Statements from State leaders and Mary Sonnenberg, President of the Partnership for Children

For a complete list of COVID-19 State Resources, please refer to the Corona Update page our friends at Mecklenberg Partnership for Children have created.

Please read this communication closely for important information related to September payments for subsidized child care providers and an upcoming Emergency School-Age Program.

Subsidy Payments and Parent Fees
Beginning with the September 2020 service month:

The North Carolina Division of Child Development & Early Education (DCDEE) will pay subsidized child care providers using the payment process within NC FAST that was used prior to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
• Payment for subsidized child care will be calculated based on attendance entered in the NC FAST Provider Portal.
• Deposits for these payments will begin October 15, 2020, and can take up to 5 business days to clear an individual's bank account.
Parent fees for children birth to age 5 (not in kindergarten) will return to pre-COVID-19 structure.

School-age care for full-time remote learning will continue to be paid at 100%.
• Parents of school-age children will pay the parent fee at the 83% rate.
• For September, DCDEE will pay the differential in the parent fee between the 83% rate and the 100% rate for those attending for full-time remote learning. This will be a separate payment.

Program Closures due to COVID-19

Although DCDEE is returning to the usual payment cycle, DCDEE understands that many child care facilities will have periods of time in which they are closed or have classrooms that are closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic or there will be subsidized children who are not able to attend a full month due to the need to quarantine. DCDEE will continue to pay subsidized child care providers for days that they are either closed or a child cannot attend due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Detailed instructions on how to record attendance in the NC FAST Provider Portal have been provided through the Provider Portal Email Listserv.

Emergency School Age Family Support Program

DCDEE is working to implement an Emergency School-Age Family Support Program for the service months of October and November 2020. Licensed child care facilities and unlicensed community-based organizations (CBO) that are registered with DCDEE are eligible to participate in this program.

Families who are eligible for this program must be able to attest that their school-age child is attending a child care facility or CBO for the purposes of remote learning and the family's monthly household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Payment rates for this short-term program will be a flat rate of $870 for licensed child care centers, $645 for licensed family child care homes, and $516 for unlicensed CBOs. More details about how providers can register and how families can apply for this program will be forthcoming.

 

 

Dear Child Care Provider,

 

The Emergency Child Care Portal for Emergency Child Care Subsidy Attendance and Employee Bonus Pay Attendance will be shut down on Friday, September 25, 2020, at 9:00pm.

 

If you provided emergency child care during the service months of April and May 2020 and have not yet entered attendance for children or staff members, you MUST enter the attendance before 9:00pm on Friday, September 25, 2020, in order to be paid for the services provided.

 

If you have already submitted your attendance for children and staff and have received accurate payment, no action is needed at this time.

 

If you have submitted your attendance for children and staff and there were errors in your payment due to any children or staff not added to the rosters for April and May, 2020, please contact the Subsidy Services Section at 919-814-6380 to receive assistance with rectifying your payment.

 

Should you have any questions about this communication, please contact the Subsidy Services Section at 919-814-6380.

 

Thank you for all you do to serve the children and families of North Carolina.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Kristi L. Snuggs

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) appreciates all the hard work and continued sacrifices that NC's child care facilities have made during the COVID-19 outbreak to serve families and fuel the state's economy.

 

While DCDEE asks that child care facilities continue to maintain compliance with all child care requirements and to follow the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit, the Division has continued to provide regulatory flexibility to child care facilities during this time of crisis. DCDEE will continue to evaluate and determine if there is a need to include additional regulatory flexibility as the situation progresses.

 

Beginning in March 2020, DCDEE suspended monitoring visits, other than investigations of complaints and investigations of child maltreatment. As time progressed DCDEE began to conduct additional visits, including but not limited to, consultation and temporary time period visits to child care facilities. With your support, these visits were successful.

 

Effective September 2020, DCDEE will resume conducting all monitoring visits to child care facilities. By the end of 2020, DCDEE will ensure all child care programs receive an annual visit to monitor compliance with child care requirements. Please know DCDEE is working to limit the time its staff are in your child care programs, including a limited monitoring plan. In order to accomplish this, you may be asked to send information to your child care consultant in advance of or after the visit to reduce the time the consultant is in your program.

 

DCDEE representatives will at all times adhere to the three Ws: Wash, Wear and Wait and will respect any health and safety protocols your facility has in place. Thank you for supporting North Carolina and its families by providing vital care and services.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has updated the guidance on face coverings in child care facilities as outlined in the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit.

 

The updated guidance clarifies that school-age children five (5) years or older who are in kindergarten or above are required to wear face coverings when they are or may be within six (6) feet of another person, unless a family member states that an exception applies for the child. NCDHHS recognizes that some five-year-old children attending child care programs are not yet in kindergarten. For these children, it is recommended that they wear face coverings if they can reliably wear, remove, and handle masks following Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. The face covering guidance applies to children who are on site at the child care facility, as well as on transportation vehicles that are regulated by the State of North Carolina.

 

The guidance also references CDC information that younger children may be unable to wear a face covering properly, particularly for an extended period of time. In these cases, child care program staff can prioritize having children wear face coverings at times when it is difficult for children to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others (e.g., during pick-up or drop-off, when standing in line). Additionally, the guidance references strategies that child care providers and/or families can use to assist children with becoming comfortable with wearing face coverings.

 

Updates to the guidance can be found on page 7 and page 10 of the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) has updated the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit to reflect requirements from Executive Order 163, which goes into effect on Friday, September 4, 2020 at 5:00pm.

 

Please pay special attention to the following updates:

  • On page 7 - "Cloth Face Coverings"
    • Requires children ages 5 years and older to wear face coverings in child care settings
    • Encourages face coverings for children ages 2 and up to 5 provides new guidance
    • Notes that younger children may be unable to wear a face covering properly, particularly for an extended period of time, and that providers can prioritize having younger children wear face coverings at times when it is difficult to maintain 6 feet distance (e.g., during pick-up/drop-off)
  • On page 10 - "Transportation"
    • Requires children ages 5 years and older to wear face coverings on child care transportation

If you have questions about these updates, please contact your Child Care Health Consultant.

Through collaborative efforts, the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), and the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, a program of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, are excited to announce that the CCDF Health and Safety trainings are now available in the DCDEE Moodle learning platform.

DCDEE is grateful for the partnership with ProSolutions for past several years, as they helped meet an immediate need in North Carolina to provide CCDF Health and Safety trainings for the state's child care workforce. However, now that North Carolina-specific training in the DCDEE Moodle learning platform is available, the contract with ProSolutions, to provide free health and safety training, will end on September 30, 2020.

If you are currently enrolled in one or more of the CCDF Health and Safety trainings with ProSolutions, please be sure to complete your training(s) prior to September 30, 2020.

The CCDF Health and Safety in Child Care Trainings, developed by the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, are FREE and easy to access.

You will need to have an NCID - the same NCID that is used to log in to WORKS and/or the CBC Portal. If you do not have an NCID already, use this link to get one: Getting your NCID Username and Password.

These modules can be found by using the "all courses" function or searching for CCDF - Health and Safety in Child Care in the search box at the bottom of the main Moodle page.

If you have questions about the content of the modules or would like to request technical assistance for your facility on any of these topics, contact the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center at www.healthychildcare.unc.edu or [email protected]. If you need assistance with implementing health and safety best practices in child care, check the list of child care health consultants (CCHC) in each area who can be of assistance. If there is not a CCHC in your community, contact the NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center directly.

If you have questions about logging into Moodle, contact Brenda Williamson at [email protected] for assistance.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is writing to share the payment plans for future months beginning with September services to be paid in October.

 

As North Carolina has progressed into Stage 2 of the pandemic and more employers have reopened, DCDEE plans to begin using the regular subsidy payment structure beginning with September 2020 service month. This means that parent fees will no longer be waived and that payment to open facilities will be solely based on the true attendance entered into the NC FAST Provider Portal.

 

Beginning with the service month of September 2020, each family receiving subsidized child care with a parent fee assigned will be responsible for paying this parent fee directly to their chosen child care facility. DCDEE will no longer cover the cost of these parent fees. Facilities are also asked to enter true attendance into the NC FAST Provider Portal and payment for services will be calculated based on this attendance only. There will no longer be a differential amount calculated. Facilities who remain closed will not receive payment for any subsidized children.

 

DCDEE is also working to address several concerns related to COVID-19 including payment when a facility is closed due to quarantine, when a subsidized child is not able to attend a facility due to being quarantined, and school age children attending facilities full time now that school has started for the year.  Specific guidance will be issued to all subsidized facilities about recording attendance in the NC FAST Provider Portal for the month of September and future months that will address these concerns.

Families are receiving a written notice about this change via mail.   Subsidized child care providers are also receiving notification of this change via email.

 

For additional information, please review the COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policies.

 

If there are any questions regarding the information contained in this communication, please contact the DCDEE Subsidy Services Section at 919.814.6380.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is writing to make you aware of a new Executive Order issued today by Governor Roy Cooper and a State Health Director Memo issued by State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Tilson that suspends but does not waive documentation deadlines for proof-of-immunization and health assessment requirements for school and child-care facilities. Students and families will receive additional time to address access to care disruptions they may have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Families are strongly encouraged to obtain the required immunizations for their children on a timely basis. Extending these deadlines by several weeks will allow more time to work with families, providers, local health departments and schools on facilitating access to needed immunizations and health assessments.

 

The Executive Order and State Health Director Memo will apply to students enrolled in public, private, or religious educational institutions, including child care facilities and K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities. The Order also extends the deadline for each child entering a North Carolina public school for the first time to submit proof of a health assessment.

 

In typical years, proof of required immunizations and health assessments were required within 30 days of the first date of attendance of school. After the 30 days, children are to be excluded from school until the family provides documentation of requirements. This year, the 30-day 'grace period' for all students will begin on October 1, 2020. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) similarly delayed immunization requirements in September 2018 during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

 

Whether children are home-schooled, attend school in-person or by remote learning, they are required by state law to be immunized based on their age for certain vaccinations as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More information on North Carolina's requirements for vaccines can be found on the NCDHHS website.

 

NCDHHS's North Carolina Immunization Branch also offers comprehensive guidance on immunization recommendations, as well as, advice for families on navigating access issues during COVID-19.

 

Thank you for your ongoing partnership.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) have shared a significant amount of information throughout the past several weeks as North Carolina's COVID-19 response evolves. To help you navigate all the updates and information, a summary has been compiled for you.

 

Shipments of Personal Protective Equipment & Cleaning Supplies

In late July 2020, DCDEE announced it would provide each open child care provider with a 4 to 8 week supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.  DCDEE has ordered the following supplies: touchless thermometers with batteries, 10 reusable cloth face coverings per child care employee, disposable masks, bleach solution, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer.  The thermometers and cloth face coverings are one-time purchases, as these are reusable items. The supply of disposable masks, bleach solution, and paper towels is expected to last for about 8 weeks, while the supply of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer is expected to last about 4 weeks. How long supplies last will vary by center depending on usage.
Child care centers and family child care homes should expect to receivemost of these supplies in multiple shipments over the next few weeks to cover the months of August and September. All shipments will be delivered to the address of the child care facility as recorded in the DCDEE Regulatory database.

 

To date, many child care providers have confirmed receipt of the touchless thermometers and batteries. DCDEE has received notification from the vendor supplying disinfectant wipes that these supplies are in short supply and are on backorder; anticipated delivery timeframe is late September/early October.

 

DCDEE is currently working to place another order to cover the months of October and November 2020.

 

If there are questions about the PPE and/or cleaning supply shipments, please contact Arlette Lambert at (919) 703-5262 or Laura Hewitt at (919) 703-7916.

 

Operational Grant Information

DCDEE has provided monthly operational grants to child care providers that were open in April, May, and June. DCDEE will continue to provide operational grants for the month of July to licensed, private child care facilities that are open or have reopened for all or part of July. The operational grants are designed to help providers cover monthly fixed operating costs during these this month of the COVID-19 crisis, recognizing that revenues from parent fees are significantly lower as non-essential workers have kept their children home with them.

 

Who will receive operational grants?

