September 17 | Weekly Digest: COVID-19 Response & Recovery for Child Care & Wellbeing

Bright Beginnings Advocacy, Community

COVID-19 Response & Recovery for Child Care & Wellbeing

Our goal is to ensure that young children have quality, nurturing, and safe child care and education during the pandemic. For more information about this effort and the coalition behind it, please visit our web hub here.

The next Coalition meeting will be on Wednesday, September 22 from 1:30-3:30pm. If you have information, flyers, or events you would like to share in this publication or at the next Coalition meeting, 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

80% 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 September 13. Follow these current safety measures.

News

  • There is a new Student/Employee Exposure Chart with updated information available for programs, homes, and employers. Here are the latest versions. 
  • Universal TK is becoming a reality in California. Join the EdSource webinar on September 30 from 12:00 – 1:00pm to learn how TK fits between the PreK and Kinder worlds. Register here
  • Do your kids say school is “boring”? Check out this article from the Greater Good Science Center that digs deeper into why children sometimes say they are bored at school, with some tips on how to help. 
  • Last chance to apply for the California Small Business Relief Program! There are several upcoming information sessions available that may answer your questions. Click here to register, here for the flyer, or contact El Pájaro Community Development Corporation at (831) 722-1224.
  • Removing barriers to careers in ECE is a top priority in our community. Read more about these efforts in this recent article by Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) highlighting The Salinas Valley Adult Education Consortium and partners working toward an ECE apprenticeship. 
  • Want to know more about how the disparity in funding at the school level impacts equity for children? Check out this eye opening article from Forbes on school funding inequities. 
  • Dads are important too! Join the Fatherhood Connection: Engaging Dads at the Community Level sponsored by ZERO TO THREE. This webinar will be held on September 23 from 11:00am – 12:00pm. Register here
  • In July, the CDSS released new income guidelines for families in subsidized programs. Click here to see the Child Care Bulletin with the new eligibility scale for subsidized child care. 
  • A notice was issued from the DSS on September 1 with clarifying information for subsidized child care programs. The bulletin describes how programs and family child care providers will be reimbursed by enrollment rather than attendance. Click here for the Child Care Bulletin. 
  • Child Care Stipends for centers and homes have been sent! The state Child Care Stabilization Funds allocated millions of dollars that are intended to support licensed programs. Funds are intended to offset some of the additional expenses due to:
    • Staff incentives or bonus pay
    • Increased costs due to cleaning, sanitization, and other COVID-19 related operating expenses
    • Increased costs associated with distance learning
    • Support for decreased enrollment
    • Any other activity necessary to maintain or resume facility operations, including support for fixed costs
  • Click here to register for your child care stipend if you have not already done so. 
  • In case you missed it, watch a recording of the Monterey County Coalition’s COVID regulations webinar for employers. Click here to access the recording. 
  • Need to find a testing or vaccine clinic in Monterey County? Visit MontereyCountyVaccines.com or find your location below:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

  • Save this important number that you can call if you are a school or child care provider and have a potential COVID-19 exposure. Call the Communicable Disease Call Center at 831-755-4521 to report exposure, suspected cases, and for contact tracing. For general COVID-19 questions, you or your families can call the Phone Tree at 769-8700. You can also use this COVID-19 exposure guide for schools. 
  • Want to know if you are eligible for an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine? The FDA announced that immunocompromised individuals may be eligible for an additional dose. Talk to your doctor about your specific situation and review these Q&As for more information. 
  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are now available every Wednesday from 2:00-4:00pm at Natividad. This two-dose vaccine is approved for everyone 12 and older, and is free. Bring your ID!  
  • There is a new order requiring vaccine verification for workers (paid and unpaid) in public and private schools from the California Department of Public Health. Although this order does not apply to child care or higher education, all K-12 schools (including transitional kindergarten [TK]) must track proof of vaccination status and mandate weekly COVID-19 testing (if not vaccinated). Click here for this important notification. Child care guidance here remains the same, as posted on June 29, 2021. 
  • Monterey County has released a quick animated vaccine video with a superhero theme. Check out the videos here in English and here in Spanish, and share them with your communities. 
  • Take a look at this quick guide in English and Spanish that outlines the steps to take if someone in a school site has been exposed to COVID-19 through contact tracing or self-identification. Although the guidance is specifically intended for public and private schools, the guidance can help ECE programs until further CDC guidance is issued.  
  • Even if you are vaccinated, face masks are now recommended indoors. See the updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health (dated July 28) located here. FYI, Monterey County is considered to be in the MODERATE level of COVID-19 transmission. 
  • 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.

