Dear early care and education supporters,

Included below are some important announcements from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning. We encourage you to read the full announcements below.

We also included information on the United Way of PA's survey on COVID-19 impacts. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Be healthy and safe,
The PennAEYC Team
School Age Child Care (SACC) Update
As Pennsylvania local education agencies (LEAs) and private schools are finalizing and announcing plans for the 2020-21 academic school year, OCDEL is becoming increasingly aware that many school districts are implementing hybrid or full remote instruction models for the 2020-21 school year. These announcements have raised questions about this coming school year and how families with children enrolled in kindergarten or beyond will be supported if they need expanded child care.

The most common questions coming into the OCDEL office are:

Can school age children enroll in child care if their schools have announced moving to part-time or full-time remote instruction?
  • Yes, during the 2020-21 school year, children whose schools have announced various schedule changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can enroll in child care. If the district has announced that children will not attend school for face to face instruction, then working families can enroll children in child care during those days.

Will OCDEL revise the school-age blended rate for children attending child care during the portion of the day, that has typically been considered “school hours”?
  • OCDEL and the Department of Human Services intend to support children’s enrollment to the greatest extent possible. We are working to issue a policy announcement clarifying the response to this question further. Currently Pennsylvania and many other states are waiting for clarification from the federal Office of Child Care. The Office of Child Care anticipates providing guidance to states next week.

Will non-licensed programs be able to serve school age children? 
  • Yes. Enrollment in a licensed child care facility is preferred, however, part-day school age programs will be able to enroll school-age children during the 2020-21 school year. Enrolled children must be kindergarten age or older. A separate targeted announcement will be issued to provide guidance on notifying the Department of operations during COVID-19.
UPDATED: Announcement: ELRC-20 #12, 2020 Keystone STARS
Performance Standards and Program Manual
OCDEL has released the Announcement: ELRC-20 #12, 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards and Program Manual. 
 
This Announcement provides information to child care programs regarding the 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards. This is an updated policy, providing additional information and replaces ELS-KS-18 #02 Keystone STARS Performance Standards and Program Manual and accompanying documents. Along with the official policy announcement are:
 
 
This Announcement also provides information on changes to Program Quality Assessment within Keystone STARS. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, OCDEL is temporarily changing the Keystone STARS requirement for Program Quality Assessment (PQA), found in the Early Childhood Education Program indicator EC 3.4.5, for all STAR 3 and 4 programs for FY 20/21. Previously Keystone STARS quality indicator EC 3.4.5, required all programs seeking to move to a STAR 3 or 4 or renew their STAR 3 or 4 designation to have an external PQA using either Environment Rating Scales (ERS) or CLASS and meet the minimum threshold scores for each STAR level.
 
As a result of current and ongoing conditions of COVID-19, the following temporary changes have been made to the role Program Quality Assessment (PQA) has in the Keystone STARS Performance Standards for the 2020-21 program Year*: 
  • Integrate a program’s Facility COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan into CQI activities (EC 2.1 and EC 3.4.5)
  • Transition from the use of a formal external PQA to an internal Assessment process that will guide programs in their CQI activities (EC 3.4.5)
  • Provide programs the opportunity to consult with a Program Quality Assessor at the completion of their internal assessment process (EC 3.4.6)
  • Replace “self-assessment” with the term “internal assessment”
  • Remove PQA minimum threshold scores for STAR 3 and 4 programs
 
*Changes to temporarily suspend the requirement for an external PQA (ERS or CLASS Assessment) in the 2020-21 Keystone STARS Performance Standards are related to best practices in the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. In future renewal cycles beginning after June 30, 2021, programs may be required to have an external program assessment and meet threshold scores to continue designation at STAR 3 or STAR 4. OCDEL will issue an announcement and revised STAR Standards when any expectations regarding the designation process changes which will align with new program years.
 
A recorded webinar will be available to providers which will provide an overview of the 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards. More information and instructions for viewing will be provided soon.
Emergency Temporary Relocation of Facility due to the Governor Issuing a Declaration of Disaster – Specific to Novel Coronavirus

This Announcement establishes a statewide protocol to manage situations in which a child care facility must relocate operation due to LEA decisions to limit access to their facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This document is specific to child care impacted by displacement through Aug. 30, 2021. This announcement supplements announcement C-17-05, which addressed the process to relocate due to all other emergency or disaster circumstances.

If a child care operator is informed they will be displaced from a LEA building, OCDEL will work with the provider to complete an emergency relocation if they plan to continue operations. This process is outlined in the Announcement. If programs have questions they should contact their certification representative. 
United Way of Pennsylvania COVID-19 Impact Survey
Pennsylvania United Ways seek to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living in Pennsylvania. United Way of Pennsylvania is conducting a survey that will be used to inform how to best support Pennsylvania ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families throughout long-term recovery and beyond.

Completing this survey should take less than 10 minutes. Your responses are confidential. The individual results of this survey and any other identifying information will not be shared. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact United Way of Pennsylvania by email at info@uwp.org.
Phone: (717) 635-9026
Toll Free: 888.272.9267
415 Market St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101