Private child care programs who are open or have reopened for all or part of July will be eligible to receive an operational grant for that month. In order to qualify for the grant, DCDEE required providers to submit either an Emergency Child Care Provider application (between April 1 and May 8, 2020) to remain open OR a Reopening Application, as well as complete a COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey to report daily whether they were open or closed and to report occupancy/vacancy for children.

 

How much will child care facilities receive from the operational grants?

Private child care centers will receive between $500 and $30,000 per month. Private family child care homes will receive between $359 and $2,500 per month. The amount of the individual grants will vary based on the following factors:

  • Total number of children served prior to COVID-19:  Programs serving more children will receive larger grants.
  • Star rating:  Programs with a higher star rating will receive larger grants because of the higher cost to meet higher standards.
  • Infant toddler enrollment:  Programs serving infants and toddlers will receive larger grants to account for higher staffing and fixed costs associated with caring for infants and toddlers.
  • Serving subsidy children:  Programs that have served subsidy children in the past 12 months will receive smaller grants than programs that do not serve families and children receiving child care subsidy. Federal Child Care Development Funds are intended to increase access to quality care for families and children with low incomes. However, because of the unique challenges programs are facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, all programs will receive some level of grant support.
  • Subsidy density (the percentage of children enrolled who receive child care subsidy):  Because DCDEE is continuing to stabilize child care subsidy monthly payments to child care providers based on February enrollment, programs that have higher percentages of children on subsidy are getting more of their typical monthly revenue covered than programs that have lower percentages of children on subsidy and rely more heavily on private fees from parents. Therefore, programs with lower percentages of children on subsidy will receive larger grants.

When will the operational grants be awarded?

If the private child care facility was open prior to July 1, 2020, the operational grant will be issued in mid-August.

 

If the child care facility reopened in July, the operational grants will be prorated based on the date of reopening and will be issued beginning mid-August.  Please remember that deposits can take up to five business days to reach provider's accounts.

 

How can child care facilities find out how much their grant awards will be?

To find out the amount of the operational grant awarded to your facility, please call the appropriate telephone number listed below. When contacting the Division of Child Development and Early Education, please have the facility name and license number available:

  • If the child care facility is in Alamance through Forsyth Counties, contact Arlette Lambert at 919.703.5262.
  • If the child care facility is in Franklin through Orange Counties, contact Laura Hewitt at 919.703.7916.
  • If the child care facility is in Pamlico through Yancey Counties, contact Theresa Rodersheimer at 919.703.6947.
  • If the child care facility would like to receive the grant amount via email, please send that request to dc[email protected].

Updated ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit

DCDEE has updated the  ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit to reflect new changes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other updates.  Please pay special attention to the following updates:

  • Page 4 - provides new guidance on Exposures - what to do with children and staff who have been in close contact with someone who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms or develops symptoms during the day
  • Page 5 and 13 - updates Return to Child Care guidance for people who have been in close contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Page 11 - provides link to NCDHHS Interim Guidance for Safe Application of Disinfectants
  • Page 12 - updates symptom screening question #1 to ask about whether people have been in close contact in the last 14 days with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Page 12 - clarifies that if a child has COVID-19 symptoms, household members (i.e., siblings) should also quarantine for 14 days since last exposure to symptomatic person, unless the symptomatic person is cleared as a result of a negative test for COVID-19

If you have questions about these updates, please reach out to your Child Care Health Consultant.

 

Subsidized Child Care Information

Many people have been impacted by COVID-19 and DCDEE wants to make sure that families in North Carolina do not experience a negative impact on their subsidy services. Therefore, DCDEE is not requiring families to pay their parent fees for August 2020. The State will make the parent fee payments to open providers as part of the regular subsidy payment for August. Each family has received a notice by mail informing them of this short-term change.

 

Also, DCDEE will only pay providers who are open in August and the subsidy payment will continue to be based on March payments for February services.

 

For additional information, please review the COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policies.

 

For questions, please contact the Subsidy Section at DCDEE at 919.814.6380.

 

Options for School-Age Care

With the start of the new school year fast approaching, school districts are reopening under either a Plan B (hybrid) or Plan C scenario (full remote learning).  DCDEE recognizes that families are searching for a safe place for their children to engage in online learning during the typical school day while they are at work.

 

In North Carolina, any setting where children receive care where they do not reside is governed by federal law (which sets minimum health and safety requirements), state law (which further defines health, safety, program, and staff requirements), and state regulations. State law defines child care to be any program that serves 3 or more unrelated children and operates more than 4 hours a day. As the regulatory agency for licensed child care providers, NCDHHS has been exploring options for families who need child care during periods of remote learning for their school-aged children who are enrolled in public schools (ages 5 to 12).

Those options are as follows:

  • Option 1 - Licensed Child Care: NCDHHS has set up a child care hotline (1-888-600-1685) where families can call to get information about local options for infants through children age 12. The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8AM to 5PM. When families call the hotline, child care referral specialists will provide referrals to licensed child care programs that are open and have vacancies for the age of the child(ren) for whom care is being requested. As of the beginning of August, there are currently about 30,000 slots available for school-age children in licensed child care across the state, but availability varies from community to community. Flyers to promote the hotline are available to be shared with parents and families in English and Spanish.
  • Option 2 - Remote Learning option at Public Schools: Public schools across North Carolina have the option to provide a remote learning environment to school-age children on site in their public school buildings during periods of remote learning, overseen by support staff or a third party. Pursuant to NCGS 110-86(2), Public Schools are exempt from the definition of child care, and therefore exempt from licensure requirements. If public schools choose to provide a remote learning environment for students during the school day in public school buildings, this is considered to be public school and exempt from child care licensure. Similar to operating in-person instruction, schools choosing this option would be responsible for ensuring adequate staff and supports (including but not limited to meals and transportation) and manage any enrollment processes for families. Any care for school-age children provided in a public school building would be subject to the health and safety requirements of the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K - 12) guidance under Plan B.
  • Option 3 - Remote Learning option at Community Based Organizations through contracts with Public Schools: At this time, child care rules require that community-based organizations (e.g., Parks and Recreation programs, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, non-profits) have a license from the NCDHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) in order to provide school-age child care. On August 5, 2020, DCDEE brought a rule-change recommendation to the Child Care Commission to allow public schools to enter into contractual agreements with community based organizations to establish Remote Learning Facilities for school-age children which would meet the definition of "Public Schools" under NCGS 110-86(2). Under this option, the remote learning supervision and support would be provided on-site at the community-based organization. The Child Care Commission has voted to adopt the emergency rules, and our expectation is that this rule change will become effective August 13.

NCDHHS currently recommends that families call the NCDHHS child care hotline (1-888-600-1685) if they are seeking daily support for their children aged 12 or below, until other options are available to them locally.

 

State of Emergency Rules for School Age Care

The NC Child Care Commission has adopted emergency rules and is proposing temporary rules to comply with the Governor's declaration of a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) to enact protective measures to help prevent the spread of the disease. This disease can result in serious illness or death to the public. The public health emergency, and the resulting closure of public schools, has impacted North Carolina school-age children and their families. To the degree that it is able, the North Carolina Child Care Commission is implementing emergency rules in order to give public schools options to provide care outside, or in addition to, the traditional school building, as well as give licensed facilities some flexibility to create and fill additional slots for school-age children to receive care while attending remote/online learning programs.  The emergency rules will become effective on August 13, 2020 and will be published in the NC Register on September 1, 2020.

 

Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.1A when the Commission adopts emergency rules, they must simultaneously begin the temporary rulemaking process to replace the emergency rules and hold a public hearing on the rules to solicit comments. The comment period will be August 12 through September 2. The public hearing will be held on August 19, 2020, from 9:00 am until 10:30am.  The meeting will be held by WebEx and the public is invited. Additional information regarding how to participate in the public hearing will be forthcoming.

 

Interim COVID-19 Reopening Policies for ALL NC Pre-K Programs Now Available

 

On August 3, 2020, DCDEE released its Interim COVID-19 Reopening Policies for NC Pre-K Programs, which applies to all NC Pre-K providers - regardless of whether they are located in in public schools or nonpublic or private sites, and provides information on the following:

  • Goals for the 2020-21 NC Pre-K Program Year
  • Mode of Classroom Instruction
  • Health & Safety Guidance
  • Remote Learning Requirements
  • Payment Policies
  • Reporting Requirements

Sites should contact their Contracting Agency if they have questions about the guidance.  Contracting Agencies should contact their NC Pre-K Program Policy Consultant with questions about this guidance.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) continue to share a significant amount of information as North Carolina's COVID-19 response evolves. In this communication there are details on two important topics--July Parent Fees for Subsidized Child Care and Delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleaning Supplies.

 

July Parent Fees for Subsidized Child Care

Many people have been impacted by COVID-19 and DCDEE wants to make sure that families in North Carolina do not experience a negative impact on their subsidy services. Therefore, DCDEE is not requiring families to pay their parent fees for July 2020. The State will make the parent fee payments to open providers as part of the regular subsidy payment for July. Each family will receive a notice by mail informing them of this short-term change.

Also, DCDEE will only pay providers who are open in July and the subsidy payment will continue to be based on March payments for February services.

For additional information, please review the COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policies.

For questions, please contact the Subsidy Section at DCDEE at 919-814-6380. 

 

Delivery of Personal Protective Equipment and Cleaning Supplies

DCDEE will provide each open provider with a delivery of PPE and cleaning supplies, as it is .  increasingly difficult for child care centers to find PPE equipment and cleaning supplies.  The inventory of supplies expected include touchless thermometers with batteries, 10 cloth face coverings for each child care employee, disposable masks, bleach solution, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer.  Child care centers should expect to receive an 8-week supply of these items in multiple shipments this week.

Dear Child Care Providers & Partners,

 

Thank you for your continued partnership in our shared goal to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect North Carolina families.

 

Today, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launched new online tools to help Spanish-speaking North Carolinians to determine if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and help individuals monitor their symptoms if they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19.

 

We are asking for your help to promote these new resources.

 

The new online tools are intended to help people know if they may need a test, how to get a test, and how to monitor their own symptoms if advised to do so. These tools include:

  • Check My Symptoms (Comprobar Mis Síntomas), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
  • Find My Testing Place, a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online. To view in Spanish, users can select Spanish in the yellow box.
  • COVID-19 Community Team Outreach (CCTO) Tool, a password-protected online software that helps people track their own symptoms if they have been advised to do so by the COVID-19 Community Team.

To help spread the word, the available Spanish materials have been updated.  They include:

  • Flyers about getting tested for COVID-19 and using the Check My Symptoms online tool.
  • Facebook and Twitter images for you to share on social media.

You can find these materials at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/preventandprotect in the "Check Your Symptoms" section of the page. Additional resources are also available.

 

Thank you for your commitment to ensuring our communities are informed and supported.

 

Best,

Kristi Snuggs

Interim Director

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to consumers and health care providers about hand sanitizer products that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol (i.e., methyl alcohol or wood alcohol) is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested. As per the FDA news update hyperlinked below, "Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA's investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available."

 

FDA has identified more than two dozen hand sanitizers that are toxic when absorbed through the skin.

 

Consumers who have been exposed to a hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for the potential toxic effects of methanol poisoning, which can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, permanent blindness, and seizures. Although people of all ages are at risk for methanol poisoning, "young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk."

 

Please see the full FDA news update on hand sanitizers with methanol for further information.

Dear Child Care Providers,

 

Please see the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit for important COVID-19 related guidance.  This toolkit contains five important sections.

 

  1. Interim Guidance for Child Care Settings

 

Governor Cooper has implemented a three-phased approach to slowly lift restrictions while combating COVID-19, protecting North Carolinians and working together to recover the economy.

 

This guidance is intended to help licensed/regulated child care facilities make informed decisions about COVID-19 and minimize the risk of exposure to both the staff and the children in their care. Health and safety guidance for child care facilities during COVID-19 is outlined in this section.  DCDEE asks that particular attention be paid to page 7, where it states that is now required that all workers, all other adults, and children 11 years or older on site wear a face covering when they are or may be within six (6) feet of another person, unless the person (or family member, for a child) states that an exception applies

 

  1. Requirements and Recommendations

 

Actions that are required for each topic are stated in Executive Order 141 and extended to Executive Order 147 or are in existing child care rules.  Actions that are recommended for each topic were developed to protect people in the child care facility to minimize spread of COVID-19.  Facilities are expected to meet all guidance in this document.  Specific actions should be tailored to each child care program.

