COVID-19 and Children

Posted on March 18th, 2020

Wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, and abide by physical distancing is all good advice 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 what the clients are searching for, they may provide help obtaining counseling/support group, 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.

 

Childcare and School

Childcare Options in Southington

UPDATED 5/15. 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.

These centers plan to remain open, subject to government restrictions

  • Bright Beginnings – space available
  • Jack & Jill II  – space available
  • My Little Rascals – space available
  • My Little Rascals Too – space available
  • Southington Community YMCA is open to workers of essential children age 3 to 12. There is a special program for Hospital Workers and first responders which is free of charge. The will open to other children on June 1.
  • Stork Club – space available

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

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

There are some family childcare providers in town who have openings and are willing to offer care in non-traditional hours, contact us if you want info.

The following programs are temporarily closed:

  • St. Dominic Childcare Center – closed on 3/23, plans to reopen 6/1.
  • The Nurturing Nest and Early Learning Center – closed on 3/23, at least until mid May.
  • Giggles & Grins – closed on 3/19, no reopen date yet.
  • Town and Country Early Learning Center Southington – closed on 3/18, plans to reopen 6/1. They have waived their “no babysitting” rule for staff and were able to connect staff with families who needed care.
  • Southington Community YMCA’s child care facilities is closed to children of parents who are not essential workers until 6/1.
  • ESPN Kids Center – closed
  • Southington Catholic – Follows SPS schedule
  • Village Green Nursery School – Follows SPS schedule
  • Zion Christian Nursery School – Follows SPS schedule
  • Margaret C. Griffin Child Development Center – Follows SPS schedule
  • Circle of Friends Music offering Music Together – at least until 5/20

Summer Programs

There are four licensed summer camp programs in town. At this time they have not announced their plans for this summer. Guidance from the Office of Early Childhood and their national association will be released in mid-May. Once the camps have had time to review this information they will make a decision if and how they will open.

The places that offer part day programs, which don’t fall under the OEC licensing, would need to meet the group size restrictions which are currently 5 people. This would impact the 1/2 day dance camps, art camps, theater camps, etc.

Funding for Childcare

1. The CTCARES for Frontline Workers Child Care Subsidy Program is a temporary program that pays directly to the childcare provider. There is a family income limit of up to 85% of state median income to qualify. This is a short-term program for frontline workers “caring for people or providing in-person direct services and essential goods to maintain human livelihood.”  They are accepting applications from Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 22, 2020.  Details are at https://www.ctoec.org/ctcares-for-frontline-workers/.
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 include childcare providers on the list of essential businesses and will be keeping them open.

3/17/2020: “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 haven’t done it yet.

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

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

Counseling

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.

 

Food and Financial Assistance

Southington Public Schools

Updated 5/15:

The Southington Public Schools has expanded its free “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch program.

“The meals are free to any student of a closed school age 18 and under in addition to younger siblings in the household. We will be offering meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and we will provide 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches for each child each day.”

“This program is available to all families and we know many may be experiencing reduced income with so many businesses shutting down. We want everyone to know they can participate regardless of income level.”

These meals will meet the federal meal pattern guidelines and will be bagged or boxed to be picked up and consumed off-site.
The Southington Public Schools will be including some meals that will need to be heated beginning Monday, May 11th. This will change up the menu items and provide more variety for our families. Heating instructions are here.

Distribution for Memorial Day will be on Tuesday, May 26th instead. The last scheduled day for the Grab & Go program is planned for Monday, June 15th.

All elementary schools will be offering meals and the hours for pick up will be 11:30-12:30 pm.
A parent, guardian, or student can drive up and someone will come to the car to greet you and bring meals outside. Specific curbside locations are listed below:
Derynoski Cafeteria side
Oshana Cafeteria side
Flanders Front Entrance
Kelley Front Entrance
South End Front Entrance
Thalberg Front Entrance
Hatton Preschool Entrance
Strong Back of School

https://www.southingtonschools.org/covid-19-Information-for-families

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

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.

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/

Other Assistance

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