COVID-19 Updates for the Head Start/Early Head Start Network
The pandemic triggered by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has deeply impacted Head Start and Early Head Start programs, enrolled children and families, and their communities. To ensure grantees are equipped to meet related challenges, RIVHSA is sharing the following resources from our national partners.
Center for Disease Control
As families and policymakers make decisions about their children returning to school, it is important to consider the full spectrum of benefits and risks of both in-person and virtual learning options. Parents are understandably concerned about the safety of their children at school in the wake of COVID-19. Aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than their school.
National Community Action Partnership
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Community Action Partnership is working with the national partners, state associations, non-profit leaders, and local CAA’s to respond effectively to the changing environment. As the situation continues to evolve we will continue to monitor updates accordingly. View Complete Listing of Resources.
In light of increasing concerns about a broader coronavirus outbreak and the impacts on normal business operations, CAPLAW has compiled resources that are particularly relevant to the Community Action network. View Complete Listing of Resources.
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Office of Head Start
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has deeply impacted Head Start and Early Head Start programs, enrolled children and families, and their communities. This section is regularly updated with guidance and resources from the Office of Head Start (OHS) to help all programs support staff, children, and families during this challenging time. View Complete Listing of Resources.
8/5/2020 OHS CAMP: Session 6 (Webinar): The final session in the CAMP series featuring a conversation with five local grantee staff about offering Head Start and Early Head Start services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
7/29/2020 OHS CAMP: Session 5 (Webinar): The fifth session in the CAMP series addresses questions and concerns about Subpart D – Health Program Services, 45 CFR §1302.
7/22/2020 OHS CAMP: Session 4 (Webinar): Watch the fourth session in the OHS CAMP series, which addresses questions and concerns about Subpart E – Family and Community Engagement, 45 CFR §1302. It also includes a walk-through of COVID-19 resources on the ECLKC.
7/15/2020 OHS CAMP: Session 3 (Webinar): The third session in the series addresses questions and concerns about Subpart C – Education and Child Development Program Services, 45 CFR §1302.
7/8/2020 OHS CAMP: Session 2 (Webinar): Watch the second session of this series, which includes a conversation on Subpart I Human Resources Management, 45 CFR §1302; Program Governance, 45 CFR §1301; and timelines in the HSPPS.
7/1/2020 OHS Collaborating Actively in Meaningful Planning (CAMP): Session 1 (Webinar): OHS started a six-week series to address questions and concerns about offering Head Start and Early Head Start services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs have done amazing and innovative work delivering services during this crisis. Moving forward will require continued innovation and agility. Explore this series for clear guidance, when possible, of grantee questions about meeting the HSPPS. Watch the first CAMP for information on breaking news, group sizes, ratios, staffing, locally-designed options, and ERSEA.
6/30/20 Staff Wages and Benefits: Flexibility Through Sept. 30: In recognition of the unique circumstances associated with COVID-19, OHS is reminding programs that they may continue to pay wages and provide benefits for staff who would otherwise be employed but are unable to report to their full work duties during center closures. The ability of grantees to pay wages and benefits as described remains in effect through Sept. 30, 2020.
6/30/20 Helping Children Thrive During the COVID-19 Pandemic: In this video, Dr. Bergeron is joined by Sangeeta Parikshak, mental health lead at OHS. They discuss how to help children feel loved and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. B and Sangeeta suggest ways to talk to children about COVID-19, as well as how to make this experience easier on them.
6/17/20 Considerations for Head Start Transportation Services and Vehicles During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Webinar): The Office of Head Start (OHS) leads a conversation with about Head Start transportation services and vehicles during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. School buses and allowable alternate vehicles are generally the safest mode of transportation for children. They are also necessary for many children and families to participate in Head Start programs. Implementing safe practices is essential when providing transportation services.
5/28/20 Supporting Children and Families When Programs Are Closed: Learn strategies teachers and family child care providers can use to stay engaged with children, families, and colleagues. Discover ways to support children's continued growth and development and take care of yourself during times of stress.
5/27/2020 Caring for Children with Special Health Care Needs During COVID-19: Children with special healthcare needs are experiencing unique barriers to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Join Jessica Foster, MD, FAAP, to learn about challenges and strategies to providing supports and care to children with feeding, developmental, and disability concerns.
