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Management Bulletin 20-04a


Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: COVID-19 Guidance on Apportionment, Attendance, and Reporting Requirements - Amendment

Number: 20-04(a)

Date: June 2020

Expires: June 30, 2020 or unless rescinded sooner

Authority: Senate Bill 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020)

Attention: Executive Directors, and Program Directors of All Early Learning and Care Programs


Purpose

This Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify and provide updated guidance to state-subsidized early learning and care programs about apportionment, attendance, and reporting requirements after the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 117.

These are not permanent changes to statute or regulations. All provisions in this MB are effective through June 30, 2020 unless this MB is extended or rescinded sooner. As the situation evolves and more information is available, the CDE may issue additional guidance.

The California Department of Education (CDE) is encouraging all programs that can safely remain open, or reopen, to do so in order to serve children currently enrolled or children of essential workers and at-risk populations. Programs open or reopening shall refer to guidance provided in MB 20-06.

This MB supersedes and replaces MB 20-04.

Background

The California Education Code (EC) and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, (5 CCR) currently set apportionment, attendance, and reporting requirements for state-subsidized early learning and care programs. Contractors are required to submit monthly or quarterly fiscal and attendance reports to the Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services (CDNFS) Unit by the 20th of the month following the end of the reporting period. Pursuant to 5 CCR Section 18056(a)(2), acceptable reports not received by CDNFS by the 20th of the month are deemed delinquent and apportionments are withheld until an acceptable report is received.

On March 17, 2020, the Governor signed SB 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020) which includes provisions to ensure continuity of payments to state-subsidized early learning and care programs, subject to guidance from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI). This new law allows the SSPI to develop directives to address, as necessary, contractual reporting requirements applicable for FY 2019-20 state-subsidized early learning and care programs impacted by the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This authority applies to Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 and the following programs: Alternative Payment Program (CAPP), Migrant Child Care (CMIG and CMAP), California State Preschool Program (CSPP), General Child Care (CCTR), Family Child Care Home Education Networks (CFCC), Care for Children with Severe Disabilities (CHAN), and CalWORKs Stages 1, 2, and 3 (C1AP, C2AP, and C3AP) programs. The guidance below responds to this topic.

In accordance with EC sections 8227.3, 8262.1, and 8262.2, contractors are authorized to use digital signatures and maintain records electronically, or convert records from a paper format to an electronic format. Please refer to MB 16-02 https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb1602.asp for additional guidance.

Policy

As authorized by SB 117, fiscal and attendance reporting requirements were temporarily delayed. State-subsidized early learning and care programs shall be reimbursed as provided in the Directive below.

Contracted agencies must report data on dual provider payments during the 2019-20 Fiscal Year as directed below.

Directive

Fiscal and Attendance Reporting Requirements Temporarily Extended

The deadline to submit the February 2020 monthly report and March 2020 quarterly report were extended to May 20, 2020. During that time period, any contractors who were not previously subject to withholding of apportionments prior to the COVID-19 State of Emergency continued to receive monthly apportionment payments. Where feasible, the CDE encouraged contractors to submit updated attendance and fiscal reports prior to the extension deadline. This may have include instances when a contractor has increased enrollment since their last reporting period, thus increasing the calculated apportionment amount due.

Contractor Monthly Apportionment Payments

The extension of fiscal and attendance reporting deadlines allowed CDNFS to continue to process monthly apportionment payments to contractors, despite any absences of attendance and fiscal reports.

The CDNFS will use the most current attendance and fiscal report filed to project earnings. These projections will be the basis for determining the monthly apportionment payments.

Center-Based Contractor Requirement

Center-based contractors (CCTR, CSPP, CMIG, and CHAN) who operate one or more sites that are closed as a result of the COVID-19 State of Emergency should refer to MB 20-11 COVID-19 Guidance on Emergency Closure.

For center-based contractors who remain open:

  • Contractors shall submit fiscal and attendance reports in accordance with the Directive above in the “Fiscal and Attendance Reporting Requirements Temporarily Extended” section.
  • The COVID-19 State of Emergency can be considered a family emergency; therefore, center-based contractors may include absences due to COVID-19 pandemic as excused absences.
  • Contractors who experience substantial absences related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency may also submit an emergency closure request, per the directive in MB 20-11
Family Childcare Home Education Network (FCCHEN) Reimbursement

For information regarding Family Childcare Home Education Network (FCCHEN) provider reimbursement, including CFCC, CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a FCCHEN, refer to MB 20-10 COVID-19 Guidance regarding Family Child Care Home Education Networks.

Alternative Payment (AP) Provider Reimbursement

During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, Alternative payment (AP) providers must be reimbursed pursuant to the following limitations:

Providers who remain open

The AP providers who remain open during the COVID-19 State of Emergency will be reimbursed following the guidelines below:

  • Providers (including license-exempt) are to be reimbursed based on families certified need regardless of attendance
    • For families certified for a variable schedule, providers must be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
    • License-exempt providers that provide part-time services must also be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • Providers must continue to submit attendance records and/or invoices in accordance with current reporting policies
    • Providers may submit an attendance record and/or invoice without the parent signature if the parent is unavailable to sign due to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • The AP contractors must work with providers to determine the best way to receive attendance and/or invoice records while ensuring state and local public health department guidelines are being met. This may include, but is not limited to, submitting electronic records, including digital signatures, or access to a drop box outside of the building.

