[APRIL 3 WEBINAR] States’ Response to COVID-19 and Child Care – Part 1

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Child Care Aware® of America is hosting two upcoming webinars this week to help you understand the latest developments in funding and response efforts across the nation.

Join our new webinar series focusing on how states are responding to coronavirus

Friday, April 3, 2:15-3:15 p.m. EDT

In this first part of this webinar series, we are looking at how Vermont and Minnesota are responding to the coronavirus pandemic — specifically, what decisions they’re making about child care. We’ll look at their response around emergency care, supporting families with critical child care decisions, child care subsidies and supporting providers to care for essential workers’ children. You’ll hear from Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids and Ann McCully, Executive Director at Child Care Aware of Minnesota.

[Join the Webinar]

 

[APRIL 2 WEBINAR] Learn How to Sustain Your Child Care Program During COVID-19

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Child Care Aware® of America is hosting two upcoming webinars this week to help you understand the latest developments in funding and response efforts across the nation.

Learn How to Sustain Your Child Care Program During COVID-19

Thursday, April 2, 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT

Last Friday, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes dedicated child care funding within its $2 trillion stimulus package. Child care providers will learn what this funding means for them and hear an overview of the various business supports that are currently available to help sustain their child care business during this pandemic.

[Join the Webinar]

 

Attention Providers: How to Apply for Emergency Loans for Small Businesses

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Attention Providers: How to Apply for Emergency Loans for Small Businesses

Please review the attached FAQs from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business for answers to many of the questions you might have regarding how to apply for the new emergency loans; eligibility; terms and guidelines available to small businesses under the CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Paycheck Protection for Small Businesses

Download (PDF, 65KB)

Support for School Readiness and VPK Providers: COVID-19

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Dear SR and VPK Providers:

The Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning are committed to providing up-to-date information and guidance to our early learning community to address concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety of our children, families, and providers’ staff is of utmost importance.

We strongly recommend:

  • You adhere to the CDC’s March 15, 2020 Interim Guidance for higher-risk populations by limiting children and employees to no more than 10 people in a single occupied space.
  • You should also continuously monitor CDC guidance and to fully comply with all directives.

On March 17, Governor DeSantis held a press conference and DOE issued a press release detailing our efforts to:

  • Ensure that all SR and VPK providers receive their funding – which means we will pay/reimburse for additional child absences when the provider is open and for those that occur during temporary closures.
  • Eliminate all requirements for remaining child screenings/assessments or provider program assessments for the 2019-20 program year.
  •  Extend timelines for provider improvement plans and reports.

For families, we are:

  • Suspending termination of SR eligibility.
  •  Extending the timelines for redetermination of SR eligibility.
  • Waiving parent copays/fees for all eligible SR families regardless of their income.

We hope you can see that we are dedicated to ensuring that childcare providers will be able to financially support their day-to-day operations, including paying teachers. We will work with your coalition to provide more details related to implementation, and request that you do not make changes to your current SR or VPK calendars at this time. If you have additional questions, please contact your early learning coalition.

Shan Goff, Executive Director

Office of Early Learning/Department of Education

COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance and Loans

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Business Continuity and Recovery: A Message from St. Johns County Chamber

Dear Members,

As you might know, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations on March 12, 2020. If your business has been impacted by COVID-19 virus, we urge you to complete the state’s Business Damage Assessment Survey.

On March 16, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses feeling the economic turbulence from the Coronavirus. The application period opened Tuesday, March 17, and runs through May 8, 2020. Up to $50 million has been allocated for this program.

The President also activated a presidential disaster declaration in response to COVID-19. Impacted businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and private nonprofit organizations may apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). If your business has suffered substantial economic injury, you may qualify for an EIDL. The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Additionally, the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. More about these credits is online here.

The next two videos in our Chamber Conversations series will focus on the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan as well as a conversation with CareerSource Northeast Florida regarding the Short Time Compensation program and Disaster Unemployment Assistance. We will continue to share to current and relevant information regarding Coronavirus and business continuity. If there are specific topics or questions you would like us to address, please email Cathy Newman at cathy.newman@sjcchamber.com.

Finally, today we are supporting #TheGreatAmericanTakeOut effort by ordering take-out or delivery from local restaurants. If you are able to #supportlocal by ordering take-out today, we encourage you to do so. If you share this online, please join us in using #TakeOutStJohns.