5/22/20 Fiscal Management During the COVID-19 Emergency: OHS leadership discusses dissemination of the CARES Act supplemental funds. They also address strategies and flexibilities for fiscal management programs should employ while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
5/21/20 ACF-IM-HS-20-03 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Fiscal Flexibilities: This Information Memorandum (IM) describes how OHS is implementing each item from ACF Grant Flexibilities in Conducting Human Service Activities Related to or Affected by COVID-19. Please note that some items are implemented by OHS as issued by ACF and others are implemented with noted program-specific guidance.
5/12/20 Stay Connected to Decrease Family Stress in Difficult Times: In this video, Dr. Bergeron is joined by Kiersten Beigel, family and community partnerships specialist at OHS. They discuss how to partner with families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering compassion, connection, and care can decrease parental stress. Addressing immediate stressors related to food, rent support, or healthcare can also help. Dr. B and Kiersten suggest ways programs can find out what is going on with children at home.
5/11/20 Supporting Food Security for Families: Many Head Start families are struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 emergency. To meet the needs of school-aged children, the USDA is coordinating several efforts which may apply to siblings of Head Start children.
4/28/20 COVID-19 Check-In (Video): In this video, Dr. Bergeron shares the unique and creative ways Head Start staff are supporting children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also delves into some Early Head Start program strategies and encourages staff to take care of themselves during this difficult time. Encouraging parent-child relationships is key, as well as communicating with simplicity and engaging in routine activities. Comfort, love, and support are the best remedies for children who might regress in achieving goals as a result of COVID-19. As always, Dr. B shares a love note to workers making a difference in the lives of babies and toddlers all over the country.
4/24/20 Caring for Children in Group Settings During COVID-19 (Webinar): Early care and education (ECE) programs have many questions about how to keep children and staff healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidance for open programs is now available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This webinar also highlights the guidance and best practices in preventing the spread of disease from Caring for Our Children. Register again to view the webinar replay.
4/23/20 Supporting Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Crisis: How Head Start and Early Head Start Programs Can Help (Email)
Find clarification on how programs can support, when possible, the use of closed Head Start centers as temporary child care centers for medical personnel and essential workers. By law, Head Start funds can only be used to provide Head Start services to eligible children and families. However, Head Start facilities, equipment, materials, and supplies can be used to support emergency child care, subject to cost reimbursement or replacement. Head Start staff may also have the option to support emergency child care operations in addition to the work they are doing to continue Head Start services.
4/6/20 Update to Wages and Benefits Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Email): In recognition of the unique circumstances associated with COVID-19, OHS is directing programs to continue to pay wages and provide benefits for staff unable to report to work during center closures necessary to address COVID-19. This directive does not apply to non-COVID-19 related program closures during which employees would not otherwise be paid, such as summer breaks. This flexibility remains in effect through June 30, 2020 or the date upon which programs reopen for center-based services, and employees return to regularly scheduled onsite work, if sooner. OHS will continue to monitor program closures and may adjust the effective date of this flexibility as needed.
4/1/20 Serving Needs Beyond Head Start (Email): Many grantees are asking questions and seeking approval for local decisions about operations. OHS is empowering grantee leadership to make decisions that support Head Start children and families first, and also help others in need.
3/18/20 MyPeers Can Support Virtual Work During COVID-19 (Email): Discover ways to minimize face-to-face contact and travel as your program responds to COVID-19. MyPeers can help program management and staff work remotely by creating a private workgroup for your agency. Use it to hold group chats, share documents and resources, post questions, and even screenshare from the privacy of your own home. Members can access MyPeers via desktop or use the app on their smartphone or tablet.
3/13/20 Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Flexibilities (Email): The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has waived its group setting meal requirement for closed schools and authorized special flexibilities for many states. Grantees may work with their state CACFP agency to determine whether similar flexibilities that can support the ongoing availability of meals and snacks for enrolled children are available during Head Start and Early Head Start program closures.
3/13/20 Managing Infectious Disease (Video blog): Dr. Bergeron and Dr. Marco Beltran discuss strategies for managing infectious disease. Head Start programs can follow local guidance and use federal guidance to support their decision-making.
3/13/20 COVID-19 Wages and Benefit (Email): In addition to the general flexibilities in ACF-IM-HS-19-01, OHS is providing the additional flexibility regarding wage and benefits for employees impacted by COVID-19 closures.
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