COVID-19 and Children

Posted on March 18th, 2020

Updated 7/6/2020

Wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, and abide by physical distancing is all good advice during a pandemic but how do you really do that with children at home especially if you need to work?

This page has information on health, childcare, supporting children, food, and financial assistance.

The ECCS has also published a list of educational resources and activities to do with your children at http://www.southingtonearlychildhood.org/free-educational-resources-and-activities-during-covid-19/

We will continue to update this list and share information on our social media pages.

Health

Center for Disease Control (CDC) information on COVID-19 for households: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/index.html

Connecticut Department of Public Health page: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus

Have questions about COVID-19, email the Plainville Southington Health District at covid19@southington.org, or visit their site at www.pshd.org.

Call the Bristol Health COVID-19 Hotline at (860) 261-6855 or the Hartford Healthcare hotline at (860) 972-8100 or 1-833-621-0600 (toll-free)

For emergency abuse or domestic violence concerns, contact the Southington Police Department by calling 911. If you need help, but can’t safely speak on the phone or are unable to speak, use your mobile phone to send a text message to 9-1-1.

Concerned about an abusive situation? Reach out to Safe Connect Connecticut, the statewide domestic violence hotline that cover 18 member programs, including the Prudence Crandall Center. They receive the calls, do a thorough assessment of needs, emotional support, safety planning, and options, and then, depending on what the clients are searching for, they may provide help obtaining counseling/support groups, shelter, housing assistance, basic needs.
Call (888) 774-2900, email safeconnect@ctcadv.org or chat at https://ctsafeconnect.com/.

The Southington Behavioral Health Resource Directory is a comprehensive guide to behavioral health and community resources including outpatient and inpatient care for children, adolescents, and adults, as well as details about confidential assessments, short and long-term counseling, psychotherapy, family therapy, and mental health treatment. The directory also includes information about accessing transportation and food as well as new information regarding drug collection drop boxes, treatment for opioid misuse, health services, and advocacy.
https://www.ctclearinghouse.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/Southington_Behavioral_Health_Resource_Directory_2nd_Edition_Nov_2018.pdf

Keeping Your New Baby Safe in the Time of Covid 19 – a brochure from the Office of Early Childhood.

Supporting Children’s,  Families’ and Staff’s Mental Health Upon Return to School During Covid-19 was presented on June 25, 2020 via Zoom  for the childcare providers in town by Presenter: Julie Condit, Early Childhood Consultant, Early Childhood Consultation Partnership at Wheeler Clinic.

Talk It Out CT: For parents and caregivers who need someone to listen, to understand, and to talk your feelings out. Talk It Out Line 1-833-258-5011 http://www.talkitoutct.com/

Town of Southington Youth Services offers Supportive Counseling Services – Christina Simms, Director simmsc@southington.org 860-276-6284

Other local mental health professionals can be found in the Resources section of our website.

Childcare and School

Childcare Options in Southington

UPDATED 7/6. This list will be updated as the situation changes.

With Southington School buildings closed through the end of the year and essential workers continuing to serve, working parents need to find other options for childcare.
The ECCS has asked childcare providers in town about who can help.

As of 7/6 all 11 childcare centers in town are open, subject to government restrictions.

  • Bright Beginnings – space available but is scheduled to be full by summer
  • Jack & Jill II  – space available
  • Giggles & Grins – open
  • Town and Country Early Learning Center Southington – open, waiting list
  • The Nurturing Nest and Early Learning Center – open, waiting list
  • Margaret C. Griffin Child Development Center – open.
  • My Little Rascals – space available
  • My Little Rascals Too – space available
  • St. Dominic Childcare Center – space available
  • Southington Community YMCA – was open to workers of essential children age 3 to 12 under a special program for Hospital Workers and first responders which is free of charge. They have opened to all children age 3 to 12 on June 1.
  • Stork Club – space available

Of the 24 family childcare providers in town, some are open, some are closed and some would be open if the parents they serve (such as teachers) needed care.

Contact information for these providers is in the ECCS Resource Directory.

You can also visit https://www.211childcare.org or call 2 – 1 – 1 for openings State-wide.

The following programs are temporarily closed:

  • ESPN Kids Center/Bright Horizons – closed, plans to reopen 7/13.
  • Southington Catholic – Closed in March through the summer.
  • Village Green Nursery School – Closed in March through the summer.
  • Zion Christian Nursery School – Closed in March through the summer.
  • Circle of Friends Music offering Music Together – offering online activities, will offer drop-in classes in August.

The Nursery School programs are working on plans to open in the fall. They are waiting to hear if the Office of Early Childhood is going to increase the current 14 children group size limitation as there are currently more children than that registered for each class.

Summer Programs

There are four licensed summer camp programs in town, three will open this summer and one will not. Guidance from the Office of Early Childhood and their national association limits their group sizes and capacity.

