Find information and resources about Covid-19 and how it may affect you
Update on School Readiness & VPK Services for parents!
During these trying times, we want you to know that we are here to help your family with childcare needs. Although our building is closed to the public, clients can still apply for school readiness and/or VPK services on our Family Portal . All Coalition team members can still be reached by phone, at 772-595-6363 for Family Services, which covers enrollment, eligibility and childcare referral services, or 772-595-6424 for the general line, or through email, or through our social media platforms.
For more information on COVID-19 and how the State of Florida is handling this virus, visit the Florida Department of Health website . You can also visit our Childcare Locator on our website here to see which childcare centers are currently open. Here is the latest update from the state regarding:
Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program
School Readiness (SR) Eligibility Program
St. Lucie County’s Emergency Operations Center is at partial Level 2 activation. The Public Information Lines are operational Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. That number is 772-460-HELP (4357).
• Business Owners and Residents – Please contact the Covid-19 Call Center at 866-779-6121 or visit the Division of Emergency Management website at www.floridadisaster.org / www.flhealth.gov / www.floridajobs.org/covid-19.
Businesses that are unable to maintain the required physical distancing (6 feet) to keep employees and customers safe, should close. Businesses who have questions about how the order impacts them can call the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County at 772-336-6258 or visit https://youredc.com/ or click here to read our Frequently Asked Questions page.
To help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, federal and state health officials are recommending that residents limit gathering of 10 or more. If you are sick or have a compromised immune system, it is recommended that you stay home and avoid public places. If you are sick, please contact your primary health care professional.
For additional information and updates relating to St. Lucie County, please visit: www.stlucieco.gov/covid-19
We would like to be a community resource for you and your children as we navigate our way through this challenging time, dealing with COVID-19.
The Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County will make every attempt to provide accurate and timely information regarding childcare in St. Lucie County. We will be increasing our communication with you during this time.
You may be wondering why some preschool programs are open and some are closed. Each early learning preschool or childcare center can make the individual decision to stay open or temporarily close. Until the State or County makes any other determinations, they can continue to provide care.
If you find that you are having a hard time finding childcare, we are here to help. If you have questions about childcare options, please call our Family Resource Line: 772-595-6363.
It is important to know for all re-determinations and childcare applications–we can help you online and over the phone. As of March 20, our office building is no longer open for in-person visitors, but we can offer our services via phone or online appointments. If you are unable to meet via phone or online, we are here to help you. Please call our Family Resource Line 772-595-6363.
Helpful Community Resources
We will continue to update the below list of local resources that St. Lucie County families may find helpful in these uncertain times.
State and Federal Resources
- CDC COVID-19 website
- Florida Department of Health COVID-19 webpageThe Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour hotline and email account for all coronavirus questions: 1 (866) 779-6121 or website COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Florida’s COVID-19 Case Dashboard
- CDC guidance on pregnant women and COVID-19
- CDC guidance on COVID-19 and kids
- CDC | Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus in Homes and Residential Communities
- Child Care Aware of America (CCAA) Coronavirus News & Resources
- PIE | Rapid Response Resources – Coronavirus
- Public Information Hotline for SLC: 772-460-HELP (4357)
- St. Lucie County Health Department: http://stlucie.floridahealth.gov/
- St. Lucie County Resources, info and updates: https://www.stlucieco.gov/
- St. Lucie County School District (Meals): www.stlucieschools.org 11-1 selected locations Monday, Wednesday and Friday drive-through
- Graceway Village (Meals) https://www.gracewayvillage.com/
- Boys & Girls Clubs (Meals) 4-7 Monday through Friday drive-through
- Mustard Seed Ministries
- Comcast | Offering Free Internet for Two Months to Specific Customers
- Psychology Today | Parenting During COVID-19
- EdNavigator | How should parents prepare for Coronavirus, school closures & getting anything done?
- Yale School of Medicine | Kids and COVID-19: What Parents Should Know
- New York Times | Eight Questions Parents May Have About Coronavirus (March 9)
- New York Times | How to Self-Quarantine (March 6)
- NCSECS | Coronavirus & Students with Disabilities
- Virtual tours of 12 famous museums
- Over 30 virtual field trips
- Scholastic Learn at Home: free daily online courses for kids
- Khan Academy | Sample Daily Schedule
How to talk to children about Coronavirus
- org: How To Talk To Children About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- NPR | Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus
- Child Mind Institute | Talking To Kids About the Coronavirus
- CDC Guidance | Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019
- CDC Guidance | Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
- CDC Guidance | Children in a Disaster (Tools & Resources)
- Zero to Three | Tips for Families (Coronavirus)
- Zero to Three | Tips for Talking to Children (Why Are People Wearing Masks/Covering Their Faces?)
