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 as of 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.

Health & Safety Guidance

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) released COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidance for Childcare and Summer Afterschool Programs that are re-opening on June 1, 2020. VDH has developed a Frequently Asked Questions document about the health guidance for child care and summer programs, as well as sample Daily & Weekly COVID Health Checklists that programs can use. What Parents Can Expect – Child Care and School Age Camps/Care is a resource has been translated to several languages for you to use with families. See here for all documents: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/schools-and-child-care-programs

We hosted informational webinars with Dr. Breena Holmes on 5/13 and 5/20 covering the new guidance from VDH. Note that while both presentations cover roughly the same material, the Q&A is different.

The Vermont Department of Health has public health nurses available to child care and summer programs to answer health-related child care and summer programs from 8:00AM to 3:00PM M-F. Call 802-863-7240, select the option for “Providers of Child Care and Summer Program.” After hours there will be a child care and summer program question mailbox to leave a message and Health staff will return your call the following business day.

Signs & poster resources for Vermont child care and summer programs during COVID can be found here as well as additional information for licensed programs: https://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/covid-19/cc-programs.

The American Camp Association and YMCA of the USA released a 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.

School-based summer programs should reference new guidance from the Agency of Education (released 5/29/20) – Leveraging Summer 2020 Learning Programs: A Strong, Healthy Summer Start.

Supplies

The Child Development Division has a webpage for updates and information about supplies being coordinated by the State of Vermont. Some people 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, as well as other distilleries across Vermont.

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. *Starting 6/23 the call will move to 5:30-6:30pm to accommodate staff working in programs during the day.

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

Summer Activity Guide

Are you a youth development or summer learning program looking for fun and engaging activities designed to accommodate COVID19 this summer? Look no further! The new Summer Activity Guide offers 150 activities and challenges organized by four different age groups and includes guidance on how to support positive youth development. This resource uses a mix of approaches to serve youth this summer, including in-person, virtually, or through take-home activities! Over the next 10 weeks, activity batches will be provided every two weeks along with supplemental materials throughout to support providers and families in preparation and implementation. Learn more and download units here.

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.