 

  1. Daily Health Screening for COVID-19 for Anyone Entering the Building

 

The person conducing the health screening should maintain 6 feet distance while asking the screening questions.  The questions should be asked of anyone entering the facility or transportation vehicle, including children, staff, family members, or other visitors).

 

  1. Daily Health Screening Log

 

Health screenings should be repeated periodically throughout the day to check for new symptoms developing.

 

  1. Handling Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Flow Chart and

Protocol

 

If you have questions about how to use the toolkit and tailor the guidance to your facility, contact your child care consultant.

 

If you have health and safety questions, contact your child care health consultant.

 

Best,

Dr. Kristi Snuggs

Interim Director

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) have shared a significant amount of information throughout the past several weeks as North Carolina's COVID-19 response evolves. To help you navigate all the recent updates and information, a recap has been compiled, along with reminders and resources that are available to you.

 

Updated Interim Health Guidance for Child Care

DCDEE would like to share some important information including new and updated guidance, which is intended to help licensed/regulated child care facilities make informed decisions about COVID-19 and minimize the risk of exposure to both the staff and the children in their care. The latest Interim Health Guidance for Child Care Settings was released on June 15, 2020.

 

DCDEE asks that special attention be paid to the guidance around the use of outdoor sprinklers in child care facilities and exclusion criteria for anyone being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Operational Grant Information

DCDEE will provide operational grants to licensed child care facilities that are open for all or part of April, May, and June. The operational grants will help providers cover monthly fixed operating costs during these three months of the COVID-19 crisis, recognizing that revenues from parent fees are significantly lower as non-essential workers have kept their children home with them.

 

Who will receive operational grants?

Child care programs who were open in April or reopen in May or June will be eligible to receive operational grants. In order to qualify for the grant, DCDEE required providers to submit either an Emergency Child Care Provider application to remain open OR a reopening application, as well as complete a COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey to report daily whether they were open or closed and to report occupancy/vacancy for children.

 

How much will child care facilities receive?

Child care centers will receive between $500 and $30,000 per month. Family child care homes will receive between $359 and $2,500 per month. The amount of the individual grants will vary based on the following factors:

  • Total number of children served prior to COVID-19:  Programs serving more children will receive larger grants.
  • Star rating:  Programs with a higher star rating will receive larger grants because of the higher cost to meet higher standards.
  • Infant toddler enrollment:  Programs serving infants and toddlers will receive larger grants to account for higher staffing and fixed costs associated with caring for infants and toddlers.
  • Serving subsidy children:  Programs that have served subsidy children in the past 12 months will receive smaller grants than programs that do not serve families and children receiving child care subsidy. Federal Child Care Development Funds are intended to increase access to quality care for families and children with low incomes. However, because of the unique challenges programs are facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, all programs will receive some level of grant support.
  • Subsidy density (the percentage of children enrolled who receive child care subsidy):  Because DCDEE is continuing to stabilize child care subsidy monthly payments to child care providers based on February enrollment, programs that have higher percentages of children on subsidy are getting more of their typical monthly revenue covered than programs that have lower percentages of children on subsidy and rely more heavily on private fees from parents. Therefore, programs with lower percentages of children on subsidy will receive larger grants.

When will the operational grants be awarded?

The operational grants for those child care facilities that were open in April were awarded in May.

 

If the child care facility reopened in May, the operational grants will be awarded beginning June 25, 2020, but deposits can take up to five business days to reach provider's accounts. Grants will be prorated based on when the child care facility reopened. Grant payments could be a combined payment for May and June (two months' worth of grants).

 

If the child care facility reopens in June, the operational grants will be prorated based on the date of reopening and will be awarded beginning June 25, 2020, but deposits can take up to five business days to reach provider's accounts.

 

How can child care facilities find out how much their grant awards will be?

To find out the amount of the operational grant awarded to your facility, please call the appropriate telephone number listed below. When contacting the Division of Child Development and Early Education have the facility name and license number available:

  • If the child care facility is in Alamance through Johnston Counties, contact Arlette Lambert at 919.703.5262.
  • If the child care facility is in Jones through Yancey Counties, contact Laura Hewitt at 919.703.7916.
  • If the child care facility would like to receive the grant amount via email, please send that request to [email protected].

All questions received will be responded to within two business days.

 

Bonus Payment Reminder

Bonus payments for those child care providers who submitted attendance for the months of April and May have been issued. The most recent payments were released on June 12, 2020. If you missed the deadline for entering attendance for teachers and staff at your child care facility, a second wave of payments will be issued. To be captured in the final wave of bonus payments, please submit all attendance for teachers and staff by 9:00 pm on June 22, 2020.

 

Emergency Subsidy Program Payment Reminder

Emergency Subsidy Program payments for those child care providers who submitted attendance for the children in the program for the months of April and May have been issued. The most recent payments were released on June 12, 2020. If you missed the deadline for entering attendance for children at your child care facility, a second wave of payments will be issued. To be captured in the final wave of payments for the Emergency Subsidy Program, please submit all attendance for children by 9:00 pm by June 22, 2020.

 

Reports of COVID-19 in Licensed/Regulated Child Care & School Settings

Beginning June 22, 2020, NCDHHS will begin publicly reporting COVID-19 clusters, defined as 5 or more cases with linkage between cases, in licensed/regulated child care and school settings.  Child care operators and school principals are required per G.S. 130A-136 to report suspected cases of reportable communicable diseases, including COVID-19, to the local health director of the county or district in which the school or facility is located. Public reporting of clusters in child care and school settings is necessary to protect public health and implement appropriate control measures.

 

This data will be reported twice weekly. The report will include the names of child care facilities or schools with a COVID-19 cluster (as defined above), as well as the facility type (school or child care), facility county, and the number of cases and deaths among staff and children. All data reported for clusters in school and child care settings will be disaggregated in terms of cases and deaths of staff and children.

 

Updated Door Signs

The door signs for all child care facilities have been updated as of June 16, 2020.  Please post the updated door signs at your facility (English | Spanish

Dear child care provider,

 

I am writing to share that beginning June 22, 2020, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) will begin publicly reporting COVID-19 clusters, defined as 5 or more cases with linkage between cases, in licensed/regulated child care and school settings.  Child care operators and school principals are required per G.S. 130A-136 to report suspected cases of reportable communicable diseases, including COVID-19, to the local health director of the county or district in which the school or facility is located. Public reporting of clusters in child care and school settings is necessary to protect public health and implement appropriate control measures.

 

This data will be reported twice weekly. The report will include the names of child care facilities or schools with a COVID-19 cluster (as defined above), as well as the facility type (school or child care), facility county, and the number of cases and deaths among staff and children. All data reported for clusters in school and child care settings will be disaggregated in terms of cases and deaths of staff and children.

 

Please see the letter from Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary of NCDHHS, and Mark Benton, Assistant Secretary for the NC Division of Public Health for more information.

 

Best,

Kristi Snuggs

Please read this communication carefully for important information related to the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program and May Bonus Payments.

 

You may begin entering attendance in the Emergency Child Care Portal for the month of May on Sunday, May 31, 2020, and must finish entering all attendance by 9:00pm on Friday, June 5, 2020.

 

As you record attendance for children enrolled in the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program and for employees receiving bonus payments in the Emergency Child Care Portal, remember the following:

  • Record attendance for both children and employees based on absences only.
  • If an employee or child is absent for 10 days or more, record the number of days that the child and employee were present.
  • A job aid with detailed instructions on how to enter employees, as well as, how to record and submit attendance for children and employees is available.  As of May 8, 2020, providers are no longer able to enter new children into the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program. If you have any children who were not entered prior to May 8, 2020, please contact DCDEE Subsidy Services Section for assistance.
  • Remember, only use this portal to record children who are enrolled in the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program and for employees receiving bonuses. Record attendance for children enrolled in regular subsidy as you normally do.

You should also have all completed COVID-19 Parent Applications for Emergency Child Care either uploaded into the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal or mailed to the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE). You will not receive payment for emergency subsidy for May if you have not submitted all completed COVID-19 Parent Applications for Emergency Child Care.

 

If you have any questions about the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, please call the DCDEE Subsidy Unit at 919-814-6380. If you have questions about how to use the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal, please call the Provider Help Desk at 919-813-5460

Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina will be moving into Phase 2 of Reopening on Friday, May 22, 2020, at 5:00pm. Phase 2 includes the following elements:

  • The Stay at Home order will be lifted and North Carolina moves to a Safer at Home recommendation, especially for vulnerable populations.
  • Restaurants will be able to reopen to 50% capacity and other requirements.
  • Salons and personal care will be able to reopen to 50% capacity and other requirements.
  • Pools will be able to reopen to 50% capacity and other requirements.
  • Mass gathering limits is updated to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (Note: This limit does not apply to child care settings.)

As outlined in Executive Order 141, child care facilities may open and may serve all children, if they abide by all these requirements:

  • Follow all NCDHHS guidelines, including updated health and safety guidelines and policy and regulatory requirements
  • Follow the core signage, screening, and sanitation requirements
    • Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place.
    • Post signage reminding employees about social distancing.
    • Post the updated door signs at your facility (English | Spanish).
    • Conduct a daily health screening on all individuals who are entering the building
    • Immediately isolate all sick workers and children from the rest of the facility and send them home.
    • Have a plan to work with local health departments to identify close contacts of confirmed cases in child care settings.
    • Before reopening, submit a Child Care Reopening Application at least 48 hours before reopening (if no Emergency Child Care Provider Application was previously submitted).

Reminders about Reopening

  • Step by step instructions are available explaining how to submit the Child Care Reopening Application.
  • After submitting a Child Care Reopening Application, your child care consultant will contact you to discuss your plan to meet the health and safety guidelines and will provide you with a health and safety certificate that can be posted in your facility.
  • Providers who are reopening after extended closure should read the health and safety guidelines closely to take appropriate steps.
  • The PowerPoint and the recording for the webinars from last week are available to explain the Child Care Reopening Application, operational grants, and updated health guidance.
  • Open providers should submit the COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey daily.
  • If you have any questions about reopening, contact your child care consultant.
  • If you have health and safety questions, contact your child care health consultant .

Financial Support for Open Providers


Operational grants: The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is offering financial support to all licensed child care programs that are open or plan to reopen in May or June. Providers will receive operational grants for April, May, and June for the months they are open to help cover operational and fixed costs for these months during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Operational grants will range from $500 to $30,000 per month for child care centers and range from $359 to $2,500 per month for family child care homes.
  • Programs that were open in April should receive their operational grants this week.
  • Programs that reopen in May or June will receive their operational grants in mid-June or mid-July, respectively.

Emergency Child Care Subsidy Payments: DCDEE will continue to pay emergency child care subsidy payments for May for children who were enrolled as of May 8.

  • Providers should submit May attendance in the Provider Portal by June 5, 2020.
  • Providers who served children of essential workers should make sure to upload each child's parent application into the Provider Portal OR mail the forms to DCDEE by May 25, 2020, in order to receive emergency subsidy payments for May. The mailing address for DCDEE is NC Division of Child Development and Early Education, Subsidy Services Section, 2201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27699-2200.

Bonus Payments for Employees: DCDEE will continue to pay bonus payments for employees who are working on-site for all or part of May. Providers should submit May attendance in the Provider Portal by June 5, 2020.

 

Subsidy Payments and Parent Co-Payments: DCDEE will continue to pay subsidy payments and cover parent co-payments for all providers, regardless of whether they are open or closed for April and May. In June, DCDEE will pay subsidy payments and cover parent co-payments only for open providers.

 

More information about these financial supports is available in the COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policies.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) will be hosting two webinars for child care providers on Friday, May 15,2020. Webinars will cover the following information:

  • Phases of reopening and what it means that North Carolina is in Phase 1
  • Operational grants and other payment updates
  • Updated health and safety guidance

At the time of the meeting, please click on the link OR dial the phone number, enter the access code, and the pass code. You do not need to register in advance.

