help spread the word about the importance of vaccinations in your Spanish-speaking community. Here are tools and examples of some short and impactful messages for the Spanish-speaking community that can help. 
  • Check out a whole library of vaccine information in indigenous languages! Centro Bilingual and Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis created multilingual videos with three important messages for our community: to look in their county for when it’s their turn, a message on the safety of the vaccine, and the potential side effects. Click here for the library of videos and share widely! 
  • The CDC has released information on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Click here for the safety information and here for the myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • 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.

General COVID-19 & Public Health

  • Keep your children and family safe during extreme heat days! Hydrate and protect your children from the sun with sunscreen and protective clothing like hats. Never leave your child in a car without adult supervision. Click here for some hot weather safety tips for children. Pets are part of the family, too. Click here for more tips from the ASPCA on how to keep pets safe during the summer months. 
  • Testing for COVID-19 is still important to track variants and to keep our community safe. Here is where you can get a list of testing sites in Monterey County. 
  • Here is a new quick guide for educators who think a child may be showing signs of COVID-19
  • 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 on site. Use this communication and action sheet to help you make the right decisions for families and children in your community. 
  • The Monterey County Health Department has a COVID-19 FAQ page. Check out their site here.
  • Think you might have been exposed to COVID-19? Here is a chart that outlines the steps you can take to limit the spread. 
  • Community Care Licensing has released their summer quarterly update. Information includes standing against violence, water safety, background check reminders, and more. Read the quarterly update here.

Resources & Tools

Financial Relief for Families

  • Interested in finding out if you are eligible for the most recent Child Tax Credit? Answer a few questions on this link and see if you qualify.
  • Did you know that subsidized child care fees have been waived for 2021? This is great news for families in the following programs:
    • Alternative Payment Programs (CAPP), including Migrant Alternative Payment Programs (CMAP) 
    • Migrant Child Care and Development Programs (CMIG) 
    • General Child Care and Development Programs (CCTR)
    • Family Child Care Home Education Networks (CFCC)
    • Child Care and Development Services for Children with Special Needs (CHAN)
    • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Stages One, Two (C2AP), and Three (C3AP)
    • Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children
  • Families with children may be able to receive tax credits — even if they did not file taxes! Share these tools and resources to help families access more financial help as they recover from the pandemic and shut down. 
    • Child Care Tax Credit: You can claim a monthly amount per child in advance of filing your taxes, starting July 15. Find out more here. If you earn too little to file taxes, you still qualify — here is the new tool to find out how.
    • Earned Income Tax Credit: For moderate to low income families with children. Here is more information on the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • There are many opportunities to find financial relief. Visit the Monterey County Health Department website for Emergency Aid Resources here and see the flyer (in English and Spanish) here
  • Rent and utility assistance is still available through United Way and their partners. Call 211 or fill out an application online at www.mcrenthelp.com and share these flyers.
  • Emergency broadband discounts are available to help people stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Benefits include discounts on broadband services and equipment, up to $50 per month ($75 for those on Tribal lands), and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer for qualifying low-income families. See if you qualify for these services and learn more about this opportunity here
  • FEMA will offset funeral or burial expenses up to $7,000. Funds are eligible for US citizens, non-citizen nationals, or qualified aliens, though there is no requirement for the decedent to be any of these. Apply by calling their dedicated line at 844-684-6333. Our thoughts go out to those who have lost a loved one during the pandemic. 
  • File your taxes by October 15 and you may be eligible for extra stimulus money! The Golden State Stimulus package has funding for those filing with social security or ITIN. You could be eligible for up to $1200 in stimulus funding! Check out and share this flyer with families and friends. 
  • Do you know someone who was impacted by the 2020 wildfires? Santa Cruz and Monterey County residents who are undocumented and were unable to collect unemployment or access other state funds may be eligible for financial relief if they lost wages, severely reduced working hours, lost employment or housing. Call 831-225-0545 or click here for flyers to share with families and agencies.
  • Economic hardship is much more common among California residents who are undocumented. See how policymakers can provide support such as CalFresh and Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status to these valued community members to meet their basic needs. Read this brief from the California Budget Center here.

