PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Effective March 23rd, Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas (ELC) staff will be operating virtually, supporting families and providers via telephone, email, and online. At this time, regular operations are planned to resume on April 15. The ELC is committed to serving as a valuable resource to families at this time and through the evolving health crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While offices are closed to the public, Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County staff continue to serve families virtually. ELC staff will continue supporting families by:
• Helping with virtual applications for School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten programs.
• Assisting families in redetermining their eligibility.
• Processing transfer requests to another provider.
• Providing resources and guidance via the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) department.
Questions? Where can I transfer my child during this time? How do I apply for financial assistance for children? Please contact CCRR at 727-400-4411 (option 3, then option 3). To contact ELC staff with general questions or concerns, call 727-548-1439 or email email@example.com.
“Now more than ever, the importance of early care and education has become obvious to the nation, not just in the role it plays developmentally, but how it affects working families across the country,” said Lindsay Carson, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas. “When children don’t have care, parents can’t work. When parents can’t work, businesses suffer and families cannot sustain themselves. These families deserve our support and advocacy. We are glad to make ourselves available during this stressful time.”
As independent businesses, preschools and other early education/childcare providers are making decisions regarding temporary closures on an individual basis. The Florida Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning have committed to supporting School Readiness (SR) and Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) programs throughout the current healthcare crisis. SR and VPK providers will be reimbursed based on active enrollments, regardless of closures or absences.
Additional guidance regarding eligibility extensions and suspension of assessments is forthcoming. Supports for children, parents, and providers will extend through the time that the national emergency has passed.
The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County is a nonprofit agency focused on high-quality early care and education – working with families and childcare providers to prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life. New website coming soon. Follow Facebook.com/ELCPinellas and the ELC’s Coronavirus Updates webpage for current information and resources.