In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many schools have closed their doors for the remainder of the semester. This has left many families scrambling to balance newly remote careers with full-time childcare – not to mention the difficult conversations about what’s going on. To help ease the transition, we’ve pulled together this running list of resources and information to help you navigate.
Accessing Exempt Emergency Child Care
Not everyone has the luxury of working from home and the childcare options for essential workers are extremely limited. To slow the spread, Governor Baker has issued an emergency order temporarily closing all early childhood education programs across the State of Massachusetts. This will remain in effect until May 4, 2020 and may be extended as needed. Emergency child care programs authorized by EEC are the only child care programs that are allowed to operate during this time. This is in an effort to prioritizes public health and safety while maintaining critical service. Click here to see the Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs that will be the only child care programs that are allowed to operate during this time.
Access to meals
More than 300,000 students in Massachusetts rely on school meals for more than half of their nutrition. With the mandatory shutdowns, many schools are finding ways to continue providing meals to the students who depend on them. Here’s a running list of schools offering meals and the requirements to pick them up.
Keeping Kids Informed and Engaged
It’s hard to know the best way to talk to your kids about what’s going. Below are some resources to help you start the conversation plus some fun activities to keep them engaged while out of school.
- MassAIMH – resources from mental health professionals
- Families First – Tips and Resources for the Whole Family
- Family Nurturing Center – Coronavirus Response Resource Lists
- DESE – Educational Resources for Students and Families
- Thank You Essential Workers Coloring Pages
Staying active with Playworks
Our awesome partners at Playworks have created a video library of interactive games to encourage physical activity, mitigate stress and anxiety and promote fun play. Playworks also recently launched a live virtual recess that happens M-F at three different times a day
- On-Demand Video Content: Playworks Coaches lead games, Minute Movers, and Brain Breaks to support physical activity, release energy, and increase focus. Use whenever your kids might need them or organize Virtual Recess play dates with friends!
- Live Recess Streams (M-F, 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm EST): Playworks Coaches will be broadcasting Recess live on Facebook. Tune in for stretching, warm-ups, interactive games, cheers, and cooldown activities.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) issued emergency guidance allowing early intervention agencies to provide services to children and families using phone/video communication. These services are referred to as “tele-health”. Due to the current state of emergency and the unknown time frame that social distancing will be recommended, families are highly encouraged to continue participating in early intervention using the tele-health model. Click here to learn more about tele-health visits from Thom Child & Family Services.
FamilyWize discount on Prescription Medications
Given everything that’s happening with COVID-19, we know that it’s more important than ever for people to adhere to their prescribed medications. As such, FamilyWize has become critically important during this crisis. When you call to get a script filled or refilled, you can ask that the FamilyWize discount be applied by providing them the following information:
Card ID: FW100
Group ID: FW100
CVS and Walgreens are also offering free prescription delivery so you don’t even have to leave the house.
Lack of internet access shouldn’t stop anyone from making ends meet or continuing to learn from home. Comcast is helping all families get connected to the internet by offering two months free to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month plus tax.
During these challenging times, it’s important to try to remain calm and centered. Not only does it benefit you, but it also benefits your kids, your partner and anyone else you interact with. Get started with a meditation app like Headspace or join Melissa Alexis on “Going Within” every Wednesday at 12 and 8 pm.
It’s essential to stay informed about the latest guidelines and regulations. You can follow along with the City of Boston’s updates or head to your town’s website for the most recent developments.