- NASP | Talking to Children About Coronavirus – A Parent Resource
- SAMHSA | Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, & Teachers
- Understood | Talking With Children About Coronavirus
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network | Guide to Helping Families Cope with Coronavirus
- American Academy of Pediatrics | Responding to Children’s Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis
- National Assoc. of School Psychologists | Talking to Children about Coronavirus – A Parent Resource
- Florida Department of Education | Listen Up! We Have To Talk About Germs!
Florida Department of Education Announces Additional Guidance for the 2019-20 School Year
~ All public and private K-12 schools are closed through April 30, 2020
Today, the Department of Education and Commissioner Richard Corcoran are using executive authority to support the Florida Division of Emergency Management to ensure Florida citizens are kept safe.
“The containment of COVID-19 is essential, and this is not a decision we made lightly. Districts have taken action and have instituted distance learning as a necessary precaution to protect students, educators, families, and Florida’s overall public health,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “We are working with our local school districts to provide guidance and help children who need access food during this time. Our number one priority is keeping our families safe and healthy and stopping the spread of this virus. These actions will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Florida. I will continue to work with the Governor, Superintendents, Florida College System and the State University System to do whatever we can to protect our children, our families, and our communities.”
Commissioner Corcoran is taking the following actions, effective immediately:
- All public and private K-12 and career and technical center campuses are closed through April 30, 2020.
- Schools are encouraged to operate virtually or through other non-classroom-based means to the greatest extent possible to implement distance learning.
- School districts should be prepared to extend their educational calendars through June 30, 2020, to the extent feasible and necessary.
- To support students with identified IEP-related services who may have a disruption in services, school districts are given flexibility for the remainder of the school year to provide alternative services or delay services until later in the summer months, in coordination with a student’s parents and IEP team.
Assessments, Accountability and Promotion
- All remaining assessments for school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten and K-12 assessments are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Requirements for graduation and promotion, and final course grades will be evaluated as though those assessments which were cancelled did not exist.
- K-12 school grades will not be calculated for 2019-2020 and schools in turnaround may continue their current status for 2020-2021 to avoid disruption to school leadership and operations.
- Eligibility for Florida Bright Futures scholarships shall be based on available data and results. Tests that were not available to be taken shall not be counted.
- The Commissioner may reduce required instructional hours as necessary to accommodate for closures.
- The Florida Department of Education and K-12 school districts are instructed to redirect unspent 2019-2020 funds from Reading Scholarship Accounts, the Reading Instruction Allocation, the Digital Classroom Allocation and the Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program to help low-income students purchase digital devices and establish Internet services.
- In order to facilitate the remote connection between teachers and students, K-12 school districts are further permitted to redirect unspent Title 2 funds to help low-income students purchase digital devices and establish Internet services.
- K-12 school districts are permitted to redirect unspent 2019-2020 funds from the Safe Schools and Mental Health allocations to virtual and telephonic mental health counseling services for students who need emotional support due to COVID-19.
- All school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten, K-12, career and technical centers and state college programs will receive their full allocation of funding, and therefore staff and contractors can be paid fully, through June 30, 2020, as though there was no disruption in education.
- For the next 120 days, exam fees for teacher certification-related examinations will be waived, and test takers who were unable to take an exam due to test site locations closing will be granted an extension to meet these requirements.
Mass Gatherings and Community Events
- Commissioner Corcoran urges adherence to the CDC’s guidance for higher-risk populations by cancelling any mass gatherings, community events and extracurricular activities, including sports of more than 10 people in a single occupied space at any educational program, school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten, public and private K-12, career and technical centers, and public and private colleges and universities.
School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten Programs
- Commissioner Corcoran strongly recommend school readiness and voluntary prekindergarten programs adhere to the CDC’s guidance for higher-risk populations by limiting students and employees to no more than 10 people convening in a single occupied space, therefore breaking students into groups as necessary, maintaining social distancing best practices and proper hygiene.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services Offices
- All services provided by the divisions of Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services to clients shall be provided solely though virtual and telephonic methods to the extent possible.
- The Department will work with appropriate federal authorities to seek waivers for any federal requirements that may be impacted.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.