We wanted to assure you that we see that role as both a privilege and a serious responsibility. As part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis, the advocacy team at AECA was already reviewing recommendations from national experts and tracking related work in other states. The result was to compose a series of recommendations to the state’s Executive Branch. While some of the national early childhood associations have called for closing all child care facilities, our state has chosen not to do that at this time. The opinions on this subject are both varied and strong, and we could have an endless debate about whether this is the right call. What we can agree on that this would be a very agonizing and consequential call to have to make. And yet it is just one of the countless decisions our state leaders are grappling with.
In light of the current course of action, AECA has developed a list of recommendations that we believe will help sustain our programs and workforce during this time while keeping the health and safety of the ECE Workforce and children we serve, at the forefront. The Executive Board met on a Zoom call Thursday evening and approved these recommendations. On Friday morning, I sent these recommendations to the Governor, Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith and copied other agency directors. I wanted to share those recommendations with you now. The recommendations are in two phases. You can read Phase One here and Phase Two here.
We would ask for your support of these recommendations to the Governor. Until a different course is chosen, we believe this series of action steps would give Arkansas the best chance to sustain our child care industry and keep everyone healthy and safe.
So what are we asking you to do?
Contact your state representatives and senators and ask them to support the recommendations from AECA. If they have not had a chance to see a copy of the recommendations, share this link for Phase One bit.ly/AECACovid19 and this link for Phase Two bit.ly/AECACovid19-2.
Arkansas Department of Health COVID-19 School and Child Care Hotline 833-504-0155
COVID-19 Information: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
Arkansas Economic Development Commission Resources: https://www.arkansasedc.com/covid19
U.S. Small Business Administration Guidance and Loan Resources: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
General Protection Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html
Guidance for childcare programs that remain open: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html
Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
Helpful information on talking with children about COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html
Women’s Foundation Arkansas small business grant opportunity: http://womensfoundationarkansas.org/women-owned/
The AECA Board and I continue to stay abreast of the situation with COVID-19. We know it’s effects are different for everyone, and we take this very seriously. Remember, we are here for you! If you have any suggestions, let us know. Stay safe!