Re-Opening Childcare and Summer Programs in VT

As many of you know, Gov. Phil Scott recently announced that childcare, afterschool, and summer programs can re-open on June 1, 2020. We’re eager to help summer learning and school-age child care programs get going. These programs are so essential to the healthy development of young people. And especially now during this time of stress, fear, and uncertainty.

Let’s build this picture of what summer looks like TOGETHER. Take advantage of ongoing conversations, be in touch with us, and communicate what solutions you are finding so we can share this with each other. The reason you do this work and why programs exist is for healthy child and youth development. It’s for creating positive relationships between youth and also with adults. It’s for all the magic you work to keep kids active, engaged, and safe. We are so honored to be part of this dynamic field that focuses on the well-being of youth and young people.

Re-Start Grants

If your program will be providing care for Vermont children and youth this summer, you may qualify for a stipend from the State of Vermont to help cover additional expenses directly associated with COVID-19. This might include:

  • Buying enough group items to eliminate sharing (i.e., making sure every child has their own markers & pens).
  • Buying face coverings and gloves for staff.
  • Purchasing cleaning products and disinfecting/sanitation services as outlined in the VT Department of Health’s COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidance for Childcare, Summer, and Afterschool Programs.
  • Making structural changes needed to accommodate safer group sizes.
  • Hiring additional staff needed because of smaller group sizes.

To qualify, you must: 

  • Be open by July 6, 2020 for child or summer careHowever, if your program normally opens for summer programming after July 6, you may apply for this stipend. The start date must be consistent with your normal summer operations and not be delayed because of COVID-19.
  • Be located in Vermont and serving Vermont children and youth.
  • Provide either half-day or full-day care.
  • Programs that are currently offering essential care are eligible to apply as long as they will continue to operate through the summer.
  • Be an organized group such as a: 
    • Regulated child care program/provider.
    • A day camp (i.e. sports or arts camp, municipal recreation program). 
    • Overnight camps are not eligible.
    • Programs run through school districts (i.e. 21C) are not eligible.

Information is available at https://dcf.vermont.gov/restart-request. Be sure to read the FAQs before applying. Deadline: May 22, 2020.

This is a program of the Department for Children and Families and questions should be directed to AHS.DCFChildcareRestartQuestions@nullvermont.gov or by calling (802) 241-0946.

Health & Safety Guidance

We hosted webinars with Dr. Breena Holmes on 5/13 and 5/20 covering the new guidance from the Department of Health COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidance for Childcare, Summer, and Afterschool Programs. Note that while both presentations cover roughly the same material, the Q&A is different.

  • Webinar Recording with Dr. Holmes from May 13, 2020 and Q&A
  • Webinar Recording with Dr. Holmes from May 20, 2020 and Q&A

The American Camp Association has newly released its Camp Operations Guide (5/18/20) designed to provide camp directors and staff with a practical guide and tool kit to implement specific recommendations provided by the CDC in relation to risk reduction at camps.

Supplies

As of yet, we do not have a specific, central supply source for afterschool and summer programs but here’s a basic list. Many retailers are taking online and telephone orders for curbside pick-up. Some Vermonters have found cleaning supplies and other needed items at local hardware stores (Aubuchon, Ace, etc.), big box stores (Walmart, Staples, etc.), warehouse clubs (Costco, Sam’s Club) and even pharmacies (Walgreen’s, CVS, Kinney Drugs, Rite Aid). Barr Hill Hand Sanitizer, made in Montpelier, is available with local pick-up or shipment as options. (Updated 5/20)

Planning for Summer Weekly Calls

We know that you are eager to figure out what all these moving pieces mean for your summer program. Please consider joining us on Tuesdays, 1:30-2:30 p.m. to problem-solve together.  (No call on 5/26)

To join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/808892787
Meeting ID: 808 892 787
Call-in #: 1 (312) 626-6799 or 1 (929) 436-2866

Inspiration

The MAUSD Expanded Learning Program has been running an essential care program in Bristol, VT since March. This program for school-age children shows us that high-quality, joyful, safe programming IS possible even in the midst of serious constraints. This is not produced or supported by any state agency. This is simply an example of an Essential Workers’ Child Care Program built at the direction of Gov. Scott during the Covid-19 crisis of 2020.