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Management Bulletin 20-17


Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Requirements for Distance Learning Plans, Program Quality, and Distance Learning Services for Direct Service Contractors

Number: 20-17

Date: September 11, 2020

Expires: June 30, 2021

Authority: The 2020-21 Budget Act and Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020), Education Omnibus Trailer Bill

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Administrators of General Child Care and Development Programs (CCTR); California State Preschool Programs (CSPP); Family Child Care Homes Education Networks (CFCC); Severely Disabled Programs (CHAN); Migrant Child Care and Development Program (CMIG)


Purpose

The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to provide guidance to state-subsidized, direct service contractors who provide early learning and care services regarding the requirements for the distance learning plan, program quality, and the delivery of distance learning services for children and families who are not receiving in-person services.

These requirements only apply to Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-2021, pursuant to Chapter 24 of the Statutes of 2020.

Background

The California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), sections 18270.5 through 18281 set forth program quality requirements for direct service contractors.

The Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) amended California Education Code (EC) Section 8209 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EC 8209 (f)(3) requires direct service contractors that are closed due to a public health order and funded to be operational to submit a distance learning plan, and to provide distance learning services for all children and families who are not receiving in-person services.

Policy

Direct service contractors, including General Child Care and Development Program (CCTR), California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Family Child Care Home Education Network (CFCC), Severely Disabled Program (CHAN); Migrant Child Care and Development Program (CMIG) contractors must adhere to program quality requirements for children, families and staff, pursuant to 5 CCR Sections 18270.5 through 18281, and to staffing ratios requirements, pursuant to 5 CCR sections 18290 through 18292.

Direct service contractors must submit a distance learning plan to the CDE, ELCD and offer distance learning services for those children and families impacted when programs, sites, or classrooms are closed due to a public health order, or when the contractor is unable to provide in-person services to all enrolled children, including children whose families are sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct service contractors who only provide services to school-age children, the distance learning plan may be modified to address outreach and communication services as described in directives below.

For purposes of this MB, distance learning, outreach, and communication services may be delivered in a variety of modalities, including, but not limited to, home activity packages, lending libraries, phone calls, text messages, emails, online learning platforms, and/or videos.

For the purposes of this MB, state or local public health orders may include written orders, advisories or guidance specific to early learning or child care issued by a state or local public health authority.

Directives

Distance Learning Plan

Direct service contractors who are closed, or who are unable to provide in-person services for all currently enrolled children due to a public health order, or when families choose to shelter in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, must submit a distance learning plan and offer children and families distance learning, outreach, and communication services.

Direct service contractors must notify families, teachers and Family Child Care Home Education Network (FCCHEN) providers of the plan of the delivery of distance learning, outreach and communication services.

Direct service contractors who provide services through a FCCHEN must collaborate with FCCHEN providers to develop a plan and deliver distance learning and/or outreach and communication services for children and families who are not receiving in-person services.

The distance learning plan shall address the program quality requirements and the contractors plan for the delivery of distance learning, outreach and communication services for the items below. Direct service contractors must complete the distance learning plan template located at https://surveys2.cde.ca.gov/go/distancelearningplan20-21.asp. The distance learning plan must be received by the CDE, ELCD on or before October 1, 2020.

Program Quality Requirements and Distance Learning Services for Non-School Age Children and Families

Distance learning plans and services should align with the program quality requirements described in 5 CCR Sections 18270.5 through 18281. Distance learning services must be offered to all children and families who are not receiving in-person services.

Distance learning services may be offered through various methods to maintain the developmental progress of currently enrolled children that are not receiving in-person services. Distance learning services and outreach efforts may include, but are not limited to, home activity packages, lending libraries, phone calls, text messages, emails, online learning platforms and/or video. Contractors preparing activity packets should ensure the delivery of these packets comply with all social distancing requirements.

Parent Involvement and Education

The 5 CCR Section 18275 requires direct service contractors to include in the program a parent involvement and education component. The distance learning plan should address how the contractor will implement the following provisions:

  1. How the contractor will ensure that families are able to fully engage in distance learning services, and how the contractor will solicit information from the family on the available resources and methods they have available and prefer for distance learning services. Contractors must provide distance learning services in the preferred method of the family.
  2. How the contractor will, to the greatest extent possible, conduct distance learning services in the family's preferred language and how these services will include a combination of teacher interactions and family activities to maintain relationships and supports for families and children with each other and with program staff.
  3. How the contractor will contact each family a minimum of once per week to keep updated on the child and family, and to provide distance learning services. Services and outreach efforts must be documented in accordance with 5 CCR Sections 18273, 18275 and 18276.
  4. How the contractor will communicate with families about their progress and needs with distance learning services, the child’s learning, development, routines, activities, and behavior, as well as the family’s overall well-being.
  5. How the contractor will provide families with resources and referrals to support services, social services, and health services as needed.
  6. How the contractor will re-engage families whom the contractor has been unable to reach for more than a week, and how re-engagement efforts will be documented.
  7. How the contractor will conduct at least two (2) individual conferences with parents during FY 2020-21, in compliance with 5 CCR Section 18275(b)(2). These conferences can be completed virtually if needed.

Contractors should contact the local R&R agency at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/rragencylist.asp and the local QCC consortia to identify additional resources to meet the needs of children, families, and staff.