 

Friday, May 15th from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Friday, May 15th from 2:00pm to 3:00pm

DCDEE apologizes for not including the pass code in the earlier communication.  The webinars are being recorded to be posted online at a later date.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) will provide operational grants to licensed child care facilities that are open for all or part of April, May, and June. The operational grants will help providers cover monthly fixed operating costs during these three months of the COVID-19 crisis, recognizing that revenues from parent fees are significantly lower as non-essential workers have kept their children home with them.

Who will receive operational grants?

Child care programs who were open in April or reopen in May or June will receive operational grants. In April, DCDEE required providers to submit an Emergency Child Care Provider application to remain open, as well as complete a COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey to report whether they were open or closed. Child care programs will receive operational grants for April if they were approved as an emergency child care provider and indicated they were open on the daily provider survey.

How much will child care facilities receive?

Child care centers will receive between $500 and $30,000 per month. Family child care homes will receive between $359 and $2,500 per month. The amount of the individual grants will vary based on the following factors:

  • Total number of children served prior to COVID-19:  Programs serving more children will receive larger grants.
  • Star rating:  Programs with a higher star rating will receive larger grants because of the higher cost to meet higher standards.
  • Infant toddler enrollment:  Programs serving infants and toddlers will receive larger grants to account for higher staffing and fixed costs associated with caring for infants and toddlers.
  • Serving subsidy children:  Programs that have served subsidy children in the past 12 months will receive larger grants than programs that do not serve families and children receiving child care subsidy. Federal Child Care Development Funds are intended to increase access to quality care for families and children with low incomes. However, because of the unique challenges programs are facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, all programs will receive some level of grant support.
  • Subsidy density (the percentage of children enrolled who receive child care subsidy):  Because DCDEE is continuing to stabilize child care subsidy monthly payments to child care providers based on February enrollment, programs that have higher percentages of children on subsidy are getting more of their typical monthly revenue covered than programs that have lower percentages of children on subsidy and rely more heavily on private fees from parents. Therefore, programs with lower percentages of children on subsidy will receive larger grants.

When will the operational grants be awarded?

If the child care facility was open in April, the operational grants will be awarded next week. It will be a combined payment for April and May (two months' worth of grants).

If the child care facility reopens in May, the operational grants will be awarded in mid-June. It will be a combined payment for May and June (two months' worth of grants).

Do child care facilities need to do anything to receive an operational grant?

No. DCDEE will issue the operational grants for April based on whether child care facilities were open and based on the individual facility's characteristics. For programs that are reopening in May, DCDEE will issue operational grants to programs that are reopening (which involves submitting a COVID-19 Child Care Provider Reopening Application and completing the COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey).

How can child care facilities find out how much their grant awards will be?

Please contact Arlette Lambert at (919) 703-5262 or [email protected] to find out how much your facility will receive in operational grants.  All questions received will be responded to within 24 hours.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) will be hosting three webinars for child care providers on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and Friday May 15,2020. Webinars will cover the following information:

  • Phases of reopening and what it means that North Carolina is in Phase 1
  • Operational grants and other payment updates
  • Updated health and safety guidance

Webinars will be hosted on the following dates and times. At the time of the meeting, please click on the link OR dial the phone number and enter the access code. You do not need to register in advance.

 

Thursday, May 14th at 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Friday, May 15th from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Friday, May 15th from 2:00pm to 3:00pm

If you would like to submit questions in advance of the webinar, please email the DCDEE Communications address ([email protected]) by Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 5pm

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) would like to share some important updates related to updated health guidance, reopening application, and health and safety certificates for open providers.

 

Updated Health Guidance 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has updated the Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Child Care Settings  with new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In accordance with Executive Order 138, child care facilities may only be open if they operate in full compliance with these updated health guidelines and other guidelines issued by NC DHHS.

 

Key changes to the health guidelines are shown in red in the link above and include:

  • Updated symptoms list for daily health screening
  • Updates on social distancing strategies, including language on cloth face coverings
  • Updates on sanitation and hygiene practices
  • New guidance for facilities that are reopening after extended closure

DCDEE has also updated door signs in English and Spanish to match the updated symptom list. Please print these updated door signs and post at your facility.

 

Reopening Application 

DCDEE has authorized that all child care programs can reopen as of May 11, 2020, under new emergency child care licensing regulations.  As North Carolina moves into Phase 1, some licensed/regulated child care providers that have been closed are planning to reopen their facility to begin serving children. If you previously submitted an Emergency Child Care Application, you do not need to reapply, but please understand that you now need to:

  • Follow the updated health and safety guidance and 
  • Post the COVID-19 Health and Safety Certificate.  This will be emailed to you. 

If your licensed/regulated child care facility is planning to reopen:

  • You will need to submit a Child Care Provider Reopening Application  in which you must agree to meet the health and safety guidelines before reopening.
  • Providers who have remained open and completed a COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application will not need to fill out the Reopening Application unless they closed after submitting the emergency application.
  • After submitting an application, your child care consultant will reach out to discuss your facility's plan to meet the updated health and safety guidelines and answer any questions about reopening.
  • DCDEE encourages you to proactively reach out to your child care consultant if you have questions about meeting the updated health and safety guidelines.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Certificate for Open Providers

DCDEE will be providing COVID-19 Health and Safety Certificates to open child care facilities to indicate that your facility is approved to operate and has agreed to be in full compliance with the health and safety guidelines for child care facilities issued by NCDHHS. Child care consultants will email the certificate to providers who were approved to serve as emergency child care providers in April, as well as to providers who are approved to newly reopen in May. Once you receive your certificate, you must post it at your facility while the current emergency regulations are in effect

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) would like to share some important updates related to April attendance submission, the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, Bonus Payments for Child Care Teachers and Staff, and new Operational Grants.

 

Attendance for April 

The deadline for providers to submit attendance for emergency subsidy children and teachers/staff bonuses for April services was 9:00PM on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. The portal closed last night and payments for April attendance are currently being processed, which are scheduled to be issued on Friday, May 15, 2020. As a reminder, depending on your financial institution, it may take up to 5 business days to process the payment.

 

It is our understanding that some providers did not previously accept subsidy vouchers and are in the process of completing all steps required for enrollment and setting up direct deposit to receive payment for emergency child care and staff bonuses. Given the extenuating circumstances, the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal will be available to these providers after the May 5, 2020, deadline so they can record their attendance for children and staff for April. Providers who submit April attendance for children and staff after May 5, 2020, will receive payment for April services during the next payment cycle for emergency child care , which begins June 12, 2020.

 

If there are questions about this process or need assistance, please contact the DCDEE Subsidy Services Section (919-814-6380) or the NC FAST Provider Help Desk (919-813-5460).

 

Emergency Subsidy Program

On May 5, 2020, Governor Cooper issued North Carolina's Stay At Home Executive Order 138, which transitions the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 138 goes into effect on Friday, May 8, 2020, at 5:00PM.  Given that Executive Order 138 removes the "essential business" designation, and more businesses can now reopen, providers may enroll new children in the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program ONLY through Friday, May 8th at 5:00PM.

 

You will continue to receive emergency subsidy payments for May for all children who are enrolled in the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program as of Friday, May 8, 2020, at 5:00PM. You will submit attendance for May the same way you did for April.

 

The Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program will end on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 11:59PM. Please inform families attending your facility as soon as possible that the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program will no longer be available be available beginning June 1, 2020.

 

Bonus Payments for Child Care Teachers and Staff 

Bonus payments will be issued for child care teachers and staff for May for programs that are currently open, as well as, those that reopen in May. You will also continue to receive a 10% payment on top of the bonus payments for May which can be used to cover payroll taxes and other administrative costs. For more information about how bonus payments work, please see the Payment Policy.

 

Operational Grants -- More Information Forthcoming

DCDEE is also working to provide additional operational grant funding to open providers and will provide more information by early next week

This a reminder that the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal is available to record attendance for children in the Emergency Child Care Program and child care employees.

 

Providers must submit all April attendance for children and employees who expect to receive a bonus payment through the Provider Portal by 9:00pm on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

 

If you have questions about this process or need assistance, please contact the DCDEE Subsidy Services Section at 919-814-6380 or the NC FAST Provider Help Desk at

919-813-5460

Dear Providers,

 

I know you, your teachers and your staff are under an intense amount of stress as you participate in North Carolina's COVID-19 response from the front lines--bravely supporting and nurturing children and their families.

 

Recognizing the impact that stress, anxiety, and trauma can have in our lives, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Psychological Foundation have launched a helpline to connect front line workers to licensed mental health professionals.

 

The Hope4Healers Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling

(919) 226-2002.  All calls will be confidential.

To share information about the Helpline, please print and distribute the flyer to your teachers and staff.  For convenience, the flyer is available in two different designs--English Flyer 1English Flyer 2Spanish Flyer 1, and Spanish Flyer 2.

 

In addition to child care professionals and their families, Hope4Healers is available to health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders and other staff who work in health care settings and their families who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of NC's COVID-19 response.

Please share this resource with your teachers and staff, and thank you for your continued support of our state and its families.

 

Sincerely,

Kristi Snuggs

This a reminder that the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal is now available to record attendance for children in the Emergency Child Care Program and child care employees.

 

Providers must submit all April attendance for children and employees through the Provider Portal by 9:00pm on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

 

If you have questions about this process or need assistance, please contact the DCDEE Subsidy Services Section (919-814-6380) or the NC FAST Provider Help Desk (919-813-5460)

Dear Child Care Provider:

 

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is pleased to announce that it will be increasing bonus payments to child care teachers and staff for April and May, as well as covering the employer portion of payroll taxes and other administrative costs.  Detailed information about the new bonus amounts, administrative funds, and schedule of payments is now available.

 

We are grateful that many child care teachers, staff and programs have stayed open to provide emergency child care to essential personnel - often with risk and at a financial disadvantage to themselves.

 

Additional federal funding has been allocated through the Child Care and Development Block Grant to support families, child care programs, and child care staff during this economically challenging and stressful time. These increased bonuses, the Emergency Child Care Program for Essential Workers, and child care subsidy stabilization have all been designed to support the state's child care industry and workforce during this time.  We are carefully planning for additional supports as we move through phases of recovery.

 

Thank you for all you are doing to keep North Carolina's children nurtured and learning, families working, and North Carolina strong.

 

Best,

Kristi Snuggs

Dear Child Care Provider,

 

Please read this communication carefully for important information related to the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal.

 

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) has previously communicated about the availability of the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal. The portal has been updated so that when you log in, you will be able to enter attendance for children and employees at the end of the month. Please note that the child information you have already recorded will still be available. You will only need to add any new children.

 

You may begin entering attendance for the month of April on Thursday, April 30, 2020, and must finish entering all attendance by 9:00pm on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

 

As you begin using the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal to record attendance, remember the following:

  • Record attendance for both children and employees based on absences only unless the employee or child was absent for more 10 days or more.
  • If an employee or child is absent for 10 days or more, record the number of days that the child and employee were present.
  • A job aid with detailed instructions on how to enter children and employees, as well as, how to record and submit attendance for children and employees is available.
  • Remember, only use this portal to record children who are enrolled in the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program and for employees receiving bonuses. Record attendance for children enrolled in regular subsidy as you normally do.

You can also begin uploading completed COVID-19 Parent Applications for Emergency Child Care on Thursday, April 30, 2020.  Please ensure that all Parent Applications are submitted either through the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal or by mail by no later than May 25, 2020.

 

As you begin entering the parent applications, remember the following:

  • Instructions for how to upload parent applications are included within the portal.We ask that you begin uploading the parent applications as soon as possible.
  • If you are unable to upload the applications, please mail them to DCDEE, Subsidy Services Section, 2201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-2200.
  • All applications must be uploaded or mailed to DCDEE no later than May 25, 2020, in order to receive payment for May services.

If you have any questions about the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, please call the DCDEE Subsidy Unit at 919-814-6380. If you have any questions about how to use the Emergency Subsidy Provider Portal, please call the Provider Help Desk at 919-813-5460.

 

Thank you,

Kristi Snuggs

Dear Child Care Provider,

 

Please read this email carefully for important updates related to the Provider Portal and payment policies.