  • Southington Community YMCA – Camp Sloper and Camp Nachisacki – open
  • Fast Camp – open
  • Leadership Martial Arts – open
  • Arts at Angeloria – will not hold any programs this summer

The places that offer part-day programs, which don’t fall under the OEC licensing, would need to meet the group size and other Phase 2 or 3 restrictions. This would impact 1/2 day dance camps, art camps, theater camps, etc. These businesses are starting to re-open.
All residential camps in the State are not allowed to open.

The Southington Recreation Department is not running their summer playground program, Camp RISE, or the Southington Youth Summer Theater, but they are holding swimming lessons and some sports programs. The Kid’s Entertainment Series was originally cancelled but will be held on three dates on a smaller scale.

The Parks Department has re-opened playgrounds, note that the new playground at Memorial Park is still under construction but the old playground is still open. The Town pools located at Memorial Park and Recreation Park opened for the season on Saturday, June 27, 2020. The splash pad at Memorial Park is to remain CLOSED at this time. The wading pool at Recreation Park will be open; however, the umbrella/mushroom water feature will NOT be turned on.

Southington Public Schools has canceled their summer enrichment programs. Camp Invention will be run online.

At the Southington Public Library, you can get your library card online to receive access to thousands of digital resources or you can order materials to be picked up at the back door. Learn more about the Summer Reading Program (for all ages) as well as how they can help prepare your child for kindergarten in the Fall in the Kindergarten Parent Letter.

Funding for Childcare

1. The CTCARES for Frontline Workers Child Care Subsidy Program was a temporary program that payed directly to the childcare provider for care through July third. It is now closed.
2. Care4Kids is an existing program that helps low to moderate-income families pay for child care. For some families with lower incomes, Care 4 Kids would provide financial help for longer than CT Cares for Frontline Workers, families can’t receive both. Their site has a screening tool to help you decide if you are eligible.  https://www.ctcare4kids.com

CT Office of Early Childhood

Governor Lamont has included childcare providers on the list of essential businesses and will be keeping them open.
“The Office of Early Childhood is in close talks with the Governor, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the state’s Emergency Operation Center. We are monitoring closely and will continue to communicate with you. These are unprecedented times. Child Care is a critical part of our infrastructure.”

The CT Office of Early Childhood has issued several Memos with regulation waivers and advice to childcare providers and parents. You can find the full list and information for families on their new Covid-19 response page:  https://www.ctoec.org/covid-19/.

Kindergarten Registration

For Kindergarten students starting in Fall of 2020, the Southington Public Schools was able to open the online registration process and hold the in-person registration session at 7 of the 8 elementary schools before the COVID-19 crisis caused schools to close. The secretary at Strong School is reaching out to parents who registered online to attend that school to make arrangements to submit the residency documents online or via mail. Online registration is still open for those who haven’t done it yet.

Spring orientation, which is usually held in May, has been rescheduled as online meetings since schools are closed. School administrators are working on plans for in-person orientation and updating parents. This will be released after the decision about how to hold classes in the fall are confirmed.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) provided guidance regarding kindergarten transition in the publication Transitioning to Kindergarten: the Why, What and How of this Important Milestone for Connecticut Students.
It says: “The law regarding kindergarten eligibility remains the same. It is important to keep in mind that all young children entering kindergarten will have experienced disruptions to the experiences anticipated prior to their entry to kindergarten. The practice of retaining children who are age-eligible for kindergarten in preschool should only be considered for very unique and extenuating circumstances.

Returning to School

The Governor’s office issued guidance to the school districts about reopening in the fall of 2020: Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together. Districts have until late July to put together plans for: reopening in the building, a split schedule and enhanced distance learning. They also need a plan for students who are not returning to the open classroom.

The State Department of Education has additional resources for Families and Educators.

Supporting Children

Articles

You will find some consistent advice in these articles. Children need to feel safe, thrive on routine, and learn through play.  Don’t forget to get outside.

How to Prepare for School Closings and Not Lose Your Mind
https://www.upworthy.com/tips-for-parents-coronavirus

Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration.
When children and youth watch news on TV about an infectious disease outbreak, read about it in the news, or overhear others discussing it, they can feel scared, confused, or anxious—as much as adults. This tip sheet will help parents, caregivers, and teachers learn some common reactions, respond in a helpful way, and know when to seek support.
https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4886.pdf

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
Child Mind Institute – Kids worry more when they’re kept in the dark
https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus

Playing Teacher
Peg Oliveira, PhD, Executive Director of the Gesell Institute of Child Development at the Yale Child Study Center.
“In this reset, my intention is to first accept that this is a trying time for them and for us. As always, until we attend to our social and emotional needs, learning cannot happen. Let’s take time to help kids feel safe and connected, first and foremost. And then if we do have time and energy to commit to homeschooling, let’s put it into building active, engaged, meaningful, and social experiences for our kids, rather than strapping them to a desk, yet again, to do worksheets and math programs.”
https://gesellinstitute.org/blogs/sparking-wonder/playing-teacher

