The pandemic triggered by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has deeply impacted Head Start and Early Head Start programs, enrolled children and families, and their communities.  RIVHSA is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and impacts on the Head Start network. See developments and resources below.  Grantees are encouraged to contact our OHS Regional Office with operational inquiries and your State Collaboration Director for statewide updates.  

Center for Disease Control

Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):  Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs:  This guidance will help child care programs, schools, and their partners understand how to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within child care and school communities and facilities. It also aims to help child care programs, schools, and partners react quickly should a case be identified. The guidance includes considerations to help administrators plan for the continuity of teaching and learning if there is community spread of COVID-19.

Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities:  Interim Recommendations for U.S. Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):  This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of rooms or areas occupied by those with suspected or with confirmed COVID-19. It is aimed at limiting the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in key environments. These recommendations will be updated if additional information becomes available.  These guidelines are focused on community, non-healthcare facilities such as schools, institutions of higher education, offices, daycare centers, businesses, and community centers that do, and do not, house persons overnight. These guidelines are not meant  for cleaning staff in healthcare facilities or repatriation sites, households, or for others for whom specific guidance already exists.

National Community Action Partnership

COVID 19 Community Needs Assessment:  Included within this document is a Community Needs Assessment template for use by local Community Action Agencies as an addendum to their full Community Needs Assessment in response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. This document can serve as a foundation for special supplemental CSBG funding. Within the template is pre-filled text accompanied by places to insert local data and examples. Following the template is a data resource guide for easy access to data and resources to utilize within the template. 


Managing Coronavirus Risks: What Should the Community Action Network Think About?:  The outbreak has impacted normal business operations. Below is guidance for the Community Action network that integrates the most relevant information currently available from various legal and funding sources.

Professional Development

[TEACHSTONE] CLASS for Educators and Parents With the current coronavirus situation, interactions matter now more than ever for educators, parents, children, and communities. We know that you’re likely facing some huge challenges. Teachstone is happy to share some CLASS tools:  free myTeachstone resources, blog posts, webinars, and downloadable resources for parents and educators. Use these resources to learn about the importance of interactions, plan activities for children, and incorporate CLASS concepts into your daily routines.

[PROSOLUTIONS TRAINING] On-Demand Professional DevelopmentThis site allows you to purchase discounted training for on-demand sessions as well as special pricing on CDA Training!  We've made it simple by allowing you to select your state and training topic area. All online courses are skills-based and provide valuable lessons that you can apply in your classroom today. Receive CEUs for course hours completed.  ProSolutions Training's goal is to continue Inspiring Potential in you, and of course the children in your center or classroom through online training and professional.  RIVHSA members receive 20% Off Selected Online Training And Discounted CDA Training.

Office of Head Start


Fiscal Management During the COVID-19 Emergency:  OHS leadership discusses dissemination of the CARES Act supplemental funds. They also address strategies and flexibilities for fiscal management programs should employ while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Responding to Head Start Grantee Questions on COVID-19: Volume May 21, 2020:  OHS is empowering grantee leadership to make decisions that support Head Start children and families first during the COVID-19 pandemic. Review questions and answers from grantees seeking approval for local decisions about operations.


ACF-PI-HS-20-04 Update to Funding for FY 2020 Supplemental Funds in Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Review updated funding instructions that provide greater flexibility so all grantees can respond to the unique and constantly evolving circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. This supersedes ACF-PI-HS-20-03.


ACF-IM-HS-20-03 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Fiscal Flexibilities:  This Information Memorandum (IM) describes how OHS is implementing each item from ACF Grant Flexibilities in Conducting Human Service Activities Related to or Affected by COVID-19. Please note that some items are implemented by OHS as issued by ACF and others are implemented with noted program-specific guidance.


Stay Connected to Decrease Family Stress in Difficult Times:  In this video, Dr. Bergeron is joined by Kiersten Beigel, family and community partnerships specialist at OHS. They discuss how to partner with families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering compassion, connection, and care can decrease parental stress. Addressing immediate stressors related to food, rent support, or healthcare can also help. Dr. B and Kiersten suggest ways programs can find out what is going on with children at home.


Supporting Food Security for Families:  Many Head Start families are struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 emergency. To meet the needs of school-aged children, the USDA is coordinating several efforts which may apply to siblings of Head Start children.


Caring for Children in Group Settings During COVID-19: A Follow-up Conversation (Webinar):  This question-and-answer chat is a follow-up to the Caring for Children in Group Settings During COVID-19 webinar. Michele Cheung, MD, FAAP, a pediatric infectious disease expert, joined Marco Beltran from OHS to apply available guidance to ECE programs.


COVID-19 Check-In (Video):  In this video, Dr. Bergeron shares the unique and creative ways Head Start staff are supporting children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also delves into some Early Head Start program strategies and encourages staff to take care of themselves during this difficult time. Encouraging parent-child relationships is key, as well as communicating with simplicity and engaging in routine activities. Comfort, love, and support are the best remedies for children who might regress in achieving goals as a result of COVID-19. As always, Dr. B shares a love note to workers making a difference in the lives of babies and toddlers all over the country.


