Statewide Mitigation Guidance

  • On Monday, March 30th the Governor announced all schools will be closed indefinitely.
  • Certified child care centers and group child care homes operated outside of a residence are also shut down. The Governor’s order is inclusive of PA Pre-K Counts, HSSAP, Preschool Early Intervention, Private Academic Nursery Schools and locally- funded prekindergarten activities. Payments will continue to be made to Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Programs.
    • There is a waiver process for facilities to serve the children of essential personnel such as health care workers, first responders, and direct care staff. If a provider submitted a waiver to OCDEL, the organization can operate under the assumption of approval.
    • There is a database of open child care facilities. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has announced the cancellation of all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year as a result of COVID-19. In addition, schools will not be forced to meet the 180 days in session standard.

Distributing School Meals

  • According to a PA Department of Education tweet, meals will still be served. Contact local school districts for details.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that it received waiver approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow schools to provide free meals to all children during statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
  • Prior to receiving this waiver, schools that did not meet area-based free or reduced-price meal eligibility requirements were unable to offer free meals community-wide. This waiver eases those requirements and helps ensure all children have access to food. Schools still have a choice whether or not to provide this service.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a collaboration with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, PepsiCo, and others to deliver nearly 1,000,000 meals to students in a limited number of rural schools closed due to COVID-19. All contact is to go to: FeedingKids@usda.gov
  • PEMA and PDE & DHS legal determined Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) workers (and others in the same category) would not need clearances to distribute meals to school children at temporary feeding sites. A person just providing food is likely not in charge of the child’s care, supervision, or control so they wouldn’t need a clearance. However, if that person is someone who is a regular part of a child’s school day, we would encourage them to obtain clearances.

First Book Credits & Resources

First Book has been actively reaching out to community of partners and donors seeking support to help us subsidize the cost of books and resources for children in low-income communities and make remote learning possible as we all navigate the impact of COVID-19. 

If your agency is serving kids and families through a community program or emergency service program (such as a grab & go meal site, a food bank, or a faith-based organization), or if you want to send books home with students in advance of school closings please request funding support here.