Statements from State leaders and Mary Sonnenberg, President of the Partnership for Children
April 14, 2020 - 1:00 PM - Update from Mary Sonnenberg to NC Pre-K Lead Teachers and Teaching Assistants regarding DCDEE Program Guidance
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.
April 13, 2020 - 11:00 AM - Update from Mary Sonnenberg to NC Pre-K Directors regarding DCDEE Program Guidance
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,
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:
- Follow the Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Health Guidance for Child Care Settings and the meet the requirements in the COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application Form to minimize the risk of exposure to both the staff and the children in their care.
- Post this sign (available in English and Spanish) with screening criteria at the entrance of your facility.
- Review the webinars about health and safety that DCDEE hosted on April 2 and 3, 2020. The webinar is available for listening, as is the presentation.
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.
- 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:
- Log into the Provider Portal. (The Provider Portal for COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program Job Aid provides instructions on how to log into the system.)
- Add children's information (name and date of birth) into the Provider Portal as you receive completed COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care forms (The Provider Portal for COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program Job Aid has instructions for how to do this.)
- Please keep paper copies of the Parent Applications that you receive from enrolling parents.
- Manually track attendance for children and employees until this is available in the Provider Portal. DCDEE will provide guidance later this month when the Portal is ready for attendance to be entered.
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.
- Please check What's New - Coronavirus Information for Child Care on the DCDEE website and the DHHS COVID-19 Child Care guidance on a regular basis for new resources and guidance.
- DCDEE has developed CHILD CARE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) FOR PROVIDERS. This will be updated regularly.
- Recordings of and materials from the child care provider calls from March 30 and 31, 2020, are now available. On these dates, NCDHHS held a series of calls for child care providers, during which NCDHHS Deputy Secretary Susan Gale Perry and DCDEE Interim Director Kristi Snuggs explained available guidance and resources, and answered participant questions. For those who were unable to attend, a recording of these calls is available on the website along with the PowerPoint slides and transcript.
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.
April 8, 2020 - 4:30 PM - DCDEE Provider Portal for the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program Now Available
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.
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:
- Prevention and control of infectious diseases, including immunization
- Prevention of and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions
- 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
- 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.)
- Handling and storage of hazardous materials and the appropriate disposal of biocontaminants
- Precautions in transporting children, if applicable
- Prevention of shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, and child maltreatment
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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@example.com.
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.
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.
- 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.
- For those essential workers who need it, financial assistance for emergency child care is available.
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:
- 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.
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.
Child Care Webinars Available
Last week, DCDEE held several webinars for child care providers which are now posted on the DCDEE website:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Madhu Vulimiri, MPP
Senior Strategy Advisor
Office of the Secretary
April 1, 2020 - 11:07 PM DCDEE Webinars Regarding the Updated Health, Screening, and Safety Guidelines for Child Care Settings during the COVID-19 Outbreak
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
Password - covid19
Friday, April 3, 2020 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Password - covid19
April 1, 2020 - 2:34 PM DCDEE COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care & Relevant Guidance
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
Password - covid19
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Password - covid19
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 1:00-2:30 pm
Password - covid19
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 pm
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.
March 26, 2020 - 11:42 AM - DCDEE Child Care Provider Guidelines, Application, and Financial Assistance Information
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:
- New Guidelines and Application to Remain Open or Reopen
- ACTION REQUIRED: You must complete a COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Provider Application Form by 11:59 pm on March 31, 2020.
- Financial Assistance for Child Care Facilities and Critical Workers
Division of Child Development and Early Education
March 24, 2020 - 4:00 PM - DCDEE Resources and Information for Child Care Providers on Local Smart Start Partnerships Aiding and Assisting with North Carolina's Response to COVID-19
Dear Child Care Providers:
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Dr. Kristi L. Snuggs
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.
- 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@example.com or (803) 413-4694.
Susan Gale Perry
Susan Gale Perry
Chief Deputy Secretary
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|
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.
March 16, 2020 - 4:08 PM - DCDEE Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Child Care Settings
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.
- A child care health consultant is also available to answer any questions. The attached spreadsheet lists the child care health consultant assigned to your county.
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.