Dear VPK and SR Providers:
We have received additional information from OEL related to program closures, payments and eligibility, which is outlined below. While we know this may not answer all of your questions and/concerns, we want to ensure you are made aware of any updates as they are provided to us. We are hoping for more specifics tomorrow.
ELC Broward will be hosting an online Q&A session for providers on
Monday, March 23
to address some of your questions and concerns. We will provide you with additional details on the Q&A Session tomorrow.
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID 19), the Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning strongly recommends that all School Readiness (SR) and Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) adhere to the
CDC’s March 15, 2020 Interim Guidance
for higher-risk populations by limiting students and employees to no more than 10 people in a single occupied space. Providers should also continue to implement health and safety routines and proper hygiene within their programs and adhere to CDC guidance which includes but is not limited to:
- Encouraging staff and parents to protect their personal health.
- Posting signs and symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
- Encouraging parents to stay home and keep children home when sick.
- Creating and maintaining heightened cleaning and sanitation procedures is of the utmost important; Clean surfaces that are frequently touched – things such as shared desks, toys, countertops, kitchen areas, electronics and doorknobs.
- Postponing or canceling field trips and meetings that require close contact.
- Staying up to date on developments in your community.
- Creating an emergency plan for possible outbreak.
The Office of Early Learning (OEL) in collaboration with
the Early Learning Coalition of Broward, are committed to minimizing the fiscal impact to providers and families. Yesterday, Governor DeSantis held a press conference and DOE subsequently issued a
detailing these efforts to include:
For Early Learning Programs:
- Ensure that all SR and VPK providers receive their funding – which means we will pay/reimburse for additional child absences when the provider is open and for those that occur during temporary closures.
- Eliminate all requirements for remaining child screenings/assessments or provider program assessments for the 2019-20 program year.
- Extend timelines for provider improvement plans, reports and VPK calendars.
- Suspending termination of SR eligibility.
- Extending the timelines for redetermination of SR eligibility.
- Waiving parent copays/fees for SR families (The ELC is waiting to hear back from OEL if there is a criterion for waiving parent copays/fees).
We hope this information is helpful during this difficult time and that the financial provisions provide some relief to your business and staff. The next few weeks will be very trying times and the Early Learning Coalition is here to support you in any way we can.
ELC of Broward