June 3 | 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 meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 16 from 1:30-3:30pm.

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

Vaccines By the Numbers

798 ECE, FFN providers, and families have been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine at clinics coordinated by this Coalition with a total of 1,176 doses administered.

62% of Monterey County residents ages 12+ have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as reported here by the County on June 1.


  • Monterey County is now in the yellow tier! Here is the Blueprint for a Safer Economy guide that gives a snapshot of what this means (updated May 18). Congratulations to the county residents for stepping up and doing the right things to stay healthy!
  • What happens on June 15 when the tier system is dropped in California for industry and business sectors? Check out this notice, Beyond the Blueprint, from the California Department of Public Health that outlines the new guidelines. 
  • 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
  • Interested in learning something new? Consider taking a course through the Monterey County Office of Education! Check out this year’s catalog here
  • The Early Learning Network is a group of preschool, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten teachers who meet virtually to discuss articulation, transition, and best practices for the children in their classrooms. Consider joining our learning community and meet other educators in Monterey County. Register for the Early Learning Network here.
  • After serving as the president and CEO of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) for 21 years, Martin Castro has announced his retirement from the organization. Mr. Castro will continue to serve as CEO through the search for his replacement. For more information on his legacy and leadership with MAOF, please see this press release. 
  • Join the First Partner’s Summer Book Club for children 3-12. This 10-week program promotes children’s literacy and participation in summer reading programs hosted by local libraries throughout the state. Click here for the summer booklist, and here for information on how to participate. 
  • Your voice was heard! Many Monterey County members supported Early Childhood Education at the most recent County Board of Supervisors budget hearing on June 3. Those speaking supported increased funding for vouchers, infrastructure, mental health, and other services included Denise Noel from Salinas Elementary School District, Brenda Heller from MAOF, Alejandra Salgado from CAPSLO, and Graciela Alfario, a parent of three children. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

  • Confused about the new guidance on masks? The California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA have decided to keep the existing guidelines on wearing masks until further notice. You should continue to wear masks when occupying indoor spaces like schools, workplaces, public transportation, grocery stores, hospitals, etc. Fully vaccinated people are able to refrain from face coverings outdoors, except for crowded events such as concerts, flea markets, etc. This is the current guidance you should follow until the Governor lifts additional restrictions in California (anticipated June 15). 
  • 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. Or get your COVID-19 vaccine appointments through MyTurn.CA.gov or by phone at 1-833-422-4255 (M-F 8:00am-8:00pm, Sa-Su 8:00am-5:00pm).
  • 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. 
  • Need more reasons to get vaccinated? On May 3, updated public health guidelines regarding fully vaccinated people were released. Updates include new mask-wearing, quarantine, and social distancing guidelines that are less restrictive if you have been fully vaccinated. Check out the CDC update on fully vaccinated people here.
  • Help spread the word about the importance of vaccinations in your 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! 
  • General info about COVID-19 vaccine for child care providers from Licensing: frequently asked questions, web links to vaccines, and other information that may be helpful. Directors, managers, and supervisors are encouraged to share this information with their staff and others working with children. Please feel free to copy and share this information. 
  • 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.

General COVID-19 & Public Health

  • The California Department of Public Health released new COVID-19 guidance as our community opens back up: Private Venues and Events, Indoor Seated Live Events and Performances, and Private Gatherings
  • 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. 
  • 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
  • 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. 
  • 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.


All Ages Distance Learning Supports

  • Need enrichment resources for your child this summer? Check out the Monterey County Children and Youth Activity Guide here for your active family. There are hundreds of activities including dance, science, reading, and writing activities for 12+ and other great ideas to keep your child engaged in learning and fun all year round. Some activities offered are in-person and some are online — 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. 
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 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.

Resilience & Mental Health Resources

  • 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

  • Your voice makes a difference! Thank you to Laurie Ramirez from MCOE, Brenda Heller from MAOF, Susan Ratliff from Alisal USD, Eliza Gomez from MCOE, and Sonja Koehler from Bright Beginnings for providing public comment this week at various Board of Supervisors meetings supporting early childhood initiatives! The Board is considering how ARPA funds and other county funds will be used to support children and families and our early childhood workforce, priorities based on your insights and feedback. Other recent speakers include Angie Ramirez, Maria Guerrero and Daisy Hernandez from CAPSLO, Laura Dunn from Carmel USD, Barbara Martinez from Pacific Grove USD, Dina Lozoya from MAOF, Sonia Jaramillo from MCOE, Megan Matteoni from MCOE, Briana Hernandez from Mujeres en Accion, and Ana Hernandez from Mamas de Salinas Abogan. Consider making a public statement to support our collective priorities! Contact Sonja Koehler, sonja@brightbeginningsmc.org for more info.
  • The Governor’s May Revise was released on May 14, with lots of funding proposed for child care and support for low-income communities. Check out the May Revise here (Health and Human Services-Children’s Programs start on page 15 of this section). 
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Are you interested in starting a child care business in your home? 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. 
  • 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. Flyers are available here
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 Early Childhood Policy Council (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 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. 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.
  • 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. 

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.
  • 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.