 

Emergency Child Care Subsidy Provider Portal Will Be Down This Weekend

The Emergency Child Care Provider Portal will be down for maintenance beginning Friday, April 24, 2020, at 9pm and will be available again Monday morning. If you need to enter children's names in the portal, please do so before 9pm on Friday, April 24, 2020. Otherwise, you will be able to add children's names and attendance again starting the morning of Monday, April 27, 2020.

 

Providers Can Enter Attendance Information Starting Monday, April 27, 2020

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) has previously shared information about the Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program. Starting Monday, April 27, 2020, you will be able to use the portal to enter attendance for:

  • Children in the emergency child care subsidy program for whom you have received a completed Parent Application for Financial Assistance in April. This will be used by DCDEE to issue emergency child care subsidy payments.
  • Child care employees (teachers and staff) who are working on-site in April. This will be used by DCDEE to issue bonus payments.

DCDEE will share more information about how to enter April attendance in the Provider Portal on Monday, April 27, 2020.

 

Payment Policy Reminders

DCDEE is pleased to announce the release of the UPDATED COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policy. This update provides the following clarifications:

  1. The March payment was based on providers entering attendance for all subsidy children as present for all service days during the month of March.  Payments for April and May will be consistent with the March payments for February services for all providers (as recorded in NC FAST).  DCDEE is paying the parent fees for April and May service months and these totals will be added into the April and May payments.
  2. Individual financial institutions may take up to five business days to process direct deposit payments after DCDEE issues the payment.
  3. The Emergency Child Care Subsidy Rate for Family Child Care Homes for 3-5 year old children has been corrected to $780.  Rates were established using the state average for 75th percentile of the 2018 market rates for each group and adding an additional $200 per child per age group. The previously shared amount of $880 contained a calculation error, so the amount has been corrected.

If you have any questions about these payment updates, please call the DCDEE Subsidy Unit (919-814-6380) or the DCDEE Early Education Branch (919-814-6345).

 

Thank you,

Kristi Snuggs

Dear Child Care Provider,

 

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) launched a Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program which will be used by providers who are accepting enrollment of and serving new children of essential workers. Providers who were not accepting vouchers for the Subsidized Child Care Assistance Program prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic must take IMMEDIATE ACTION to ensure that you receive payment for children served as part of the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program.

 

These providers must complete the following steps before April 30, 2020, in order to receive payment by direct deposit.

  1. Create a Business NCID at the North Carolina Identity Management website if you do not already have one. In order to finalize access, the Provider must contact DCDEE Subsidy Services Section at 919-814-6380 to verify the Provider's identity and have the Business NCID linked to the Provider's account.
  2. Enroll in the NC FAST Provider Portal here.
  3. Contact FIS at 1-800-894-0050 to request their Unique Provider Location ID.
  4. Enroll in Direct Deposit on the FIS website. Providers will need to have a bank account and are required to enroll with the direct deposit processor. DCDEE will use direct deposit to make payments to Providers for Emergency Child Care Subsidy. All payments will be made through direct deposit.

Job aids with detailed instructions for each of these steps is available on the DCDEE website.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Providers who were accepting vouchers for the Subsidized Child Care Assistance Program prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic are currently enrolled in the NC FAST Provider Portal which allows these providers access to the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Provider Portal. These providers DO NOT need to complete the enrollment process outlined above.

 

If you have questions about this process or need assistance, please contact the DCDEE Subsidy Services Section (919-814-6380) or the NC FAST Provider Help Desk (919-813-5460).

 

Best,

Kristi Snuggs

Dear Providers and Partners:

 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is excited to share that North Carolina has received approval for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program to help more families purchase food during the COVID-19 pandemic. The P-EBT program provides a benefit on an EBT card to North Carolina families whose children have access to free and reduced lunch at school.

 

NCDHHS is working to operationalize the program and P-EBT recipients will receive this benefit in coming weeks. More than 800,000 children are expected to receive help buying food through the P-EBT program.

 

Families will not need to apply for the P-EBT program. P-EBT eligible families already receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits will receive an additional benefit on their existing EBT card. P-EBT eligible families not already enrolled in FNS will be mailed a new EBT card in the next few weeks. Families who receive a new EBT card will receive a letter from NCDHHS in the mail explaining how to activate and use their card.

 

Working in collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, NCDHHS requested activation of the P-EBT program for North Carolina families to use during school closures. This request was approved on April 20, 2020, by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

 

This new P-EBT program is in addition to other services families may be participating in currently. Families are encouraged to continue utilizing local school and community meal sites for free, nutritious meals.  Families can text FOODNC to 877-877 to find local meal sites. The service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

 

Best,

Kristi Snuggs

Hello NC Pre-K Lead Teachers and Teaching Assistants,

Our role here at the Partnership is to provide resources, support, and programs that empower families, advances children’s wellbeing, and strengthens the early care and education system. We do this because we know that successful children ensure a thriving community and long-term economic prosperity.

To that end, we are working to improve communications with administrators, lead teachers, and teaching assistants and provide you with relevant information. As we receive information specific to the NC Pre-K program and its direct impact on lead teachers and teaching assistants, we will communicate it with you. An email went out last week from DCDEE with comprehensive guidance for attendance, billing, and teacher compensation. It has been the expectation of the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County and DCDEE that teaching staff will be compensated for March and now, through May, since the state is continuing to pay NC Pre-K programs. State payment continues even though our NC Pre-K classrooms and public schools remain closed.

We are still waiting for detailed guidance for Remote/Distance Learning Services, but once we received the guidance, we will communicate it to administrators, lead teachers, and teaching assistants. Still, it is an expectation that you are maintaining contact with your children and their families with learning activities. From discussions with your directors, programs are meeting this requirement in a variety of ways.

As we receive additional information, we will continue to share it with our programs.

Hello NC Pre-K Directors,

We received this guidance last week to distribute to site administrators as well as NC Pre-K Teaching staff. It provides detailed information on attendance and billing through May so that we can process payment for programs. Also, there is detailed information regarding compensation for teaching staff (Lead and Teaching Assistants).

Please review this guidance carefully for the expectations of DCDEE. If you have questions or are unsure if you are in compliance with the guidance, please send those questions to me. I have been seeking clarity regarding this guidance with DCDEE and will continue to follow up with DCDEE to support you through the COVID-19 crisis.

I understand you have had to continue to make decisions to operate while waiting for additional guidance from DCDEE. If you have put things in place to remain open, please let me know what your plan was so that we can work together to meet DCDEE’s expectations. We are still waiting on additional guidance for Remote/Distance Learning Services. I know that many of you have already implemented remote learning opportunities for the children in your NC PreK classrooms.

As soon as we get additional guidance, we will share it with you. We are working on getting this particular guidance out to teaching staff per the directive. If we do not have a contact for your teaching staff, we will contact you to send it to your teachers.

Once we get additional guidance and clarification, we will let you know any other steps that we’ll need to take to monitor compensation and remote/distance learning services.

These are unprecedented times for children, families, and childcare providers. Thank you for the work that you are doing to support families.

Dear Child Care Program Leaders,

I know the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) have shared a significant amount of information throughout the past several weeks as North Carolina's COVID-19 response evolves. Your continued flexibility, willingness to serve, and all your hard work on behalf of the children and families you serve is greatly appreciated. To help you navigate all of the recent updates and information, we have compiled a recap, along with a reminder of the resources available to you. On Monday, April 13, 2020, we will also be sending a letter directly to teachers to make them aware of the availability of classroom resources, bonus payments, and financial assistance for essential workers.

For those of you who remain open or decide you can reopen to serve North Carolina's essential workers, we are immeasurably grateful for your service.  For those of you who make the decision at any point now, or in the future, to close, take care of yourselves and your families, and know we will be here for you with all the help we can offer when you reopen. Whatever your decision, your health and safety and that of your staff and the children and families you serve is paramount.

Please know we will be here for you as we work together over the coming weeks and months. We will continue to provide you with frequent guidance, updates, support and resources.

Stay safe and be well,

Kristi Snuggs

Interim Director

RECAP OF RESOURCES FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS DURING COVID-19

COVID-19 HEALTH GUIDELINES

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, NCDHHS is working to ensure that all providers have guidance to keep their staff, families, and children safe and healthy.

For providers who remain open to serve children of essential workers, the expectations are:

If your facility plans to reopen during the health emergency, complete the COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application Form. To apply, you must attest that you can meet the Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Health Guidance for Child Care Settings and additional operational expectations. If you have not completed the form and received approval to remain open, you must close your facility. To reopen, you must complete the application and attest to meeting the guidelines at least two business days prior to the planned reopening, and receive approval from DCDEE.

VACANCY AND CLOSURE REPORTING

In order to assist in connecting families to available care for children, please complete the daily COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey by 11:59pm each day to provide information on your service status, attendance, and additional capacity at your facility. Your responses will be provided to the child care hotline being operated by the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network.

CHILD CARE HOTLINE

Through a new toll-free hotline, 1-888-600-1685, the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Network is connecting families to available care options based on the daily vacancy reporting that is provided in the daily COVID-19 Child Care Provider Survey. The hotline is available from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The system is prioritizing referrals for essential workers, which includes emergency and first responders, hospital staff, front-line healthcare providers, nursing and adult group home staff, child care program staff, food service staff, and others working to keep communities safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Child care for children who are receiving child welfare services, homeless, or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements are also a priority.

CHILD CARE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Effective April 1, 2020, parents/caregivers can complete a COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care (available in English and Spanish) and submit the application for financial assistance to a child care provider that is accepting children whose parents/caregivers are essential workers. Finally, parents can also fill out a hard copy of the Parent Application at any open child care facility.

The expectations are:

  • Have printed copies of the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care available at your facility for essential workers who are seeking financial assistance for emergency child care.
    • English and Spanish versions are available.
    • Copies of the Voter Registration forms are available in English and Spanish for parents/caregivers who would like to register to vote.
  • Review the guidance for steps to take with regard to the Parent Application forms.

PROVIDER PORTAL FOR EMERGENCY SUBSIDY PROGRAM

DCDEE launched a Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program to be used by providers who are accepting enrollment of and serving new children of essential workers.

The expectations are:

COVID-19 CHILD CARE PAYMENT POLICY

The COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policy provides detailed information about policy changes related to:

  • Subsidized Child Care program payments
  • NC Pre-K Program payments
  • Emergency Child Care Subsidy program payments
  • Bonus payments to child care teachers and staff providing services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

FURTHER QUESTIONS OR HELP

  • For general questions and application questions, contact your DCDEE child care consultant.
  • For questions about health guidance and needs, contact your child care health consultant.
  • For questions about the Provider Portal for Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, contact the NC FAST Provider Help Desk at 919-813-5460.
  • For questions about the Subsidized Child Care Program or the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, contact DCDEE at 1-800-859-0829 or 919-814-6380.
  • For questions about NC Pre-K, contact DCDEE Early Education Branch at 919-814-6345.

For help or resources, such as food or diapers, or troubleshooting other problems, contact your local Smart Start partnership.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is pleased to announce the launch of its Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program to be used by providers who are accepting enrollment of and serving new children of essential workers. The Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program Portal can accessed by navigating to the the regular Child Care Subsidy Assistance Provider Portal, entering your business NCID login information, and selecting "Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program".

 

A  Job Aid is available to assist in reaching the new Provider Portal for Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program. This job aid provides an explanation of how to log into the Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, how to add/remove children in the portal, and how to view the roster. You will need to input the child(ren)'s information from the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care into the Provider Portal.  Follow the Job Aid for details as to how to input the information correctly.

 

Additional guidance is forthcoming about how providers will track and record child and employee attendance in the Provider Portal. In the meantime, please download and print the provided attendance logs to manually track attendance information for children and employees.

 

NOTE: The Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program Provider Portal should only be used for children participating in the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program and staff who will be receiving bonuses. It is not intended to be used to track attendance for children who are receiving subsidy through the Subsidized Child Care Assistance Program. Continue to track attendance for children receiving regular subsidy here.

 

Please keep paper copies of any COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care that you receive from enrolling parents, as well as the completed attendance logs for children and employees.

 

If there are questions regarding the use of the Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program, please contact the NC FAST Provider Help Desk at 919-813-5460. This announcement will also be posted on the DCDEE website.