Caring for Children in Group Settings During COVID-19 (Webinar):  Early care and education (ECE) programs have many questions about how to keep children and staff healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidance for open programs is now available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This webinar also highlights the guidance and best practices in preventing the spread of disease from Caring for Our Children. Register again to view the webinar replay.


ECLKC Resources to Support Professional Development for Education Staff (Email):  Discover resources on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) that education staff can use to support their professional development during center closures and while social distancing.


Supporting Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Crisis: How Head Start and Early Head Start Programs Can Help (Email)
Find clarification on how programs can support, when possible, the use of closed Head Start centers as temporary child care centers for medical personnel and essential workers. By law, Head Start funds can only be used to provide Head Start services to eligible children and families. However, Head Start facilities, equipment, materials, and supplies can be used to support emergency child care, subject to cost reimbursement or replacement. Head Start staff may also have the option to support emergency child care operations in addition to the work they are doing to continue Head Start services.


Partnering with Families to Improve Economic Stability During and After COVID-19 (Email):  Many Head Start and Early Head Start families are affected with job loss and other community impacts related to COVID-19. Learn more about the steps programs can take, now and in the future, to improve families' financial stability.


Full Enrollment Policy Questions and Answers (Q&As) (Email)


ACF-PI-HS-20-03 FY 2020 Supplemental Funds in Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):  This Program Instruction (PI) provides information about supplemental funds available for Head Start programs in response to COVID-19. It describes the purpose, eligibility, and application process for supplemental summer programs and one-time activities in response to COVID-19.


Update to Wages and Benefits Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Email):  In recognition of the unique circumstances associated with COVID-19, OHS is directing programs to continue to pay wages and provide benefits for staff unable to report to work during center closures necessary to address COVID-19. This directive does not apply to non-COVID-19 related program closures during which employees would not otherwise be paid, such as summer breaks.  This flexibility remains in effect through June 30, 2020 or the date upon which programs reopen for center-based services, and employees return to regularly scheduled onsite work, if sooner. OHS will continue to monitor program closures and may adjust the effective date of this flexibility as needed.


CARES Act Funding to Support Head Start Children, Families, and Programs (Webinar):  Watch as OHS leadership discuss new funding to support needs related to COVID-19. They respond to questions about the purpose of these funds and how to apply.


Responding to Grantee Questions on COVID-19: Updated March 31, 2020:  Explore these questions and responses to common grantee concerns regarding program closure, staff pay and benefits, available flexibilities, and program monitoring.


Serving Needs Beyond Head Start (Email):  Many grantees are asking questions and seeking approval for local decisions about operations. OHS is empowering grantee leadership to make decisions that support Head Start children and families first, and also help others in need.


ACF Grant Flexibilities in Conducting Human Services Activities Related to or Affected By COVID-19 (Email):  With this email, the Administration for Children and Families is transmitting IM-ACF-OA-2020-01 [PDF, 192KB] dealing with grant flexibilities in conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19.


MyPeers Can Support Virtual Work During COVID-19 (Webinar):  Watch this webinar to discover ways to minimize face-to-face contact and travel as your program responds to COVID-19.


Temporarily Repurposing Head Start and Early Head Start Centers: Partnering to Support Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Crisis (Email):  OHS has received many inquiries about temporarily repurposing Head Start and Early Head Start centers closed due to COVID-19 to provide child care primarily for children of medical staff and others engaged in responding to the COVID-19 emergency. To support programs in their decision-making about taking on responsibilities beyond their Head Start population, OHS has developed a set of frequently asked questions, which address some regulatory issues, health and safety concerns, and matters of capacity and liability.


MyPeers Can Support Virtual Work During COVID-19 (Email):  Discover ways to minimize face-to-face contact and travel as your program responds to COVID-19. MyPeers can help program management and staff work remotely by creating a private workgroup for your agency. Use it to hold group chats, share documents and resources, post questions, and even screenshare from the privacy of your own home. Members can access MyPeers via desktop or use the app on their smartphone or tablet.


Supporting Grantee Leadership Regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Webinar):  Hear from OHS leadership as they discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on grantee operations. They offer clarifying information and respond to questions from the Head Start community on recently published (at the time of the webinar) COVID-19 prevention and response information.


Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Flexibilities (Email):  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has waived its group setting meal requirement for closed schools and authorized special flexibilities for many states. Grantees may work with their state CACFP agency to determine whether similar flexibilities that can support the ongoing availability of meals and snacks for enrolled children are available during Head Start and Early Head Start program closures. 


Managing Infectious Disease (Video blog):  Dr. Bergeron and Dr. Marco Beltran discuss strategies for managing infectious disease. Head Start programs can follow local guidance and use federal guidance to support their decision-making.


COVID-19 Wages and Benefit (Email):  In addition to the general flexibilities in ACF-IM-HS-19-01, OHS is providing the additional flexibility regarding wage and benefits for employees impacted by COVID-19 closures.


Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) COVID-19 Funding and Guidance (Email):  A number of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) divisions, including OHS, are releasing COVID-19-related information on funding and guidance. Review information on key issues to keep you up to date (at the time of release).


Region IV Head Start Association Inc.