Sesame Street – Caring for Each Other

Your friends on Sesame Street are here to support you and your family during the COVID-19 health crisis. This site provides content and resources you can use with your family to offer comfort and spark playful learning activities. Click on Elmo’s Virtual Hug to learn how this site will provide sing-a-longs, storytimes, learning, and video playdates. https://www.sesamestreet.org/caring

Social-Emotional Needs of Children During this Crisis

Texas School Librarian Carolyn Foote compiled mental health resources regarding talking to kids about the virus and self-care tips for students and teachers. https://wakelet.com/wake/6a18dd66-7119-4bbb-ba82-48d5be33ab77

About Grief and Death

The ECCS has created an article about talking to and supporting children with grief and death at http://www.southingtonearlychildhood.org/grief-and-death/

Books for Children

COVIBOOK

Author Manuela Molina has created a picture book to support and reassure children under the age of seven and their families regarding COVID-19 and the range of emotions it brings up.  She recommends families and educators all over the world print this material so children can draw on it. Click on the link for translations in 22 languages. https://www.mindheart.co/descargables

My Hero is You

“My Hero is You” is a book written for children around the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “My Hero is You” should be read by a parent, caregiver, or teacher alongside a child or a small group of children. The book is aimed primarily at children aged 6-11 years old to teach them how they can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus, and how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality. You can learn more about the book and find it in 30 different languages at https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/iasc-reference-group-mental-health-and-psychosocial-support-emergency-settings/my-hero-you-0

Be a Coronavirus Fighter

What is coronavirus? Why can’t I go outside and play with my friends? What should I do? This informative picture book explains the current virus situation in simple terms and urges children to help fight it! https://yeehoopress.com/coronavirus-picturebook/

Captain Corona & the 19 COVID Warriors

This informative and accessible guide for young readers defines the coronavirus, explains why everyday routines have been disrupted, and lays out how everyone can do their part to help. With child-appropriate answers and explanations, the book addresses several key questions. https://melissagratias.com/captaincorona/

Staying at Home

Staying Home is about a family of raccoons going through a day in lockdown – no school, no nursery, no work – and explaining to the youngest members of the family how they’re doing their part to save lives just by staying home! https://www.andersenpress.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/STAYING_HOME_medium-res.pdf

The Vironaut

A children’s story about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) that helps them understand the situation, stay safe and healthy, and occupy their time during school closures. https://www.fmirza.com/the-vironaut/#more-682

 

Food and Financial Assistance

Southington Public Schools

Updated 6/15:

Summer Lunch Program for Children

The Southington Public Schools ran a free “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch program through June 15.

Over the summer, the Grab-and-Go Lunch program is being run by Bread for Life. They will be providing healthy lunches at no cost, for kids and teens at two sites in town this summer. No paperwork required. Lunches will be grab and go and will safely be handed out at each location. Weekly grab-and-go activities will also be provided. Bread for Life is also providing meals for children receiving funds through the Care 4 Kids daycare assistance program at the Margaret Griffin Center and Southington Community YMCA and to children receiving financial assistance at YMCA Camp Sloper.

LOCATIONS AND TIMES:
DePaolo Middle School: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12-12:30 pm (starting June 17th)
Summerbrook Apartments: Tuesday and Thursday 12-12:30 pm (starting June 22nd)

Summer lunch program flyer 2020

Bread for Life

Located at 31 Vermont Avenue in Southington, provides meals to those in need. Lunch is served at noon Monday-Saturday and dinner is served at 6:00 pm on Wednesday. You are welcome to drop by for a meal to-go during these times.

Southington Community Family Services

Located at 91 Norton Street in Plantsville, can assist in providing food and other resources to residents in need. They are also in need of donations which can be dropped off at their location between the hours of 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. http://www.southington.org/content/17216/17290/default.aspx

Unemployment

Have you lost your job as a result of the CoronaVirus crisis? Connecticut’s Department of Labor encourages all residents who lose their job due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to file for unemployment benefits. Click HERE to access the site.

Supporting Childcare Providers

The ECCS has been hosting bi-weekly calls with childcare educators in town and is a resource for questions.

Our friends at the Middlesex Coalition for Children are maintaining a list of links related to Early Childhood Advocacy, the Childcare System, Employee and Employer Information, and Federal and State Advocacy at http://www.middlesexchildren.org/post/covid-19-advocacy-documents-including-webinar-recordings-questions-and-files.

Other Assistance

Check out the ECCS list of places that provide assistance in our Resources directory.