For more information and resources regarding business continuity and resiliency visit http://www.SJCChamber.com/business.

Stay informed,

 

 

 

Isabelle Renault
President / CEO
St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce

The Cat in the Hat Visits the Ravine Gardens for Early Literacy

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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ELC of North Florida volunteers Sara Tavender and Erika Bauserman along with the Cat in the Hat reading and having fun with the Dr. Seuss book “Ten Apples Up on Top” at Ravine Gardens.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla., March 20, 2020 – He’s back! The Cat in the Hat made a special visit to Ravine Gardens for a literacy event put on by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida on Friday, March 13th. Called “Dr. Suess at the Ravines”, the event had a special story time program featuring the Cat in the Hat followed by an activity time that featured activities centered around different Dr. Suess books. Some of the activities included playing with Grinch slime, making Fox in Sox puppets, Cat in the Hat cup stacking, a One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish playdough table and more. 

This event was in celebration of literacy week, which is always the first part of March in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. This event was put on for local Putnam County preschools and more than 110 children and adults were in attendance. Each child received a FREE Dr. Seuss book and each school received a bag of Dr. Seuss themed books and materials for their classroom. 

“One of the biggest missions of the ELC of North Florida is to provide quality literacy programming to the many child care providers that we serve” says Joan Whitson, ELCNF Outreach Manager. 

The ELC would like to thank the 13-plus volunteers that showed up to help put on this event. ELC outreach volunteers assist with different themed literacy programs all year long and many of them read regularly in a local preschool. For more information about volunteering with the ELC of North Florida, please contact Joan Whitson at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

The Cat in the Hat Tours North Florida for Early Literacy

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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kiwanis of St. Augustine members, Mary DeRose, Rita Scott, Joelyn Look (AKA “The Cat in the Hat”) and Mary Warren volunteering with the Early Learning Coalition of N. Florida to put on a Dr. Seuss program at Brandts Child Care in St. Augustine.

CLAY AND ST. JOHNS COUNTIES, Fla., March 20, 2020 – The Cat in the Hat is on the loose in North Florida during the month of March! In celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday Thursday, March 12th, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) held a drawing at its annual early educators conference in January for child care centers and preschools to receive a Dr. Suess program in their school. The program put on by ELC staff and volunteers consists of a story time with special guest “The Cat in the Hat” followed by fun activities relating to Dr. Seuss books. Each child in attendance received a FREE copy of the book “Ten Apples Up on Top” and the teachers received a resource bag filled with a set of eight Dr. Seuss books and other related teaching materials.

Congratulations to this year’s winners: O2b Kids and Brandts Child Care in St. Augustine, First Class Learning Center and Orange Park Kindergarten in Orange Park, and River Preschool in Fleming Island.  

“Promoting early literacy is a priority mission for us at the Early Learning Coalition” says Joan Whitson, ELCNF Literacy Outreach Manager. “Getting children excited about books and making sure that all children have them can make all the difference in their success in school all during their lives.” 

The ELC of North Florida provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for 4 year olds). Please visit www.elcnorthflorida.org for more information.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

ATTENTION PARENTS & CAREGIVERS: MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO

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(Please visit: https://elcnorthflorida.org/covid-19-status-and-resources/ for additional information.)

During this time of uncertainty we have expanded our daily cleaning and sanitation efforts to ensure a safe environment. We continue to monitor and follow CDC guidelines, taking recommended preventive steps to protect yours and our well-being.  As you all may or may not know, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Health (DOH) are responsible for the health and safety of children in childcare settings.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida  is responsible for the administrative oversight of school readiness and VPK funding, but we do not have the authority to make decisions regarding health and safety matters.  We are working in collaboration with the Office of Early Learning, the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Health to assist providers in getting updated information as it is received.  We are gathering information related to center closings and openings, so this information can be disseminated to parents as requested.

What we are doing with Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS) is:

*        Supporting early learning programs and helping them stay safely open to meet community needs, particularly for first responders and others like hospital workers who provide an essential service.
*        FDOE is working on additional guidance, particularly in terms of financial supports for programs that remain open and have low attendance and for programs that may have emergency closures.
*        This ELC and ECS provide an essential service and we are trying to remain open for as long as possible.  Even if we have to close we will continue to provide services to families.
*        Our Continuity of Operations Plans includes having our staff work from home, conduct family interviews over the telephone, and providing other supports online and by telephone.
*        We are taking all the recommended precautions in our buildings and with our staff.

