Virginia PTA is here to support our PTA leaders and community members as we navigate the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis together. Please remember to follow CDC guidance on social distancing to keep yourself, your family and your community safe and healthy. We will be updating resources on a regular basis on our website and on our social media sites. If you have questions, please reach out to your PTA leaders and know that we are all here to support you.
Below are quick links and resources that we hope will support you as a leader in your community and as a parent and care-giver.
QUICK LINKS TO STATE AND FEDERAL COVID-19 RESOURCES
- Virginia State Coronavirus Response
- Virginia Department of Education - COVID-19
- Virginia Department of Health
- US Department of Education
- US Department of Health & Human Services
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- John Hopkins Coronavirus Resources
- Multilingual Coronavirus Resources for Schools
- Military Family Resources
- National PTA Resources
TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19
This can be a challenging time for our children as we face the upheaval of being at home and uncertainty of the coming weeks. Here are helpful resources that you can use to share facts about the virus and help children feel safe and supported.
- Tips for Talking to your Children (Nat'l Assoc. School Psychologists)
- Tips for Talking to your Children (PBS)
- Tips for Talking to Children (Child Mind Institute). (En Espanol)
- Quick Questions and Answers about Coronavirus (WHO)
- Video about the Coronavirus (BrianPop, for younger children)
- Video about the Coronavirus (WHO, for older children)
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
For non-emergency mental health support contact your physician or contact your insurance company and ask for a list of in-network providers. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) deputy or officer.
Free, confidential 24/7 supports are also available:
- PRS CrisisLink: 703-527-4077 or text "CONNECT" to 855-11
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- SAMHSA National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357)
- Children's Regional Crisis Response (CR2): 844-NCrisis (627-4747) in English and Espanol
- Hopeline: Chat at http://www.hopeline.com or call 800-784-2433
MAINTAINING SCHOOL MEALS
Virginia's School Nutrition Programs serve approximately 112,700 million lunches, 57 million breakfasts, and 1.4 million after school meals each year. We have seen tremendous response across the Commonwealth as school divisions work hard to ensure every family has access to meals. Here is a link to the USDA guidelines and federal legislation waivers that are supporting increased access to nutritious meals for our children:
- USDA Press Release regarding meals for students
- USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Response to COVID-19
- COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act (alternative title for H.R. 6201, Title II)
Parents and families can find sites approved for meal service on the School Meal Finder website and find additional details from their local school division. Families can also text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 to learn more about food options near them.
CONNECTING TO THE INTERNET
One of Virginia PTA's long standing advocacy priorities has been to address the educational inequities that our communities face with regard to the broadband availability. The COVID-19 crisis has brought that into sharp focus this past week and we are grateful for the swift work of service providers and legislators to get families connected.
- Speeds for all customers increased from 15/2 MBPS to 25/3 MBPS
- Free Internet service for 60 days for new families
- Comcast Internet Essentials Program for $9.95/month.
- AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint: Removed data limits for cellular data customers
- Verizon: Offering unlimited data on hotspots and cell phones
FAMILY RESOURCES FOR LEARNING AT HOME
Although the conditions are not ideal, this is a good opportunity to connect with your students and explore shared interests or just spend more time together as a family. There are great resources being shared on-line to support families learning at home. Please look to your local school division for continuity of learning resources. Virginia PTA is sharing resources daily on our Facebook page. Here are a few to get you started:
- Google Classroom Guide for Parents
- Virtual Field Trips to National Parks (through Google Arts & Culture)
- Virtual field trips to famous museums
- Big List of Virtual Field trips to national parks, zoos and mars
- Big List of Authors doing Read-Aloud and Activities (K-Adult)
- Big List of Math websites
- Card games for learning math
- Learn to Type
- Ranger Rick Free Digital Edition
LEGISLATION & GUIDANCE
The U.S. Department of Education generally does not grant statewide waivers of assessment requirements under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA, however, the Secretary of Education announced on March 20th that state-wide waivers will be considered. Virignia has announced they plan to seek a waiver
- U.S. DOE: Press Release on Federal Testing Waivers and links as on March 20th
- Virginia DOE: Superintendent Press Release on Virginia's intent to seek a Waiver
- Virginia PTA voiced support for Rep. Spanberger's work leading 30 members of congress in letter to the House Appropriations committee asking that the U.S. DOE address broadband accessibility to students.
- National PTA has joined a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on March 12th to temporarily allow schools to utilize E-Rate program funding to provide Wi-Fi hotspots or devices with Wi-Fi capability to students who lack internet access at home
- National PTA joined a March 23rd letter to support creation of a $2B Emergency Connectivity Fund to be administered through the existing E-Rate program in order to provide schools and libraries with Wi-Fi hotspots, connected devices and mobile broadband Internet service to support continuous K-12 learning.
- Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Supplement)
- Protecting Student Privacy: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Coronavirus
- Fact Sheet: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students (press release)
- S.3548 [116th] Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act)
- Seeks to provide aid to individuals and industries most impacted by the coronavirus including air transportation, healthcare and eduction. With respect to education, the bill waives provisions of federal law, temporarily suspends payments for federal student loans and provides funding for continuity of education
- H.R. 6379 [116th] Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, Education and Labor Fact Sheet
- Would create a $50 billion fund to stabilize states' education budgets, including a minimum of roughly $15 billion specifically for K-12 school districts.
- March 23rd National PTA letter in support of creation of a $2B Emergency Connectivity Fund
- H.R. 6275 [116th] Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus, Education and Labor Fact Sheet
- March 18th, National PTA Letter with other education associations seeking policy and fiscal relief for impacted families
- H.R. 6201 [116th] Families First Coronavirus Response Act (LAW, March 18th )
- Provides $1 billion in nutritional aid, expands access to COVID-19 testing and sick leave benefits.
- H.R.6074 [116th] Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (LAW, March 6th)
- Included $8.3 billion in emergency funds to support vaccine development, research and equipment stockpiles and local and health budgets.
At this time, Virginians are strongly urged to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people. While executive committee and standing committee business can still easily be conducted via electronic means, we know that General Membership meetings present unique challenges at this time and offer the following guidance in addition to the meetings guidance provided by National PTA.
Per Local Unit Bylaws Article 6, Officers and Their Election, Section 5. "Officers shall serve for a term of (1-2) years or until their successors are elected." This provision provides you with the ability to wait until the social distancing guidelines have been relaxed to call a General Membership meeting.
IF you have urgent business to conduct that impacts the health and safety of your community and you need to hold a General Membership meeting electronically to conduct business, please remember that not every family in your community may have readily available access to the internet and members may be working to support the health crisis or to support their family. You should ensure that:
- A quorum is met of dues paying members and only members can voice a vote on business.
- All participants can simultaneously hear each other and fully participate in the meeting.
- A written record of minutes should be kept and distributed to your full membership.
On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Virginia Attorney General provided an opinion on VA Code § 2.2-3708.2(A)(3) to ensure services could be provided, make decisions, and address Virginians' needs while remaining open, transparent, and accountable to the public during this unprecedented emergency. This guidance provides support for Virginia PTA to follow Nonprofit Code § 13.1-844.2. Remote participation in annual and special meetings.