October 9 | 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 is Wednesday, October 21, 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

104 local child care centers are operating now (84% of total registered) — 1 more since last week.

294 local child care homes are operating now (90% of total registered) — no change since last week.

849 families requested a referral since the start of shelter-in-place — 23 more since last week.


  • October 8 — October 16, Monterey County will provide free pop-up drive through COVID-19 testing for residents over 18 at various locations. No appointment is required to get this free test. Click here to see locations, dates and times. For COVID-19 questions and contact tracing, please call the Monterey County Public Health Hotline at 831-769-8700.
  • This year, it is even more important to get a flu shot! You can get your flu shot at your local pharmacy, clinic or through your healthcare provider. Click here for more locations, dates, and more information on the flu shot in Monterey County. 
  • The state Public Health Department has released guidelines for use of public playgrounds. 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!
  • Have a fun and safe Halloween — follow tips and guidelines from the Monterey County Health Department. Activities that are approved include virtual costume parties, car parades, and decorating your home and yard. Traditional Trick-or-Treating activities are not recommended. Click here for more ideas and information from the Monterey County Health Department. 
  • Applications for elementary school waivers for in-person learning are being received and evaluated by Monterey County Public Health. To date, 12 schools have applied for a waiver and 5 have been reviewed so far. Of those 5, 3 have been approved by the California Department of Public Health. As cases of COVID-19 continue to decrease, we anticipate more applications and approvals, and look forward to modified in-person learning at school sites. 
  • Want to hear how child care services will transition from CDE (California Department of Education) to DSS (Department of Social Services)? Join the next Quarterly Child Care Transition stakeholder meeting scheduled for October 29 from 10:00am-11:30am. Register here to participate. 
  • Every Child Counts is sponsoring a webinar for CDE direct service providers on family fee reporting, hold harmless information, and fiscal reporting on October 13 at 10:00am. You can submit your questions in advance, and register here to participate in the webinar. 
  • The California Department 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. Subs who are covering for a staff member are only able to work with one cohort of children per day. 
  • There is still time to register for the Town Hall meeting with Congressman Jimmy Panetta to center children and families in the recovery efforts. The Town Hall meeting is scheduled for October 12 at 4:00pm-5:30pm. 
  • Emergency funds are available for Monterey County residents for utilities, rent and other emergency needs. Call 211 for more information to see if you qualify for these emergency funds. 
  • Become certified in Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN) Level I this month in a four-part training series. Enroll here no later than Thursday, October 15. The training is free for those who work with children prenatal through age five and their families in Monterey County. Meeting dates are: Wednesday, October 21; Thursday, October 22; Wednesday October, 28; Thursday, October 29 from 9:00am – 12:00pm each day. Priority registration will be given to teams (i.e., supervisors participating along with their practitioners).


All Ages Distance Learning Supports

Public Health

  • PVUSD released information about the COVID-19 in Mixteco — watch the video here and please share!
  • PGUSD high school students are making free protective visors for Monterey County. Place your order here.

Resilience & Mental Health Resources

  • Dr. Susan Swick from Ohana, Montage Health’s new child/adolescent behavioral health program, offers several videos for parents to support their children during the pandemic. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to find videos on topics like managing tech time or handling strong emotions.
  • 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 with equity-focused strategies as we move forward toward healing.

Child Care & Education Quality & Business Tools

  • 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. 
  • Guidelines for cohorts of children were released on August 25 by the California Department of Public Health with more information on group sizes including those in licensed child care and exempt child care programs on school campuses. A cohort is defined as no more than 14 children and no more than 2 adults for in-person supervision and limited instruction. Click here for an overview of guidance for group sizes and face coverings.
  • Find the most recent guidelines from the California Department of Public Health for day campsschools, and child care providers.
  • Child Care & Education Businesses: There are still funds available through the Monterey County Works-Small Business Rapid Response Grant Fund. Small business owners can receive grants up to $2,500 to support their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the grant guidelines and application here.

Children’s & Family Activities & Resources

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
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.