All Ages Learning & Development Supports

  • Inclusion Works is available now for all programs. This second edition includes updated strategies to help programs that are working with children 0-12 years of age and their families. The information included is great for children with and without disabilities! Get your copy here.
  • Poisonings are preventable. The key to prevention is knowing where the resources are to help you act fast. Know the poison control number! It’s 1-800-222-1222. Click here for a free poster for homes, centers, and businesses.
  • Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC) can help educators, families, and children cope with traumatic experiences and challenges as well as build social emotional skills. Their Coming Together and the ABC’s of Racial Justice includes information on how adults can talk about race, prejudice, and skin color. More tips and activities from SSIC are available here.
  • Interested in learning something new? Consider taking a course through the Monterey County Office of Education! Check out this year’s catalog here
  • Read how parent-teacher communication and technology can support student learning, especially in underserved communities in this article. FASTalk, a text based tool for family engagement developed by the Family Engagement Lab, promotes equity and builds partnerships between teachers and families. Learn more here
  • Need enrichment resources for your child this summer? Check out the Monterey County Children and Youth Activity Guide here for your active family — many are free. 
  • Creating Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments for Children is the latest resource from the CDC. It is a collaboration between various experts including the California Department of Public Health, Department of Social Services, Child Abuse Prevention, and others to highlight positive ways to elevate primary prevention and positive parenting. Check out this informative resource and share it with your community. 
  • We all need to prepare for the heat, potential power outages and wildfires! Community Care Licensing has released a PIN that outlines some steps that can help child care providers keep their children safe during what we expect to be a very hot summer! Check out the PIN here
  • Summer camps are accepting applications for this summer! Sign up your little ones for some of these great camp opportunities to keep them engaged during the summer months. YMCA Summer Day Camp
  • The Center for Disease Control has released an immunization and developmental tracker for children 0-6 years old. Click here to view and download the tracker.
  • 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.

Resilience & Mental Health Resources

  • The final release of the ACEs Aware Trauma-Informed Network of Care Roadmap is available for review, including the slide deck and transcript. In case you missed it, the information is available here.
  • Feeling the hard year of COVID, wildfires, and racial awakening? Here are some ways that self compassion can help you in the fight for social justice. Check out this article from the Greater Good Science Center and take the quiz.
  • Feeling anxious about socializing with others, even if you’re vaccinated? Check out these 6 Tips for Socialization After You’ve Been Vaccinated from the Greater Good Science Center.
  • Children may be experiencing a range of emotions, including stress during this time. Parents can help children prepare for stressful moments by talking about feelings with their children to encourage healthy emotional development. Check out this great resource from Child Care Aware. 
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed, sad, angry, or “just not good enough” with your child? Do you know someone who can use additional support including playgroups, classes, and postpartum support? There is help available for parents and guardians who may be dealing with the additional stress of parenting. Please share these important print-ready flyers that include lots of important resources. 
  • 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
  • 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

  • Want to see a snapshot of where the funding is going in California’s education system? Check out this link from EdSource for a quick overview.  
  • Early childhood careers are important to the overall health of our economy. Check out this brief from CAEL that explores the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to the child care industry, and pathways to a career in ECE. 
  • Check out this guidance for child care providers! This June 29, 2021 release from the California Department of Public Health and CDSS supersedes the previous guidance and helps clarify previous directives.
  • Do you have a Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother or the 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider in your home? We want to make sure you are aware of the Fisher-Price Infant equipment recall listed here.
  • The Preschool Learning Foundations (volume 2) is now available in Spanish! Click here to access your copy. 
  • July 1 marked the day that several programs switched from CDE to CDSS. Find more information on this important transition for publicly funded child care programs. We are here to help when you need it!
  • There are many free trainings and resources available for ECE providers in Monterey County! Check out the Quality Matters webpage here to get information on the latest including their calendar of events. 
  • Are you interested in starting a child care business in your homeInterested 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. Flyers are available here
    • There are funds available to help you get started and a new learning cohort is starting soon. Contact MAOF at 831-757-0775 and share this flyer with your friends and family. 
  • 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.

Policy & Advocacy

  • A lot is happening in Sacramento to pass the budget and legislation that affects child care & education. And there’s a lot of good news, including parents’ continued right to choose between enrolling their four-year-old in preschool, Head Start, or TK, even though age eligibility is expanding for TK (as long as they meet all eligibility requirements for those programs). To learn more, go directly to the bill (SB 130, Section 60. Section 48000 of Education Code) or read this summary of highlights.
  • Essential workers receiving child care vouchers are eligible to extend their care through June of 2022! Families who enrolled in the California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP) Emergency Childcare in the spring of 2020 are eligible. New families can also enroll if they meet eligibility requirements. See the details here or call MAOF at 831-757-0775.
  • California’s recovery starts with child care! Read and share this fact sheet with advocates to support the early childhood workforce and recovery efforts. Get the fact sheet here
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released its report on the Importance of Childcare to U.S. Families and Businesses and cross-sector solutions to recover from COVID-19. Feel free to use this publication in your efforts. 
  • 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 of MCOE Early Learning Program, is a member of the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) providing input and a voice in the development of the plan. Click here to access the entire report.

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.