Dawn E. Bell, CEO
Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

5/27 – Update on Child Care Centers:

DCF logo

Please see Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-131 that lifts restrictions on child care programs and allows summer camps and youth programs to become operational effective as of May 22, 2020.

As a result of the Executive Order, please see the following updates on capacity and group sizes for all registered and licensed child care providers:

  1. Are there limitations on capacity? Only limitations on capacity as licensed. Providers are encouraged to consider recommendations for group sizes and social distancing measures issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  2. Are there limitations on group sizes? No; however, the CDC recommends that group sizes remain small and that there be no mixing of one group with another group.

For licensing ratios, the Office of Child Care Regulation or the local licensing agency, will continue to monitor and cite for any violations.

Taskforce Report to Open Florida

Executive Order 20-131

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Governor DeSantis Announces Florida’s New B.E.S.T. K-12 Standards

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For Immediate Release

January 24, 2020

Governor DeSantis Announces Florida’s New B.E.S.T. K-12 Standards

Naples, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced that the Florida Department of Education has completed the review of Florida’s K-12 academic standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics and made recommendations for revisions. The proposed Florida Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards will provide the foundation for teaching and learning and will be unveiled before February.

“When I took office, I made a pledge to the citizens of Florida to overhaul our educational standards to remove all vestiges of Common Core and return to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic,” said Governor DeSantis.

“I am pleased that this historic task has been completed and we are well on our way to making Florida the best state in the nation for education. My deepest thanks to Commissioner Corcoran and Department of Education staff, Florida teachers, parents, subject matter experts and stakeholders for their participation in this transparent, in-depth and comprehensive process.”

“Governor DeSantis has proven once again that he is the Education Governor,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Under his bold leadership, these new standards represent the highest quality knowledge-based standards in the nation. They not only incorporate civics throughout every grade, a first of their kind in the nation, ensuring that our students are well versed in the United States Constitution and the responsibilities of citizenship, they also provide educators with clear and concise standards. I am confident our students will thrive academically and be well prepared for success.”

On January 31, 2019, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-32, outlining a path for Florida to improve its education system by eliminating Common Core and paving the way for Florida students to receive a world-class education to prepare them for jobs of the future.

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First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces 8,000 Reading Scholarships Available to Help Students Enhance Skills

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For Immediate Release January 24, 2020

Contact: Governor’s Press Office (850) 717-9282

Media@eog.myflorida.com

First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces 8,000 Reading Scholarships Available to Help Students Enhance Skills

First Lady also announces new pilot programs for Math, Reading

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis urged Florida parents and schools to take advantage of more than 8,000 Reading Scholarships available through the Florida Department of Education to help public school students in grades 3-5 improve their reading skills. First Lady DeSantis said that more than 5,600 students and their parents have already taken advantage of these Reading Scholarships during the current school year. First Lady DeSantis also announced that ABCmouse will be launching a pilot program for their Mastering Math app and will soon announce the launch of their Mastering Reading app. Both pilots, which allow students to learn basic skills at their own pace, will be offered at no cost to Florida students in prekindergarten through second grade. “I am proud to support the Governor’s bold steps toward making education a priority,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.

“Today is about bringing the public and private sectors together to ensure that Florida’s children have the support and resources they need to excel academically. Strong reading and learning skills are critical to student success in all aspects of life, and we are committed to continually pushing forward to create the best education experience for all Florida students.”

“A huge thank you to First Lady Casey DeSantis for championing this great opportunity for Florida families,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “We know that every student can learn. Currently according to NAEP, Florida is ranked number 6 in 4th grade reading nationwide. These Reading Scholarship accounts are going to enable us to help thousands of students who are struggling. I look forward to announcing the more than 8,000 scholarships available that will ensure we are giving students every opportunity they need to thrive.”

The Reading Scholarship is administered through the Department of Education by Step Up for Students. The eligible expenditures for reimbursement are:

 Instructional materials;

 Curriculum;

 Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services.

The services shall be provided by a person who holds a valid teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56, F.S.; a person who holds an adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; or a person who has demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant to s. 1012.56 (5);

 Fees for specialized summer education programs designed to improve reading or literacy skills; and

 Fees for after-school education programs designed to improve reading or literacy skills.

For more information about Reading Scholarship Accounts, visit http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/reading/.

 

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