General COVID-19 & Public Health

  • Sharing fun and interesting materials with children is one of the best ways to engage them in learning. Check out this toolkit that includes comic book-style materials about COVID-19 vaccines for children. Materials are graciously shared from the El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center. 
  • Want to know if your child will experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, or if it will affect their development? The California Department of Public Health has released several new videos with answers to some questions about the vaccine. Here’s the link to some quick videos that explain the facts
  • School leaders are being urged to follow the mandates from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC on mask wearing indoors in public schools. For further information, check out this memo to schools. 
  • During the Coalition meeting on August 25, Patricia Alcocer shared her cheat sheet with phone numbers and hours of operation for various agencies that can help with COVID-19 questions. Her cheat sheet is here!
  • Monterey County is following the California Health Department guidelines on face coverings found here. All individuals and businesses must follow the guidelines or face a fine. All individuals entering Monterey County buildings, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering. 
  • Did you miss the Monterey County Health Department’s presentation for Monterey County schools on COVID-19? Information on school reporting requirements, contact tracing, scenarios, and school support was included. Click here to access the presentation and the student self-attestation form that allows children to return to classrooms without a note from their medical provider. 
  • Do you know someone who is uninsured and needs medical services? Esperanza Care of Monterey County is available to low-income residents who do not qualify for Medi-Cal and have no other insurance. Applications can be obtained from the Monterey County Health Department, Natividad Medical Center, or Pacific Health Alliance at (800) 533-4742. Here are flyers in English and Spanish to share with your community. 
  • It is important to prepare and respond to the serious drought conditions currently impacting our community. Community Care Licensing has issued a notice with important information to post at licensed homes and centers, and to share with the community. Click here for more information from Community Care Licensing. 
  • 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. 
  • Think you might have been exposed to COVID-19? Here is a chart that outlines the steps you can take to limit the spread.

Resources & Tools

Financial Relief for Families

  • Want to know if a family qualifies for state-subsidized child care? A new Family Monthly Fee Schedule by CDSS is now available here, determining if families are eligible based on income and family size. The state preschool eligibility is here.
  • 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. 
  • Did you know that free meals are available for those who have COVID-19 and are isolated? United Way and Meals on Wheels are providing this service for free to those in need. Call 211, Meals on Wheels, or United Way Monterey County for more information. 
  • 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. 
  • Do you want to start a child care business or know someone who would be great? MAOF is recruiting potential family child care homes and offers free training, marketing, and up to $1,000 in support to help start a new or expanded child care program in Monterey County. Share these flyers with your friends and family or call them directly at (831) 757-0775!
  • 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

  • Learn some ways that home visiting helps to welcome Kindergarten children back into the classrooms. Many children missed critical preschool experiences last year, and home visiting programs have helped to support children and families while learning at home. Check out this article from NewAmerica on how home visiting programs have worked for some children. 
  • Do you want to learn more about independent study in California? This short article from EdSource describes how it works. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.  
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • Do you think you are experiencing parental burnout? Check out this short article from the Greater Good Science Center on what you can do to help handle some of the stresses you are experiencing. 
  • Try out this Stress Buster Tool Kit shared by First 5 Tehama. It provides quick checklists and strategies to help families understand how to identify toxic stress and effectively cope with stress. 
  • Did you know that at least 30% of California students said they’d lost a loved one during the pandemic? See how schools have helped students cope with grief through counseling and adult support in this article and how schools are focusing on emotional health and relationships in this article, both by EdSource.
  • 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

  • In order to safely support in-person child care operations, the CDC has issued new Child Care Guidance here (updated August 25). 
  • Want to be an AmeriCorps Preschool service member? Contact Taylor at United Way of Monterey County for more information. Full- and part-time stipends are available to members who complete their year of service. Check out the job description here
  • Are your kids anxious about returning to school? Read this short article from the Greater Good Science Magazine on how to talk with your child as they return to the classroom. 
  • Why do some districts offer TK and others don’t? This article by EdSource gives some insight into why some districts are reluctant to provide TK to their communities. 
  • 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 Child Care Advocate program has a quick links resource guide that can help programs and parents with questions about any number of topics, including safe sleep, recent PINs, Safe Kids California, quarterly updates, and more. 
  • If you are reading this, you are likely a mandated reporter for suspected child abuse. Click here for some answers to questions about reporting.
  • Check out the Quality Matters calendar for upcoming events! 
  • Are you concerned about 0-3 children in care as TK and Preschool expansion moves forward? Register here for a webinar on September 23 on how states can strengthen their 0-3 population as public Pre-K expands.  
  • There is an updated PIN from Community Care Licensing for child care centers and homes. Check out this notice regarding COVID-19 vaccines, testing and requirements for tracking at your site, and this notice regarding waivers. 
  • Water safety is so important for young children! Check out this PIN from Community Care Licensing on water safety in licensed programs. 
  • There has been a recall of the Kidde TruSense Smoke and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms. This device can fail to alert you to a fire. See the PIN from Community Care Licensing here for the recall information and how to identify if your device is on the recall list. 
  • Want some fun songs and posters to share in your classroom and community? These great resources were developed by TMD Creative in collaboration with the County of Monterey. Click here to access the shared material.
  • Wondering how children and schools spent the summer catching up? Read this inspiring article from EdSource that describes several examples of how some schools used play-based activities and prioritized social-emotional health when they brought children back to classrooms. 
  • How did the pandemic impact the child care sector last year? Here is the data on Monterey County from the Resource and Referral Network showing how many homes and centers closed between January 2020 and January 2021.
  • Check out the lead article in the Salinas Valley Business Journal focusing on child care here. They pose interesting questions and challenge the community to take action. Contact Chamber CEO Paul Farmer with your thoughts on child care and businesses. 
  • 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
  • Want to know more about Preschool through Third Grade (P-3) Alignment? Check out this page from the California Department of Education and this summary on the challenges and opportunities in California. 
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 home? MAOF can help you get started with information and start up support.  A new learning cohort is starting soon. Contact MAOF at 831-757-0775 and here is a flyer
  • 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
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.