Early Learning Newsletter | March 2020 | Practices to Stay Healthy


The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter

Practices to Stay Healthy

 March 2020

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Laurie VanderPloeg and Christopher Rinkus

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

Spring is here, but it has come with many unexpected changes due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). At the U.S. Department of Education (ED), we are working hard to support schools and programs across the nation as they take measures to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 among children, families and staff.

In this edition, we are sharing resources that can help you respond to COVID-19. We have also highlighted some new opportunities in early childhood education. Thank you, as always, for the work that you do to support young children and their families, especially during challenging times. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe!

Thank you, as always, for reading Early Learning!

Laurie VanderPloeg
Office of Special Education Programs

Christopher Rinkus
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Discretionary Grants and Support Services
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education


Early Learning Updates from ED

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Information for Schools and Programs on COVID-19

ED issued new resources to assist education leaders on family educational rights and privacy, protecting students’ civil rights, and ensuring infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities continue to receive services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities is another helpful resource that was recently published. Additional information from ED specific to the COVID-19 pandemic may be found online at www.ed.gov/coronavirus.

Resources For You

Coronavirus Prevention and Response

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 is an emerging global disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides up-to-date information about prevention, symptoms, testing, and the current situation. The CDC has a number of resources for schools, childcare programs, and parents and also offers interim guidance to help administrators of child care programs and K–12 schools prevent the spread of COVID-19 among children and staff. This guidance is also available in Spanish and Chinese.


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Administration for Children and Families

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS), Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Child Care (OCC) posted a number of resources on COVID-19 for programs serving young children. The OHS resources and the OCC resources highlight strategies that programs can use to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including hygiene tips, and coordinate with local health agencies. They also have information on flexibilities that can be applied to grant programs and spending that can be used at this time.


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Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

The ED-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center has developed a COVID-19 webpage and is serving as a hub for resources on tele-intervention and distance learning for states and local programs serving infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families. ECTA is available to provide technical assistance to IDEA Part C and Part B, section 619 programs during this national emergency.




The ED-funded Supporting Change and Reform in Preservice Teaching in North Carolina (SCRIPT-NC) has a number of online resources that faculty can use as they are being asked to transition to online instruction due to COVID-19. Its March 30 webinar, Shifting Blackboards: Supporting For Emergency Online Teaching, Adjusting Assignments, and Rethinking Field Experiences is a very timely resource. Also check out its other resources, including best practices in online instruction, a toolkit of resources on 16 early childhood topics, and webinars on early childhood instruction.



Featured Webinar

YouTube video of webinar: Healthy Futures - Managing Infectious Diseases

Managing Infectious Diseases in Early Education and Child Care Programs

The March 11 webinar, Managing Infectious Diseases in Early Education and Child Care Settings, presented by HHS’ OHS, discusses strategies for managing infectious diseases, including using local and federal guidance to support decision-making. The webinar featured an online module and a customizable curriculum by the American Academy of Pediatrics that can be used by child care health consultants, early learning program directors, health managers, and healthcare professionals to help meet national early education and child care training requirements for managing infectious diseases.


Funding Opportunities

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Model Demonstration Projects to Develop Coaching Systems

ED announced a Notice Inviting Applications for a new funding opportunity, Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities—Model Demonstration Projects to Develop Coaching Systems (CFDA 84.326M).

Projects funded would provide support to professionals to collaborate with early learning and early intervention programs, schools, districts, and state agencies to establish the infrastructure, personnel skills, and processes necessary for an effective and sustainable coaching system. More information can be found on Grants.gov. Applications are due on May 4.


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National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations Fellowship

The ED-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) announced a new fellowship opportunity. Doctoral students or recent doctoral graduates can apply to be fellows to work with and learn from the NCPMI faculty mentors. Fellows will have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of activities, including developing training materials, providing training, summarizing research, collaborating on research activities, and developing policy materials. Applications for the 2020 cohort will be available in May. Learn more about this unique opportunity.



Connect With Us Online!

Check out ED's Early Learning website for updates on all of ED's early learning activities, and to view the Early Learning newsletter archive. 

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