FAQ's on Hurricane Irma Closures
Good morning Providers,

The Coalition's Clearwater office is now open. Our St. Petersburg and Largo locations are expected to reopen on September 18th. The Coalition has been calling providers today to get an idea of which providers have resumed offering child care services and which providers will remain closed and for how long.  We have heard from several of you already.  Here are some FAQ's that we wanted to provide answers to and some additional clarification to information previously shared.

Q: If the Coalition is open/closed, are we required to open/close?
A: Follow your emergency plan to determine the best decision for reopening your program.  Do not open until it is safe to do so.  Licensing has informed us that if you suffer damage to your home or children's center, you must notify their office immediately.  Please call (727) 507-4857 ext. 7905 (Julie Oliver's extension).  Prior to re-opening, you must have a visit from a licensing specialist to verify that health and safety requirements are in compliance. 

Q: Will VPK providers be paid for closure days due to the storm?
A: VPK providers may be reimbursed up to 5 days for temporary closures due to a natural disaster (per year).  Any additional days will require a calendar change to make up the days. If you followed the public schools in closing all 7 days (9/7 - 9/15), you will be required to adjust your VPK schedule. A closure is considered temporary if the provider resumes instruction following the closure and is caused by emergency circumstances when a state of emergency is declared by federal, state or local officials for the area in which the provider is located.  Also, a temporary closure caused by emergency circumstances is not payable for any student who does not attend a VPK instructional day following the closure.   You may refer to 6M-8.204, F.A.C. Uniform Attendance Policy for Funding the VPK Program
Q: Will School Readiness providers be paid for closure days due to the storm?  
  • Thursday, 9/7 and Friday 9/8: SR Providers that closed on these dates will be paid in accordance with the 
    ELCPC-61.3.2 Pre-disaster Closure Reimbursement Policy as posted at www.elcpinellas.net/sr-downloads.
  • Monday 9/11 through Friday 9/15: SR Providers will be paid if they are unable to open and legally operate. Closures due to flooding, loss of power, limited staffing due to evacuations, significant structural damage to home or building, etc. will be approved only through Friday 9/15.  To simplify attendance processing, 9/7 - 9/15 will be pre-coded with a "D" on your September attendance rosters.  Any closures extending beyond this time frame, including for those reasons listed above, will be considered on a case by case basis by submitting documentation to your Certification Specialist. Please see paragraph 50 of SR Provider Contract and 6M-4.501 Reimbursement During Emergency Closures.
Q: If I follow the school district calendar and public schools don't reopen until Monday, can I still get paid if I am able to reopen but choose to remain closed?
A: No. Simply following the school district calendar is not a valid reason for temporary emergency closure unless the provider operates at a public school site.  The Coalition is required to reimburse providers for emergency closures when it is operating under its emergency plan (which in the case of Hurricane Irma covers the dates of September 11 th and 12 th ). The Coalition may reimburse SR providers for when schools are closed, however, the closure must be temporary and beyond the provider's control.  If a provider is not operating at a public school site and is able to legally operate they are encouraged to be open.
Q: Am I allowed to waive parent fees (co-payments)?
A: No.  Parents are still required to pay their co-payments and providers are still required to collect them and provide a receipt.  Providers may, however, waive or reduce the differential between the SR reimbursement rate and their private rate as these charges are at the provider's discretion.  
If you have questions, please contact 727-400-4417 and we will do our best to field your call or return in a timely manner

Sponsorship by Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County., Florida's Office of Early Learning, 64% Federal Funds

Email: info@elcpinellas.net