 

Thank you,

Kristi Snuggs

Interim Director

Division of Child Development and Early Education

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), along with the North Carolina Health and Safety Resource Center, a program of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is excited to announce a new online training opportunity. Now available is a training that includes eight of the required health and safety topics from the Child Care Developmental Fund (CCDF) including:

  1. Prevention and control of infectious diseases, including immunization
  2. Prevention of and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions
  3. Building and physical premises safety, including identification of and protection from hazards that can cause bodily injury such as electrical hazards, bodies of water, and vehicular traffic
  4. Emergency preparedness and response planning for emergencies resulting from a natural disaster, or a man-caused event  (Note:  This is an overview of emergency preparedness and does NOT fulfill the requirement of the longer, in-person Emergency Preparedness and Response in Child Care training that is required to be taken by one staff member within one year of the effective date of the initial license.)
  5. Handling and storage of hazardous materials and the appropriate disposal of biocontaminants
  6. Precautions in transporting children, if applicable
  7. Prevention of shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, and child maltreatment
  8. Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of safe sleeping practices  (Note:  This training is only intended for those not working in an infant room. It does not replace the ITS-SIDS training that is required to be taken in-person by those working in an infant room)

In order to access these courses, an NCID will be needed.  This is the same ID used for the WORKS login and/or CBC Portal.  If you are obtaining an NCID for the first time, use this link: https://ncid.nc.gov/idmdash/.

 

The CCDF Health and Safety modules can be found by using the "all courses" function or searching for CCDF - Health and Safety in Child Care in the search box at the bottom of the main Moodle page.

 

-       If you are unfamiliar with how to navigate Moodle, more information is here.

-       Go directly to DCDEE's Moodle page here.

-       Moodle can also be accessed through DCDEE's homepage.

 

If there are questions about the content of these modules or a provider would like to request technical assistance for your facility on any of these topics, contact the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center or [email protected].

 

If you need assistance with implementing health and safety best practices in child care, check here to see if there is a child care health consultant in your community who can be of assistance. If you do not have a CCHC in your community, contact the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center directly.

 

If you have questions about logging into Moodle or technical issues, please send those questions to Brenda Williamson at [email protected].

Dear Partners:

 

As we head into our second week of April, we continue working around the clock on our response to COVID-19. We remain focused on slowing the spread of the virus so fewer people get sick at the same time and helping North Carolinians weather these very challenging times. Below are some of the highlights of recent actions and resources. As always, please continue to check our website for the latest news, www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

 

  • Families are Receiving Enhanced Benefits to Ensure Food Access
  • Child Care Access & Financial Assistance Available for Essential Workers
  • Child Care Payment Policies Released
  • Child Care Webinars Available
  • COVID-19 Dashboard Updated
  • New Video on Reducing Anxiety and Stress Available
  • Executive Order Prohibits Utility Disconnections
  • Executive Order Gets Equipment to Healthcare Workers, Schools, Local Governments
  • Daily (M-F) Press Briefings Continue

 

Families are Receiving Enhanced Benefits to Ensure Food Access

To help families access food during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are temporarily increasing benefits for March 2020 and April 2020 for current Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recipients in North Carolina. All families that receive FNS will receive the maximum amount allowed for March 2020 and April 2020 for their household size.

Press Release

 

Child Care Access & Financial Assistance Available for Essential Workers

We have two resources for essential workers (as defined in Executive Order 121) who are in need of emergency child care.

  1. We partnered with the NC Child Care Resource & Referral network to launch a hotline, 1-888-600-1685, to connect families with child care programs that have agreed to meet updated health, safety and operational guidelines.
  2. For those essential workers who need it, financial assistance for emergency child care is available.

Learn more.

 

Child Care Payment Policies Released

On Friday, April 3, DCDEE released COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policies, which provides detailed information about policy changes that apply to licensed or regulated child care facilities related to:

  1. Subsidized Child Care Program payments
  2. NC Pre-K program payments
  3. Emergency Child Care Subsidy program payments
  4. Bonus payments to child care teachers and staff providing services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The policy also clarifies that DCDEE will make Subsidized Child Care Program payments to all subsidized child care providers for March, April, and May service months, regardless of whether the facility is open or closed.

Learn more.

 

Child Care Webinars Available

Last week, DCDEE held several webinars for child care providers which are now posted on the DCDEE website:

  1. On March 30 & 31, DCDEE held calls with child care providers to provide an overview of guidance provided to date, the COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application, and financial assistance available for providers and parents.
  2. On April 2 & 3, DCDEE held a webinar to review updated health, screening, and safety guidelines for child care providers that remain open after April 1 or choose to reopen in the future.

Learn more.

 

COVID-19 Dashboard Updated

Last week, we added new data to the COVID-19 Dashboard. In addition to information on number of laboratory-confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths, there is now more demographic information such as age, gender and race and ethnicity and data about hospital beds and supplies. There is also data about outbreaks in congregate settings including nursing homes, residential care facilities, and correctional facilities.

COVID-19 Dashboard

 

New Video on Reducing Anxiety and Stress

Dr. Carrie Brown, NC DHHS Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health and IDD, has a new video on ways to manage stress and anxiety during COVID-19 social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

Video with Dr. Brown

 

Executive Order Prohibits Utility Disconnections

Governor Cooper issued an Executive Order directing utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment. The Order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days.

Press Release

Executive Order

FAQ

 

Executive Order Gets Equipment to Healthcare Workers, Schools, Local Governments

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 122 to help schools and local governments access state surplus property to help bridge gaps during the response to COVID-19. The Order also provides transfer or donation of personal protective equipment that state government may have and not need.

Press Release

Executive Order

 

Daily (M-F) Press Briefings Continue

Public health, emergency management and other state leaders host regular press briefings throughout the week, usually Monday through Friday. These briefings are livestreamed and can be viewed at https://www.ncdps.gov/storm-update.

 

Best,

Madhu Vulimiri

 

Madhu Vulimiri, MPP

Senior Strategy Advisor

Office of the Secretary

NC Department of Health and Human Services

You are invited to join health professionals for an informative discussion regarding the latest COVID-19 Health Guidance for Child Care Settings.  This webinar will review the updated health, screening, and safety guidelines for child care providers that remain open to provide needed child care for essential workers.  We will discuss screening and exclusion criteria and enhanced health and safety practices in child care during the COVID-19 Outbreak. Panelists will include Kristi Snuggs, EdD, Interim Director of the Division of Child Development and Early Education, Jacquie Simmons, MScPH, Project Director, NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center/UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and Amy Petersen, RN, Child Care Health Nurse Consultant, NC Division of Public Health. Regional Health Consultants, Lisa Shifflett, RN and Theresa Stenersen, RN will be present to answer questions.

There are two webinars scheduled for this week.  Please choose the time that works best for you.

 

Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 11:00am to 12:30pm

Attendee link:   https://cisco.webex.com/cisco/onstage/g.php?MTID=e35af37e95e1650d55c3a48c9633576f7

Password - covid19

 

Friday, April 3, 2020 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Attendee link:   https://cisco.webex.com/cisco/onstage/g.php?MTID=e0360d2efe028ef40b88905ae0677a82f

Password - covid19

Dear Child Care Provider,

 

For those providers who have applied to stay open as an emergency child care provider, the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education thanks you for your willingness to serve families during this crisis. For those providers who have decided to close, we respect and understand your decision; please know that we are here to support you in the future.

If you wish to reopen after April 1, 2020, you must complete the COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application and attest to meeting the guidelines at least two days prior to the planned reopening to allow time for review and approval.

 

To our providers that remain open, please continue reading for important guidance related to the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Essential Workers.

 

This communication contains two important documents:

 

  1. The COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care
  • Please print copies of this form and have them available at your facility for parents to complete.
  • Parents will also be able to access this form online, fill it out on their computer, and print a hard copy to complete and bring to your facility.
  1. Guidance for Child Care Providers on Parent Application for Emergency Child Care
  • This guidance for child care providers explains how to review the Parent Application.
  • Please print copies of the North Carolina Voter Registration Application (English version, Spanish version) and have them available at your facility for parents to complete if they wish to register to vote.

A Provider Portal is also under development so that you will be able to add children who are receiving Emergency Child Care Subsidy and track their attendance. The link to the portal and instructions on how to use the portal will be shared as soon as it is confirmed that the portal is functional and ready for use. In the meantime, please track attendance manually starting April 1, 2020.

 

If you have any questions about any of this information, please contact your child care consultant. Thank you again for your continued service to our families.

 

Thank you,

Kristi Snuggs

Interim Director

Division of Child Development and Early Education

Much happened this past week as North Carolina continues its response to COVID-19. Below are some key activities. Additional information is available on the website, ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.  Please check it frequently.

  • Governor Cooper Issues Stay at Home Order
  • NC DHHS Updates Guidance for Providers
  • COVID-19 Dashboard Includes More Data
  • Texting Tool Available to Access Food for Children
  • New Patient Fact Sheet Available - What to do if you feel sick

Governor Cooper Issues Stay at Home Order

In another step to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Cooper issued an Executive Order on March 27, 2020, which ordered people in the state of North Carolina to stay at home for thirty days, until April 29, 2020. Executive Order No. 121 takes effect on Monday, March 30, 2020, at 5:00 PM and reduces the size of gatherings to 10 people. The Order provides for essential businesses to continue to operate while prioritizing social distancing measures. The Order has the force of law and will be enforced in all 100 counties statewide. You can help reinforce this message with our Stay Home, Save Lives social media tools.

Press Release

Executive Order 121

Frequently Asked Questions

Stay Home, Save Lives Social Media Tools

 

COVID-19 Dashboard Includes More Data

The COVID-19 dashboard has been updated, and now includes the following information for North Carolina:

  • Number of Cases Statewide and by County
  • Number of Deaths Statewide and by County
  • Number of Tests Completed
  • Number of People Currently Hospitalized
  • Percent of Cases by Age Range
  • Percent of Deaths by Age Range
  • Percent of Cases by Gender
  • Percent of Deaths by Gender
  • Number of Intensive Care Unit Beds - Total and Empty
  • Number of Inpatient Hospital Beds - Total and Empty

NC DHHS will continue to add new data as it validates reporting methods.

Texting Tool Available to Access Food for Children

Parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

 

Additionally, No Kid Hungry NC has created a map of local school sites, community organizations, and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can access food. The interactive map is updated daily.

Press Release

 

New Patient Fact Sheet Available - What to do if you feel sick

For people who think they might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends they stay home and call their doctor if medical advice is needed. Most people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and recover at home. NC DHHS has developed a fact sheet to help North Carolinians know what to do if they are sick. Fact Sheet

 

You are invited to join NC DHHS for an informative webinar on the response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Department of Health and Human Services leadership will deliver a presentation to equip child care providers with what they need to know and do NOW and provide guidance about what to expect as the situation progresses. Topics will include:

  • Current status of the COVID-19 crisis in North Carolina
  • COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application
  • Financial Assistance for Providers
  • Financial Assistance for Parents
  • Resources available

Following the presentation, NC DHHS leadership will lead a moderated Q&A session.

There will be four different opportunities for child care providers to participate in the webinar. Please choose the time that works best for you.

Monday, March 30, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 pm

Attendee Link: https://cisco.webex.com/cisco/onstage/g.php?MTID=e96dc5d8cc4ca651f75da0edf9ad7732a

Password - covid19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 11:00 am-12:30 pm

Attendee Link: https://cisco.webex.com/cisco/onstage/g.php?MTID=e488e912d05a555da3c329bfe944c5106

Password - covid19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 1:00-2:30 pm

Attendee Link: https://cisco.webex.com/cisco/onstage/g.php?MTID=e761628ddd93b2612789ad82661e7946a

Password - covid19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 pm

Attendee Link: https://cisco.webex.com/cisco/onstage/g.php?MTID=e644cd1debe269c018cd0c95a1b8c608e

Password - covid19

Hello NC Pre-K Directors,

You have received several notices from DCDEE this week regarding application to stay open or re-open as well as payment for April and May. With the Governor’s Executive Order to close schools through May 15 and the Stay at Home order through April 29, Cumberland County’s NC Pre-K classrooms will continue to remain closed for all providers.

The state will continue payment, whether you are closed or open, and the expectation remains that you will pay your teachers.

DCDEE indicated that there would be further guidance on maintaining contact with families and children remotely. Many of you have already been doing this based on conversations we’ve had. Be thinking creatively about how you can offer support to your families.

