Early Childhood Education
Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis
When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
~John F. Kennedy

We know that our field, and our world, is not the same as it was one month ago. With the COVID-19 health crisis, the closures and health risks have hurt many industries and put many people out of work. While this is necessary, it is also very challenging.
In early childhood education, a field that has been historically underpaid and operates programs on extremely tight budgets, many educators (including teachers and staff in all settings) are out of work, or are still working under stressful and potentially unsafe conditions, as we cannot socially distance from the young children in our care. Additionally, families are now facing the care and education of their young children in isolation, without the support of the professionals they relied on a few short weeks ago.
We understand that this is an unprecedented time of crisis, both personally and professionally. With that in mind, we want to provide you with information and resources to help you navigate the challenging new circumstances we find ourselves in and to continue to support the children and families within your community.
New Federal Funding Passed
New funds enacted as part of the CARES Act Stimulus Package
A message from our partners at NAEYC:
The stories pour in every day. Early childhood educators and providers are grieving, brave, and afraid. They are closing their child care programs to keep children, families, and educators safe. They are staying open so that heroes on the front lines can have competent and prepared educators to provide care for their children. They are anxious about families who can’t pay tuition, rent that is due for their program, and educators who are losing their jobs. They understand that they are being deemed essential—and at the same time, they worry, as one educator wrote, that “three weeks ago we weren’t essential, and in three months we won’t be again.”  
They need support, to weather the emergency that is upon us, and to be there for the recovery that will come. NAEYC is grateful to Congress for taking an important, bipartisan step to provide that support with the passage of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, signed into law today. There are critical provisions that will help multiple parts of the complex early childhood education sector, addressing some of the needs expressed by parents, educators, programs, and small businesses across states and settings, including: 
  • $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to ensure continued payment and assistance to child care providers and to support child care for essential workers; 
  • $750 million in grants for Head Start, including up to $500 million for support of summer programs;
  • Access to small business loans of up to $10 million that can be forgiven, if programs use the loans for specific purposes such as wages, paid sick or family leave, health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, mortgages or rent, or utilities; 
  • Direct payments to qualifying taxpayers of up to $1,200 ($2,400 for couples), plus an additional $500 per child;
  • Access to a pandemic unemployment insurance benefit for four months, on top of the regular unemployment insurance benefit offered by states to qualifying individuals; 
  • Suspension of payments on federally-held student loans to support the many early childhood educators earning their degrees and credentials.  
NAEYC conducted a brief survey of child care programs and heard from more than 6,000 providers from around the country. Their responses are compiled into NAEYC's brief: Child Care in Crisis.
NAEYC also shared the state-level analyses of the survey. Here is MDAEYC's Maryland Child Care Crisis Brief. In Maryland, of the 315 providers who responded:
  • 33% say they would not survive closing for more than two weeks without significant public investment and support that would allow them to compensate and retain staff, pay rent, and cover other fixed costs.
  • 20% would not survive a closure of any length of time without these supports
  • 21% do not know how long they would be able to close their doors and be able to reopen without these supports
  • 41% have parents who cannot pay fees or copays
  • 15% have lost income because they are paid by attendance rather than enrollment and 48% have lost income based on families' own inability to pay.
We are Here to Help
As we all navigate our new normal under COVID-19
Follow us on Social Media!
As all of us at MDAEYC do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and move completely to telework, we will be communicating more frequently on social media than we do via e-mail. For the latest information from MDAEYC and our partners, please be sure to "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
MDAEYC has put together a resource page on Coronavirus for early childhood educators. It includes links to national information resources like NAEYC, as well as state information resources like MSDE. We will continue to add additional resources and information as it becomes available. Be sure to check back often!
During the COVID-19 health crisis, many are also experiencing financial crisis due to program closures and layoffs. MDAEYC has created a financial resources page for educators and programs. The page provides information about financial resources, benefits, programs, and grants that individual people or programs may want to pursue.
Maryland Unemployment Insurance Has Been Expanded
Did you know? If you have been laid off or have closed your child care business, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits, even if you are self-employed?
As part of the federal stimulus bill (CARES Act), Unemployment Insurance has been expanded to include Independent Contractors and the Self-Employed. This is important especially for family child care providers who have had to close due to Coronavirus. Learn more on our Financial Resources page.
New Grants and Loans for Small Businesses
The Small Business Association Paycheck Protection Program allows small businesses to apply for loans to provide payroll for their staff during the COVID-19 crisis. According to the SBA, they will forgive the loan, converting it to a grant, if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. This program is available through June 30, 2020.  
These eligibility criteria include for-profit and non-profit child care centers and family child care providers. See more information, including an upcoming webinar by Maryland Nonprofits, on our Financial Resources page.
Virtual Week of the Young Child
April 11th to 17th
Saturday, April 11th marks the beginning of Week of the Young Child (WOYC). Each day of the week, early childhood educators around the nation typically celebrate these daily themes:
Music Monday
Tasty Tuesday
Work Together Wednesday
Artsy Thursday
Family Friday
We know that many of the activities we usually do with children and families during WOYC will not be taking place this year. However, we want to continue with a virtual celebration and invite you to participate if it works for you and the families you serve.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter during the Week of the Young Child, we will be celebrating on social media with information, ideas, and give-aways for educators, parents, and all who care about young children.