November 20 | Weekly Digest: COVID-19 Response & Recovery for Child Care & Wellbeing

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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, December 2, 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) — 1 less since last week.

296 local child care homes are operating now (90% of total registered) — 3 less since last week.

941 families requested a referral since the start of shelter-in-place — 20 more since last week.


News

  • Through a partnership between the Monterey County Department of Social Services and United Way, CARES Act funding has been made available for stipends for early child care and education providers. Apply here. If you have questions, contact Mayra Perez Diaz at mayra.perezdiaz@unitedwaymcca.org
  • Pregnant women may be at increased risk for serious illness if they contract COVID-19. The California Department of Public Health has developed guidance for pregnant and nursing mothers. It is important to spread the word to these vulnerable community members to support their ongoing health and the health of their babies. 
  • Interested in how the California Department of Education will transition child care services to the Department of Social Services? There is a website that allows public comment and meeting schedules for interested individuals. Check out their website and share your ideas here. For their quarterly progress report, click here.
  • The Alisal Unified School District is looking for parents of the community to serve on an advisory committee for the new Early Learning Center at Buckhorn. Interested parents, please fill out this interest form. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 8. Details will be posted here.
  • The Center for Disease Control has updated information about vaccines. Click here to read 8 Things to Know About the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Plans. 
  • Monterey County Public Health Department has published a report on the impact of COVID-19 on populations that do not have adequate access to nutrition, housing, health care, and other necessities for healthy living. Get a copy of the report here
  • Quality Matters is hosting an online discussion on December 9 with Community Care Licensing Advocates who will present on best practices for programs reopening classrooms with physical distancing guidelines. Register here to attend (Spanish translation will be available). 
  • There are several free pop-up COVID-19 testing sites available to Monterey County Residents in the coming weeks:  

Resources

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 technology department. Click here for a list of district online tech support links. 
  • Need support helping your child with special needs during distance learning? Click here for an article from the Greater Good Science Center that may help, and feel free to subscribe — it’s free! 
  • We as a community are getting creative on how to provide child care and distance learning supports for children of all ages. While we don’t have all the solutions to this complex puzzle, here are a few resources (available in multiple languages soon): 

Public Health

  • 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 state Public Health Department has released guidelines for use of public playgrounds
  • 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.
  • Pajaro Valley Unified School District released information about the COVID-19 in Mixteco — watch the video here and please share!

Resilience & Mental Health Resources

  • Monterey County Forward Together is a free way to connect with others to support your social-emotional well-being, including a network for teens, parents, seniors, and new moms. Facilitation is provided by Monterey County Behavioral Health staff and other partners. Learn more here.
  • 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. 
  • The Kinship Center in Monterey County provides training and support for families and children including those experiencing social-emotional challenges. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kinship Center Mobile Response Team has been providing immediate services to families with a child or youth experiencing crisis, ages 0-21. 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.
  • The Kinship Center’s Families Matter series is available every Tuesday at 7:00pm with a variety of topics. Visit here or contact 1-800-4-kinship for more information.
  • 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:

Child Care & Education Quality & Business Tools

  • 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 the year, 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
  • 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. 
  • The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8 housing) is accepting applications! Those interested should apply online. Computers are available for use at the Housing Authority located at 123 Rico Street in Salinas. It is important to apply early due to the limited funds available. Click here for more information and to apply, applications are available now through November 26.
  • 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
CAPSLO
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
YMCA

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.