I know many of you are wrestling with the decision of whether to apply to stay open or re-open. Your licensing consultants are there to guide you through this process.

We will hold a virtual meeting via Zoom with NC Pre-K Directors this Thursday, April 2nd at noon. We want to stay in contact as we continue to get guidance as we all move forward. This will also be an opportunity to share ideas on how to stay in contact with the children we serve. The meeting instructions are below along with a link to a tutorial video for Zoom.

We will continue to update our website with additional resources throughout this crisis. Our staff continues to be available through email or voice mail.

NC Pre-K Directors Meeting
Apr 2, 2020 12:00 PM 
New to Zoom?
Learn how to Zoom video.
Join the meeting via Zoom
Meeting ID: 102 720 682
Password: 692806
Join with your computer's microphone or
dial-in:1 929 205 6099

Dear Child Care Provider,

 

Thank you for supporting our state and families by providing critical child care during the COVID-19 crisis. We know you are concerned about ensuring a healthy workplace for staff and safe, reliable care for children. We also know you need financial support to be able to remain open to support other critical workers who are working to keep our communities safe.

 

The attached guidance provides you with the following information:

  • Financial Assistance for Child Care Facilities and Critical Workers

Thank you,

Kristi Snuggs

Interim Director

Division of Child Development and Early Education

Dear Child Care Providers:

 

Yesterday, the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) sent updated  health and operational guidance with a request to take action on several items, including:

  • Using this web-based form to update your open/closed status, vacancies, staffing, and needed resources.
  • Preparing to receive an application from DCDEE that you will need to complete in order to remain open, attesting to your capacity to follow the health and operational procedures during this emergency period.  Expect to receive that application by no later than Wednesday, March 25th.

This message offers important resources for continuing to operate and serving those working to keep communities safe and healthy as the state respond to COVID-19.

 

Help Finding Supplies, Food or Other Needed Resources

DCDEE has heard that it is difficult to find critical supplies for your programs. DCDEE wants to leverage the trusted relationships between child care providers and local Smart Start partnerships (Local Partnerships). DCDEE acknowledges that communities have come together and organized in unique ways to respond to COVID-19, and that Local Partnerships often have a pulse on the community and what resources are available. The statewide Smart Start Network has stepped up to help.

 

The local Smart Start partnership serving your county will act as a liaison between child care providers who are troubleshooting problems (e.g., finding food, cleaning supplies) and local resources to help meet needs, including the County Emergency Management.

  • Please follow this process when you, as a child care provider, are having trouble accessing food, cleaning supplies, or other essential resources needed to provide care during this pandemic. Reach out to your Local Partnership, and someone will connect you with the appropriate resources and act as an advocate on your behalf. If, for any reason, your Local Partnership is not able to connect you to available resources in the community, they will communicate with the County Emergency Management.
    • Note: If you have directly contacted County Emergency Management for support with resources in the past, going forward please contact your Local Partnership first to get connected with appropriate resources.
  • If you have any questions about this process, please reach out to Safiyah Jackson ([email protected]) at the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

Help Connecting Families to Child Care Options

A new toll-free number, 1-888-600-1685, offered through the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Network will connect families to available care options. The toll-free line will indicate that we are prioritizing referrals for critical workers and priority groups, which includes emergency and first responders, hospital staff, front-line healthcare providers, nursing and adult group home staff, child care program staff, food service staff and others working to keep our communities safe and healthy as we respond to COVID-19. Care for children who are receiving child welfare services, homeless, or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements should also be a priority.

 

Help with Health or Subsidy Issues

As a reminder, if you have health-related questions or concerns, every child care program now has access to a child care health consultant who is standing by to take your health calls and emails.

If there are questions about child care subsidy, please continue to call DCDEE at 1-800-859-0829 or 919-814-6300.

 

Many thanks to the Smart Start Network of Local Partnerships and the Child Care Resource and Referral Network for partnering to provide these important resources as we all work together to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.   

The NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) has several updates to share on North Carolina's response to COVID-19. Below is a list of highlights. Please be sure to check the latest update page and review the information provided on ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

1.  Governor Cooper Issues a New Executive Order.

2.  CDC Updates List of Who is High Risk

3.  Secretary Cohen Calls for Health Care Volunteers

4.  NC Pushes for Federal Changes to Make Food, Healthcare More Accessible

5.  Hospitals Urged to Cancel Elective and Non-urgent Procedures and Surgeries

6.  Medicaid Changes Policies to Encourage Telemedicine

Governor Cooper Issues a New Executive Order

Governor Roy Cooper ordered tighter limits on gatherings and extended school closures statewide through May 15, 2020. The order also closed businesses that require close social interaction and limited visitors to long-term care centers. The Executive Order bans gatherings of more than 50 people.

Grocery stores and restaurants providing takeout and delivery will remain open. Additionally, Governor Cooper reminded North Carolinians to show restraint in buying groceries and supplies.

The May 15 school closure date is based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Updates List of Who is High Risk

On March 22, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated who is at high-risk for more severe illness from COVID-19. This is a new disease and we continue to learn about it as new information becomes available.

Secretary Cohen Calls for Health Care Volunteers

With COVID-19 in North Carolina, there is a need to bolster the state's health care system to ensure it can care for those impacted by the virus. A crucial part of that effort is recruiting volunteers to supplement the health care workforce - including doctors and nurses, pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care, and facility maintenance and administrative support workers and others. North Carolina is also asking volunteers to provide medical supplies if they are able, including personal protective equipment.

NC Pushes for Federal Changes to Make Food, Healthcare More Accessible

Governor Cooper has asked for waivers so children and families who are food insecure can access resources for meals.  He also asked the federal government to waive certain requirements of the Medicaid program to help pay for care that may extend longer than usual during the crisis. Waivers are intended to reduce burden on Medicaid and NC Health Choice providers such as doctors and hospitals as well as beneficiaries

Hospitals Urged to Cancel Elective and Non-urgent Procedures and Surgeries

Effective March 23, 2020, as part of a unified response, Secretary Cohen requested all hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers suspend all elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries. Elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries are defined as any procedure or surgery that, if not done within the next 4 weeks, would not cause harm to the patient.

Medicaid Changes Policies to Encourage Telemedicine

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, Medicaid temporarily modified its Telemedicine and Telepsychiatry Clinical Coverage Policies to better enable the delivery of remote care to Medicaid beneficiaries. In addition to telephone conversations and secure electronic messaging, the modifications will include the use of two-way real-time interactive audio and video to provide and support physical and behavioral health care when participants are in different physical locations.

Thank you for all that you are doing for the children and families in North Carolina!

Dear Child Care Providers,

Please see the guidance document for important COVID-19 related guidance and request for actions that we are asking you to take if your program remains open or chooses to reopen.

This guidance contains three important sections.

  1. Updated health guidance

This includes information about a forthcoming application indicating your ability to adhere to the updated health guidance and other operational policies, if you choose remain open during the health emergency. You will receive the application by Wednesday, March 25th, and we ask that you complete the application by March 31st.

  1. Vacancy and closure reporting

This includes a link to an online form to report your current service status, attendance, available slots, and staffing resources. We ask that you begin submitting this form on a daily basis starting tomorrow, March 24th.

  1. Ensuring critical workers have access to child care

This includes information about the new toll-free number which will connect families to available care options based on the daily vacancy reporting that you provide.

Additional information regarding financial supports is forthcoming. If you have any questions about any of this information, please contact your child care consultant.

We know this is a challenging time for all of you, and sincerely appreciate all you do on behalf of the children and families you serve. Please make sure you are taking care of yourselves and your families during this time.

Best,

Dr. Kristi L. Snuggs

Interim Director

We hope you are well and we thank you for your patience as we all navigate this unprecedented time together.

As promised, we are monitoring state directives and guidance closely and wanted to share out some information.

On Monday, March 16, 2020, an email from DCDEE informing you that DCDEE will pay all NC Pre-K programs for the entire month of March, regardless of child attendance or closure. Since that notice went out, we and DCDEE have received emails and calls with additional questions regarding March payments.  We and DCDEE have also heard from teachers who are concerned (and in some cases, being told) that they will not get paid while their NC Pre-K program is closed.  Therefore, DCDEE has addressed some of the concerns as well as clarify any questions you may have (The following was received directly from DCDEE this afternoon):

-        Programs will receive full payments for March based on the number of children enrolled.
-        Vacancies are not paid any other time and this month is no exception.
-        Teachers should still receive their compensation that NC Pre-K funds pay for, regardless of whether or not a program has decided to close.
·         NC Pre-K rates are paid based on each teacher’s license.  It is their license that determines the rate you receive.
·         This also applies to those who have requested and received rate exceptions in the past for the purpose of ensuring teachers are adequately compensated.
·         Please refer to Section 6: NC Pre-K Staff of the NC Pre-K Program Requirements & Guidance manual for further guidance regarding teacher compensation and classroom reimbursement rates
·         Contractors and Providers are still bound to use NC Pre-K funds in allowable ways only
o   You may refer to the NC Pre-K Fiscal Manual (Section 3 B) for guidance regarding NC Pre-K funds
o   Direct services funds should be spent on NC Pre-K services which includes salary/benefits for teaching staff

DCDEE reiterated that they are doing their part to ensure payments are made to us. We, in turn, will work as hard as we can to ensure we get your payments to you as timely as possible.

They have also asked us to please share this information with you, our NC Pre-K Providers, so that you know to communicate this message with their staff. It is equally important to DCDEE and us that our teachers feel supported and receive answers to the questions they have regarding their pay during this challenging time.

In addition, DCDEE has no immediate plans beyond March.

DCDEE indicated that you may have questions in regards to the Governor's announcement about closing all NC Public Schools through at least May 15th. As decisions are made around school closures, DCDEE will issue further guidance once they have all of the information and approvals they need to move forward. Their goal is to support us, the contractor and you, the program providers through this difficult time.

Yesterday, North Carolina announced its first documented case of community spread, meaning the person infected did not have contact with someone who had tested positive or traveled to a highly impacted area.  Confirmed community spread signals a need to further accelerate the next phase of the work.

 

North Carolina has already been taking actions as if community spread had occurred to get ahead of the virus.  With the goal of flattening the curve, Governor Roy Cooper has taken aggressive actions by limiting large gatherings and closing restaurants and bars.  The idea is to lessen the number of people who get sick at the same time and avoid overwhelming the state's hospitals and health care system.  As this next phase begins, North Carolina needs to continue to reduce the chances for further spread and exposure and protect our healthcare system, so it is there when needed.

 

North Carolina wants to reduce the chances that people will be exposed to the virus or expose others so other surveillance methods will begin to be deployed to understand the spread of the virus and drive the decision-making.

 

Protecting the state's health care workforce and making sure they have the protective equipment they need is paramount.  As licensed child care providers, the state needs you to be there for the children of the health care workforce, emergency responders, and others who are on the front line of this crisis.

 

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) knows this a challenging time and wants to be supportive by providing the most current and up-to-date guidance.  NC DHHS recommends that child care facilities:

  • Cancel or reduce large events and gatherings, such as assemblies and field trips.
  • Limit inter-school interactions.
  • Consider dismissals if staff or absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. Short-term closures may also be necessary to facilitate public health investigation and/or cleaning if a case is diagnosed in a child or staff member.
  • Follow the guidance for child care settings.

Child care settings should also:

  • Take precautions to protect children and staff from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review absenteeism policies and procedures to make sure children and staff are not being encouraged to attend or work if they are sick.
  • Establish a relationship with the local health department and communicate with them if there are any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Remind staff and the children's guardians that an annual flu shot is an important way to support overall health. While the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is the best defense against the flu, which is a common respiratory illness.
  • Make sure to get reliable information. Be thoughtful about any information received on the virus and take steps to separate rumor from fact before forwarding information on to staff and children. All North Carolinians can better prepare for COVID-19 by getting up-to-date information directly from reliable sources like NC DHHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Finally, here are several resources to assist in the navigation of these challenging times.

  • NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina is now available for people to call for assistance related to the COVID-19 coronavirus
  • COVID-19 text information and updates are available. To sign up, text COVIDNC to 898211.
  • The NC DHHS website publishes regular updates, including new guidance that is developed, information about Executive Orders, and other important information.
  • The DCDEE website publishes regular updates, including new guidance specific to child care facilities, as well as provide parents and educators with COVID-19 virus guidance and home learning resources.

Thank you again for supporting North Carolina and its families by providing vital care and services.

Dear Early Childhood Partners:

 

First, thank you so much for the important work you are doing during this time of crisis. We understand that during this rapidly changing time, many partners and advocates have questions about how the Governor’s executive order on school closures will impact families with young children, and how the State is responding to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed.

 

We want provide you with a brief update about some of the work underway to ensure families have access to child care, access to nutritious food, and access to remote learning:

  • On Saturday, March 14th the Governor appointed an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed. The working group is focused on issues such as (but not limited to) nutrition, health, child care access for critical health care and other front-line workers and learning support for children at home. The Working Group is co-chaired by Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary of NC DHHS and David Stegall, Ed.D, Deputy State Superintendent of Innovation at DPI, and will have representatives from DPI, NC DHHS, the State Board of Education, as well as other education, nutrition and childcare associations.
  • Access to Safe, Affordable Child Care
  • DHHS sent a letter to child care providers (attached) about the decision to stay open or close down, and guidance for those facilities that do stay open.
  • DCDEE released guidance on public health information for child care providers about when someone is sick, screening criteria, exclusion criteria, cleaning, helping the community, limiting exposure, and preparedness.
  • DCDEE released guidanceto child care providers on subsidy and pre-K payments, stating that for the month of March, 1) child care centers will receive full subsidy payment for each child enrolled in their facility according to each child’s plan of care, and 2) NC Pre-K programs will be paid in full for March, regardless of child attendance or closure.
  • DHHS and DPI released joint guidancefor the operation of school-based emergency child care during the COVID-19 school closure.
  • DCDEE released guidanceon the need to maintain compliance with all child care rules to the extent possible, while also providing flexibilities to child care providers around staff/child ratios, group size, training requirements, records, activity areas, and nutritional standards.
  • On March 19th, NC set up a toll-free number for families to call and find out which child care providers are open. We are prioritizing communicating the 1-800 line to healthcare providers and other essential workers.
  • Access to Nutritious Food
  • USDA has approved multiple waivers for NC to provide food to children through the Summer Food Programs in non-congregate settings, which enables meal delivery. As of March 19, 2020, all 115 public school districts, 3 federal schools, 33 charter schools, and 35 community partners (e.g., food banks, Feeding America, large faith-based entities) have approved plans to serve meals to children. School districts have flexibility on how to distribute food and have implemented a variety of innovative methods for meal pick-up/delivery (e.g., yellow school bus delivery, grab-and-go meals, drive-by pickup). Most sites began serving meals on Monday, March 16th (averaging 250,000 meals per day).
  • DHHS and DPI are seeking multiple additional waivers and flexibilities to maximize federal programs (e.g., WIC, CACFP, SNAP, and school nutrition programs) to increase access to food for families and children.
  • DHHS and DPI are providing regular guidance and technical assistance to schools and community food sponsors.
  • DPI is continuing to coordinate Nutrition Hubs at schools, connecting schools and community organizations with school meals with food packages for households.
  • DHHS and DPI are soliciting feedback from schools, child care providers, and others to identify possible underserved communities in order to better deploy food assistance.
  • CDSAGuidance
  • As of March 18, 2020, the North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program (ITP) is suspending face-to-face services until March 30, 2020, unless extended beyond that date.  The program will be providing alternate methods to ensure the best support for our families during this difficult time and ensure service continuity.
  • Access to Remote Learning 
  • NC DPI has launched a COVID-19 Response & Resources webpage with a robust set of resources for educators and families.
  • NC DPI has published resources for parents to support learning for children birth to grade 2.
  • NC DPI is working with internet service providers who are offering free and affordable options for high-speed internet while schools are closed. NC DPI has launched an interactive map for families to find free and affordable internet service offerings across the state.
  • NC DPI is partnering with The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to provide instructional support.

 

This work is evolving quickly and we are committed to keeping you updated and to ensuring children and families are supported. We will continue to pursue every opportunity to support child care programs and schools with good health and safety guidance, financial stability, and flexibilities during this time. DHHS has developed a COVID-19 website with a robust set of resources related to the coronavirus. We will be posting updates on our DHHS website. If you have any questions, please reach out to Hayley Young at [email protected] or (803) 413-4694.

 

Best,

 

Susan Gale Perry

 

 

Susan Gale Perry

Chief Deputy Secretary

NC Department of Health and Human Services

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) appreciates all the hard work and continued sacrifices that NC's child care facilities have made during the COVID-19 outbreak to serve families, fuel the state's economy, and protect the state and nation's security.

With the closure of North Carolina's public schools, DCDEE knows the demand on the state's licensed child care facilities is elevated. In order to provide relief and flexibility to child care facilities serving families, DCDEE has been actively working to identify policy and regulatory requirements that can be temporarily waived, while still ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of children.

While DCDEE asks that facilities attempt to continue to maintain compliance with all child care rules to the extent possible, the ones included in the enclosed chart have been identified to provide flexibility to centers during this time of crisis. DCDEE will continue to evaluate and determine if there is a need to include additional regulatory flexibility as the situation progresses.

Additionally, during this time, all monitoring visits and environment rating scale assessments will not take place. This temporary change does not include investigations of complaints and investigations of child maltreatment. Other flexibilities include areas such as Staff/Child Ratios and Group Size, Training Requirements, Record Retention, Activity Areas, and Nutritional Standards. Be assured that a child care facility's star rating will not be impacted if a facility temporarily utilizes these flexibilities. A NC Pre-K classroom that discontinues operation as an NC Pre-K classroom will need to operate according to the regular child care licensing standards identified in the attached chart.

Thank you for supporting North Carolina and its families by providing vital care and services.

RULE TOPIC  EMERGENCY DESCRIPTION  REGULATION
Inspections of Child Care Facilities The Division will not be conducting visits and inspections other than in response to a complaint or investigation of child maltreatment. 10A NCAC 09 .0201
On-Going Requirements for a License The Division will not enforce required inspections under (a) and (b) to the extent such inspections cannot take place due to COVID-19. 10A NCAC 09 .0304(a) and (b)
Activity Schedules and Plans Temporarily allow flexibility to child care facilities for the completion and posting of activity schedules and plans. 10A NCAC 09 .0508
Activity Areas Allow flexibility in the requirements for activity areas and focus on providing age appropriate activities for children in care. Temporarily may allow up to 2 hours of screen time per day for children three years old and older. 10A NCAC 09 .0510
Staff Qualifications If child care facilities are required to add new staff, the Medical Report and Tuberculin (TB) Test Requirements may be temporarily waived to allow staff to begin work, provided they are not symptomatic and all requirements can be completed within 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .0701(a)
Staff Qualifications Temporarily waiving the requirements to maintain certain information in an individual's staff record. 10A NCAC 09 .0703(c), (d)
Staff/Child Ratio and Group Size Temporary allowance for all child care facility programs, regardless of star-rating, to operate using the minimum allowable staff/child ratios and group sizes.

Temporarily allow increasing the maximum group size provided the staff/child ratios are maintained for the youngest child in the group, not to exceed two groupings of children. Must adhere to the CDC Guidance of not gathering more than 50 people in a single space.

10A NCAC 09 .0713(a).
Nutritional Requirements Temporarily waive the requirements to provide additional food to meet the USDA Meal Patterns for Child Care requirements when meals/snacks are brought from home. 10A NCAC 09 .0901
Staff Orientation Temporarily waive/suspend the time frame for staff to complete orientation.  Some staff may have just been hired and it may be a hardship for programs to get these orientation hours completed within the required time frames. 10A NCAC 09 1101(a)
Training Requirements Provide an additional six months for administrators and any child care provider to complete CPR, FA and ITS-SIDS training.  This change is allowed as long as one child care provider who has completed the CPR, FA training is present while children are in care, and as long as one child care provider in the infant room who has completed the ITS-SIDS training is present while infants are in care. 10A NCAC 09 .1102
Indoor/Outdoor Space Temporary allowance for child care facilities to exceed current indoor and outdoor space capacity requirements. 10A NCAC 09 1401(a), (f)

10A NCAC 1402(b)

10A NCAC 09 .2504

Family Child Care Home - Nutrition Standards Temporarily waive compliance with Meal Pattern requirements if availability and access to food components is impacted due to COVID-19, including if a parent brings in their own food for meals and snacks. 10A NCAC 09 .1706
Family Child Care Home - Inspections Temporarily waive requirement for announced or unannounced visits other than in response to a complaint or investigation of child maltreatment. 10A NCAC 09 .1709
Family Child Care Home - Daily Operations Temporarily allow flexibly to child care facilities for the completion and posting of activity schedules and plans. Temporarily allow up to 2 hours of screen time per day, and unlimited usage time periods when working on school assignments. 10A NCAC 09 .1718(a)(6), (b)
Family Child Care Home - Records Temporarily waive the requirement that the Child's Health Assessment and Child Immunization Record be included in the Child's Record within the first 30 days of enrollment. These records should be provided within 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .1721(a)(1),(2)
Record Retention Temporarily waive the requirement that the Child Medical Report and Child Immunization Record be included in the Child's Record within the first 30 days of enrollment. These records should be provided within 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .2318(6)
School-Age Children - Age Appropriate Activities Continue focusing on providing age appropriate activities daily. Temporarily may allow up to 2 hours of screen time per day, and unlimited usage time periods when working on school assignments. Make rest areas available if a child wants to rest, but not required due to space and number of cots/mats available. 10A NCAC 09 .2508
Star Rating The Division will not be conducting announced or unannounced visits to assess compliance for star-rating. 10A NCAC 09 .2830
NC Pre-K Attendance Temporarily waive the requirement to contact parents for more than three consecutive absences when such absences are related to COVID-19. 10A NCAC 09 .3003
NC Pre-K Child Health Assessment Temporarily extend the 30-day requirement for completion of the health assessment to 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .3005

Hi All,
I know that these continue to be trying times as we navigate COVID-19. DCDEE and DHHS have sent out guidance regarding payment for Subsidy and NC Pre-K as well as health considerations should you remain open.

The guidance that has come from DCDEE and Susan Perry from DHHS indicate that it the choice of the child care program to be open or to close. There is nothing preventing you from serving your NC Pre-K students through your wrap-around program while the NC Pre-K program is closed. That is your program’s decision.

DCDEE is reimbursing your programs for NC Pre-K services for the month of March, regardless of child attendance or closure. As a result, it is our expectation that you pay your NC Pre-K teachers during this closure.

Things are evolving on a daily basis. As we receive additional information, we will communicate accordingly. DCDEE is sending out information directly to providers and this is your first and most accurate source of information. We will continue to coordinate and collaborate with our state partners and DCDEE Child Care Consultants.

In these unprecedented times, we know child care providers and partners are worried about providing a healthy workplace for yourself and your staff and safe, reliable care for the children you serve. We also know you may need to make difficult choices about whether to stay open or to temporarily close, and we know you do not make this decision lightly.

 

DHHS and DCDEE are working daily to ensure you have the information you need to keep yourself and your families healthy - both your own and the families for which you provide care.

 

This is the first of many communications you will receive from DCDEE. We want to start with health guidance first. We also want to provide you with access to trusted resources you can connect with if you have additional questions.

 

We hope you'll partner with us by:

 

Connecting with all available consultants

  • Your DCDEE Child Care Consultant will be checking in with you by phone on a consistent basis to answer questions and provide support.

In addition, please read the provided detailed guidance intended to help child care facilities make informed decisions about COVID-19 and minimize the risk of exposure to both the staff and the children in their care.

 

Thank you for supporting our state and its families by providing vital care and services.

While we are still awaiting guidance from the state, please enter all of your attendance up to this point. 

The Governor issued an Executive Order today closing all public schools for at least two weeks, effective March 16. As a result, all NC Pre-K Classrooms in our county will be closed including private sites and public schools. We do not want any discrepancy between private sites and public school in regards to this situation. Because this is a state-funded program, I am asking that you follow the Public Schools closings for your NC Pre-K Classrooms only.