COVID-19 and Children

Posted on March 18th, 2020

Updated 10/1/2020

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

All 12 childcare centers in town are currently open, subject to government restrictions on group sizes, mask wearing, and other COVID safety requirements.

Of the 25 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.

The ECCS has started tracking childcare openings for the fall.

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

The following programs closed in March but reopened in the fall.

  • Southington Public Schools
  • Southington Catholic
  • Village Green Nursery School
  • Zion Christian Nursery School

Contact information for all providers and summer programs is in the ECCS Resource Directory.

Funding for Childcare

1. The CTCARES for Frontline Workers Child Care Subsidy Program was a temporary program that paid 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 started in Fall of 2020 at the Southington Public Schools. It is unclear what will happen with the Kindergarten information session, readiness workshops ,orientation and registration process that should start in January for Fall 2020.

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 put together plans for: reopening in the building, a split schedule, and enhanced distance learning. They are offering a distance-learning option for students who choose not to return to the open classroom. The Southington Public School’s reopening plans and parent surveys are can be found on their COVID-19 page under the “From our Superintendent”

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

Some parents are putting together “pods” of distance learners, which uses the District lessons or are investigating homeschooling, where the parent is responsible for the curriculum.

Food and Financial Assistance

Southington Public Schools

Updated 9/17:

Beginning September 16th, the Southington Public Schools will provide free breakfast and lunch to students during the school day. In addition, families with kids 18 and under can receive free meals through the Grab and Go program. We strongly encourage everyone to feel comfortable having their students take advantage of this program. The district is reimbursed through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Remote and Hybrid students and families of preschool-aged children can access free meals at DePaolo Middle School Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 5pm – 6pm.

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 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

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.