NOTE: The Alternative Payment (AP) contractors must not solicit families to reduce their certified need or request a leave of absence in order to limit reimbursement to providers.

Providers who close

The AP providers who choose to close during the COVID-19 State of Emergency will be reimbursed following these guidelines:

  • Providers who close for 30 consecutive calendar days or more will receive reimbursement for days of closure for any subsidized child(ren) they traditionally served based on the family’s certified need. In no event may the providers receive reimbursement past the 30-day closure mark. 
  • Providers (including license-exempt) are to be reimbursed based on families certified need.
    • For families certified for a variable schedule, providers must be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
    • License-exempt providers that provide part-time services must also be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • When using closure days, providers must clearly indicate these dates of closure on the attendance record and/or invoice, or communicate with the contractor to report dates of closure.
    • The AP contractors should work with providers to determine the best way to receive attendance and/or invoice records while ensuring state and local public health department guidelines are being met. This may include, but is not limited to, submitting electronic records, including digital signatures, or access to a drop box outside of the building.

NOTE: Families who still need services, but whose usual provider is closed, can select an alternate provider that will be paid. Alternate providers will not be eligible for 30-day closure reimbursement if they choose to close.

Providers who close intermittently

Providers that close intermittently, meaning they are not closed for 30 consecutive calendar days, may be reimbursed for any days of closure that they would have traditionally operated within the 30-day period, through June 30, 2020. The 30 consecutive calendar day clock starts on the first day of closure. Providers will be reimbursed for intermittent days of closure due to COVID-19 by counting those days within the 30 consecutive calendar day clock. These intermittent closure days not to exceed the provider’s normal operational days within that consecutive 30-day clock. Any closure dates beyond 30 days will not be reimbursed.

In no event will providers receive reimbursement for:

  • Days of closure that would exceed the number of days they would have operated had they closed for 30 consecutive calendar days starting from the first day of closure, or
  • Closure days that the family would not have received services per the certified need   

For example, a provider that typically operates five days per week (Monday through Friday) choosing to close intermittently beginning April 6, will be reimbursed for no more than 21 days of closure. This is calculated by counting the number of days that the provider would have operated between April 6 and May 5.  A provider may be reimbursed for up to the 21 closure days through June 30, 2020.

To summarize, for providers who choose to close for some period of time due to COVID-19 pandemic, but less than 30 consecutive calendar days:

  • The number of operational days, for purposes of reimbursement, is determined by the number of days the provider would normally operate within the 30-calendar day period.
  • The 30-day period begins on the first day the provider is closed.  
  • Providers may be reimbursed for the number of closure days up to June 30, 2020 or until the COVID-19 State of Emergency is rescinded.

In addition, providers (including license-exempt) who choose to close intermittently must be reimbursed for dates of closure based on families’ certified need, regardless of attendance.

  • For families certified for a variable schedule, providers must be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care for the closure dates the family would have attended.  
  • License-exempt providers that provide part-time services must also be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care for the closure dates the family would have attended.

Regardless of reimbursement, providers must continue to submit attendance records and/or invoices in accordance with current reporting policies. The attendance record and/or invoice must clearly indicate dates of closure.

  • Providers may submit an attendance record and/or invoice without the parent signature if the parent is unavailable to sign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The AP contractors must work with providers to determine the best way to receive attendance and/or invoice records while ensuring state and local public health department guidelines are being met. This may include, but is not limited to, submitting electronic records, including digital signatures, or access to a drop box outside of the building.

Alternative Payment contractors shall be held harmless for reimbursements made prior to issuance of the MB 20-04A, that are in conflict with the requirements set forth in this MB.

NOTE: Providers who have already closed for 30 consecutive calendar days cannot be reimbursed for additional closure days during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

As a reminder, in accordance with Title 22 (22 CCR) sections 101212 and 102416.2, licensed providers must report intermittent closures to their regional CCL office.

Data Reporting Requirements for Alternative Payment Contractors and County Welfare Departments

The CDE and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will continue to require AP contractors and County Welfare Departments to collect information and report data on dual provider payments during the 2019-20 Fiscal Year. The CDE and CDSS will continue to collect this information via a survey sent over email. For CDE contractors, this email will be sent via the ELCD listservs for AP contractors, so please make sure you visit the ELCD Email Distribution List Subscription web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/emailindex.asp to subscribe.

Resources

The CDE ELCD has developed a COVID-19 pandemic guidance and resource page that includes answers to frequently asked questions, all MBs issued to implement pertinent legislation, and other relevant resources at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/elcdcovid19.asp.

To be informed of updated information, please sign up for ELCD’s email list at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/progspeclist.asp.

The CDSS Community Care Licensing Division has developed Provider Information Notice (PIN) 20-06-CCP, which provides social and physical distance and ratio and group size guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. This PIN can be found on the CDSS website at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing.

For more information about federal and state guidance and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html, the California Department of Public Health’s website at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx, and the California COVID-19 Response website at https://covid19.ca.gov/.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned ELCD Consultant via the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp or by phone at 916-322-6233.

______________________________
Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6223
Last Reviewed: Friday, June 5, 2020
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