September 11 | 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, to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The next Child Care Planning Council meeting Wednesday, September 16, 6:00-7:00pm. Please RSVP here.

The next Coalition Call is Wednesday, September 23, 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

By the Numbers

90 local child care centers are operating now (76% of total registered) — 14 more since last week.

289 local child care homes are operating now (89% of total registered) — 2 less since last week.

770 families requested a referral since the start of shelter-in-place — 19 more since last week.

358 early childhood education providers enrolled for supplies vouchers — no change since last week.

  • 37 child care centers, 284 child care homes, and 37 family, friends & neighbors

$414,645 has been disbursed for emergency supplies.

$46,876 is still available for emergency supplies.


  • At this week’s Coalition call, we heard from child care and education providers from both centers and child care homes about the challenges of distance learning — whether providing it or supporting it. Home-based educators are supporting students of all ages in their distance learning, juggling their attention between younger children in their regular curriculum, and those in distance learning with new schedules and technology needs. They shared that they need headsets and work stations for distance learners, new learning and cleaning supplies that are beyond their normal budgets, and that it’s difficult to find assistants to hire. Coalition members have already connected child care and education providers with surplus furniture from their warehouses —but the need is still there. 
  • Alisal Unified School District is hosting a Community Update on the Buckhorn Early Learning Center on September 15 at 5:30pm. Click here and scroll down to see their latest information and how to join the community meeting (including through Facebook Live here).
  • The Monterey County Health Department launched a new Spanish COVID-19 news system through WhatsApp, with important information on safety measures, resources, updates, and alerts. Simply send a message through WhatsApp to 831-320-0864 and ask to be added to the group chat. Participants will receive 1-2 weekly texts with important information related to COVID-19 health matters. Other ways to receive information from the Health Department include MontereyCountyCOVID19.orgFacebook, and Twitter
  • Infant Family Early Childhood Mental Health with First 5 Monterey County: This training series is designed to strengthen a diverse workforce of Monterey County partners across all systems. Offered virtually and free for those who work with children, prenatal through age five, and their families. Participants must live or work in Monterey County. Enroll here — open until all spots are filled.
  • Governor Newsom unveiled Public Service Announcements through Sesame Workshop on Back to School! Watch videos in English and Spanish of the adorable messages from Elmo and his dad Louie. 
  • The US Census survey closes September 30. Please encourage all community members to fill out their Census to ensure proper funding to the county, especially for children and families. Click here for more information. 
  • Quality Matters is offering new professional development opportunities for all child caregivers and educators:
  • Interested in opening a Family Child Care Home? Learn how you can from the local Resource & Referral agency, MAOF, in a two-hour orientation on Thursday, September 17 from 6:00-8:00pm. RSVP at (831) 757-0775.
  • Enrollment for school-based early learning is still open! Families enrolled in preschool, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten are eligible for free meals and have access to learning tools. Some schools are online, some are packet-based, some are a blend. Contact your school to find out more. Enroll in MCOE Early Learning Programs (Head Start & State Preschool) here.


All Ages Distance Learning Supports

  • It is estimated that 97% of all students will engage in distance learning starting in the fall.
    • Distance learning looks different for every school, every grade, and every family. Quality Matters has shared resources for families and child care and education providers, click here and scroll to the bottom to learn more. 
    • PVUSD released “8 Tips for Families During Distant Learning in Mixteco” — watch the video here and please share.
  • 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 couple resources (available in multiple languages soon):  
  • An Alisal Union School District Kindergarten teacher created a Spanish and English site full of fun, music-filled learning activities called Kinder Rockets. It’s gone nationwide!

Child Care & Education Quality & Business Tools

  • Monterey County Office of Education and the Monterey County Health Department have provided a quick 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 camps, schools, and child care providers.
  • Interested in joining the AmeriCorps for Monterey County? United Way is looking for 12 people to join the Preschool Service Corps. This position is for 11 months and includes a stipend adding up to $16,000 for the year, health care, and child care benefits. There is a high need for members in King City, Greenfield, and Salinas. Adults living in the community or outside of Monterey County are encouraged to apply. Part-time and full-time opportunities available. 
  • 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.  
  • Emergency supplies vouchers for all types of child care providers (except programs of school districts) are still available and are valid through September 30. To apply for funds, complete this form as soon as possible and email it to A specialist will follow up to confirm your application and details for receiving funds, as available. More information for school districts is coming soon.

Children’s Activities

  • As of late August, there were over several hundred active fires throughout California with three of those raging in Monterey County. First 5 Monterey County is here to support the health and safety of our community. Check out their Wildfire Resources webpage for information for families as we navigate through this challenging time.
  • 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:
  • Engage children with the Census activity book in both English and Spanish. It is quite cute and fun! Find more information through First 5 Monterey County here

Resilience and 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 pandemicClick 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.
  • Resiliency supports for parents, educators — just about anyone, really — are available through the Health Department’s Forward Together Initiative. Click here for more information.

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.
  • Free COVID-19 testing is available. Child care and education providers are strongly encouraged to get tested. Appointments are required. Register by clicking here or by calling 888-634-1123. More information, including times and locations, can be found here on these posters — please post and share within your networks.

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