Education Program

The 5 CCR Section 18273 requires direct service contractors to provide an education program. The distance learning plan should address how the contractor will implement the following provisions:

  1. How the contractor will provide families with distance learning activities that can be incorporated into daily activities and assist with creating a predictable routine in the family’s home.
  2. How the contractor will offer developmentally appropriate activities that align with those activities conducted in the program, and how activities that can be done at home will be included. These activities must align with the California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations, the California Preschool Learning Foundations, the California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework, and the California Preschool Curriculum Frameworks.
  3. How the contractor will provide, to the extent possible, the accommodations necessary for children with special needs, and how children’s distance learning services will be individualized and focused on activities that would have meaning and interest to the family and the child.
  4. How the contractor will keep records that include the activities planned for distance learning services, and the amount of time each family and child have participated in distance learning services.
  5. How the contractor will provide interactions based on the family's resources and preferred methods of receiving distance learning services. These interactions should include a combination of teacher interactions and family activities to maintain relationships and supports for families and children with each other and with program staff. Below are examples of maximum appropriate time frames for distance learning activities that are provided through virtual interactions, as applicable:
    1. A maximum of 15 minutes per session for families with infants and toddlers
    2. A maximum of 30 minutes per session for children two to three (2-3) years of age
    3. A maximum of 45 minutes per session for preschool age children
Staff Development

The 5 CCR Section 18274 requires direct service contractors to develop and implement a staff development program. Contractors must provide staff with professional development, or access to professional development through distance learning opportunities for priority topics including, but not limited to, health and safety and child development. Contractors may provide staff development using the resources located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/elcdcovid19.asp. Additional resources on staff development are provided in the resources section below.

Nutrition

The 5 CCR Section 18278 requires direct service contractors to include a nutrition component for the program. This section requires that children who are receiving in-person services must be provided meals and/or snacks. Contractors may, but are not required to, provide meals and/or snacks for children who are being provided distance learning services.

Program Quality Requirements and Outreach and Communication Services for School Age Children and Families

Direct service contractors who serve only children enrolled in Transitional Kindergarten (TK-12 years of age) must submit a plan for outreach and communication services for those children and families not receiving in-person services. Those contractors are only required to complete the distance learning plan template for the items below. Outreach and communication plans and services should align with the program quality requirements described in 5 CCR Sections 18270.5 through 18281. Communication and outreach services must be offered to all school-age children and families who are not receiving in-person services.

Outreach and communication services may be offered through various methods, including, but not limited to, phone calls, text messages, emails, and/or video conferencing.

Parent Involvement and Education

The 5 CCR Section 18275 requires direct service contractors to include in the program a parent involvement and education component. The distance learning plan should address how the contractor will implement the following provisions:

  1. How the contractor will contact each family a minimum of once per week to keep updated on the school age child and family. Outreach and communication efforts must be documented in accordance with 5 CCR Sections 18273, 18275 and 18276.
  2. How the contractor will communicate with families about their progress and needs with TK-12 distance learning, the child’s learning, development, routines, activities, and behavior, as well as the family’s overall well-being.
  3. How the contractor will provide families with resources and referrals to support services, social services, and health services as needed.
  4. How the contractor will re-engage families whom the contractor has been unable to reach for more than a week, and how re-engagement efforts will be documented.
  5. How the contractor will conduct at least two (2) individual conferences with parents during FY 2020-21 in compliance with 5 CCR Section 18275(b)(2). These conferences can be completed virtually if needed.

Contractors should contact the local R&R agency at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/rragencylist.asp and the local QCC consortia to identify additional resources to meet the needs of children, families, and staff.

Staff Development

The 5 CCR Section 18274 requires direct service contractors to develop and implement a staff development program. Contractors must provide staff with professional development, or access to professional development through distance learning opportunities, for priority topics including, but not limited to, health and safety and child development. Contractors may provide staff development using the resources located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/elcdcovid19.asp. Additional resources on staff development are provided in the resources section below.

Nutrition

The 5 CCR Section 18278 requires direct service contractors to include a nutrition component for the program. This section requires that children who are receiving in-person services must be provided meals and/or snacks. Contractors may, but are not required to, provide meals and/or snacks for children who are being provided distance learning services.

Resources

State Guidelines--CDE and ELCD-Specific

The CDE, ELCD has developed a COVID-19 guidance and resource page that includes answers to frequently asked questions, all management bulletins 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 CDE has developed a guidebook for the safe reopening of California’s public schools which can be found at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/documents/strongertogether.pdf.

Social and Physical Distancing Guidance and Healthy Practices for Early Learning and Care (ELC) Facilities

All contractors must follow healthy and safe practices and adhere to local and state public health orders in all Early Learning and Care (ELC) settings.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued public health guidance regarding cohorts/small groups of children in licensed and license exempt child care settings, and before and after school programs. The CDPH guidance can be accessed at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/small-groups-child-youth.aspx.

The CDE worked collaboratively together with the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) at the California Department of Industrial Relations, to issue joint updated guidance on the following topics:

For the state’s ELC playbook for caring for children and getting back to work, visit: https://californiaall.org/home.

The CDSS Community Care Licensing Division has developed Provider Information Notices (PIN) which provides guidance on social and physical distancing, ratio and group sizes, and healthy practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PINs released by CDSS can be found at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing.

Choosing to Reopen and What it Looks Like to Reopen Facilities

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released guidance to assist providers in making the decision to reopen. You can find the Child Care Decision Tree at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/decision-tool.html

For more information about COVID-19 guidance from the Office of Head Start, including the Collaborating Actively in Meaningful Planning (CAMP) series, please visit their website at https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/about-us/coronavirus/responding-covid-19.

Other State and Federal Guidelines regarding Child Care and COVID-19

For more information about federal and state guidance and response to COVID-19, please refer to the following:

The CDC recently released additional guidance for child care providers in The Supplemental Guide for Child Care which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html

Staff Development Resources

Contractors should provide staff development using, but not limited to, the resources located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/elcdcovid19.asp, as well as the resources below:

Contractors should also contact the local R&R agency at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/rragencylist.asp and the local QCC consortia to identify additional resources to meet the needs of children, families, and staff.

Contacting your Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant

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

This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement.
____________________________
Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 11, 2020
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