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Advocacy during Coronavirus

  • 1.  Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 26 days ago
    Dear Colleagues, 
    The current health crisis is an important time for advocacy for early education and care. Although we often feel invisible, unappreciated and poorly compensated, we are the indispensable back bone of our community.  Here is a letter I recently wrote - please feel free to use any part of it that might help you in your local advocacy efforts and please share your advocacy stories and struggles during this difficult time.

    Dear Editor,
    The recent executive order made it clear that schools will be closed for the next 14 days and we have heard lengthy conversations about college and university response plans to COVID-19, but it is frustrating and shocking that NOTHING has been mentioned about babies, toddlers and preschoolers in child care centers across our county.

    As many political leaders have mentioned in recent days - all of us know someone who knows someone who knows someone - and that's how this virus spreads. Childcare teachers not only "know" someone - we are holding, rocking, changing diapers and wiping noses of the very special children of "someone".  In our child care centers we are caring for siblings and family members who are directly involved in the colleges and schools, and we are the infrastructure that supports parents in the workforce throughout our communities, yet in the critical plan to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus we are a blind spot.

    Child care teachers are the lowest paid professionals in our communities. Many (99 % women) are working at poverty wages with no benefits. Many childcare centers are small businesses and they will remain OPEN for service because they are in fear of losing their livelihood. What emergency funding can be made available to ensure that child care teachers are supported during the coronavirus crisis? What can we do as a community to support the already strained and vulnerable workforce that supports families and cares for our most precious resources - the babies, toddlers in our neighborhoods? Lets ask executive Molinaro and Ryan what child care centers in Ulster and Dutchess County should do in response to the executive order to close schools for the next 14 days.

    Please don't forget our youngest citizens and their caregivers during this world crisis that is at our front door.

    Thank you,
    Carol Garboden Murray



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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 2.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Carol,
    I thought you might find this link of interest:

    https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/supporting-the-child-care-market-through-the-covid-19-pandemic/?_cldee=ZGphY29ic29uNkBubC5lZHU%3d&recipientid=contact-435b7618a751e911a978000d3a18c732-73213402a9c64833a9e4c2bb4910133f&esid=c46ed2e1-4c65-ea11-a811-000d3a1bbb23

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    Jill Bella
    Director of Professional Learning
    McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
    Wheeling IL
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  • 3.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 24 days ago
    Thank you Jill!


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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 4.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 20 days ago

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you so much for sharing this letter. The MAAEYC board used it to craft a response to the situation and we've been successful at moving the needle on awareness of child care supports needed in our state.

    I hope you are well and stay healthy!


    Hannah



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    Hannah Riddle de Rojas
    Richfield MN
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  • 5.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 20 days ago
    Another Letter I sent today. I am very frustrated at how slow NY is moving.

    Dear Editor
    The west coast is 8 days ahead of us in dealing with the spread of COVID-19. They have strict emergency child care guidelines in place.  Here in Ulster County we've been moving steadily, but slowly, on providing clear leadership to parents and child care centers. Our guidelines are still not stringent.  I am concerned that the child care providers that have remained open this week will soon be ill, and our child care crisis will intensify at the same time hospitals become crowded.  In other states (like Ohio) child care systems have been reporting disaster and chaos with overcrowding and lack of diapers and other essential materials. Children carry and spread COVID-19 and child care workers need our protection and appreciation during this pandemic.

    Here's what we should do TODAY based on what we have learned from others who have gone before us: 
    1. Keep kids HOME when possible and reserve child care for essential personnel, single parents and emergency workers
    2. CLOSE for one or two days to deep clean and train the teachers in emergency procedures (Massachusetts just took this measure and so did Putnam County)
    3. Re-open with emergency procedures in place.
    4. Reduce capacity by 50% and practice social distancing between classrooms/groups
    5. Instill drive-through drop-off and pick-up rituals (parents do not enter center - teachers meet children in parking lot or playground)
    6. Practice health checks daily (no mildly sick kids allowed and use no touch thermometer)
    7. Play outside as much as possible.  Open windows and circulate air inside
    8. Stay in small groups (under 10).  Let children disperse and play in small groups and eliminate gatherings like circle time where everyone must join.
    9. Increase distance between children during table work and meals.
    10. Send home laundry daily (nap items and children's soiled clothing)
    11. Eliminate sensory materials like playdough. Wash hands at each transition.
    12. Eat in small groups and practice adult lead meals (no family style or child to child sharing)
    13,  Follow sanitation and cleaning procedures for hand washing and environmental cleaning.  Connect with organizations that can help secure materials like soap, diapers, paper towels, disposable dishes, no touch thermometers.
    14. Give teachers extra breaks for emotional and physical support.
    15. Exclude teachers with immune compromised systems from providing child care
    16. Ask our hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies and all essential and emergency agencies to carefully consider work schedules and offer job shares and preferential shifts for parents with small children. 
    17. Advocate for emergency funding to support our child care teachers, providers and agencies that have lost work, closed businesses or are working under hazardous conditions during this infectious disease pandemic.
    Washington State has the most comprehensive child care guidelines I have seen yet here:
    Care is  the back-bone of our society. The way we care for one another during this crisis demonstrates our true values.  Care is the back-bone of our society. How will we care for the caregivers in our community?
    Carol Murray
    Rifton NY
    845-750-4322


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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 6.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 19 days ago
    https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/ChildCare

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 7.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 20 days ago
      |   view attached
    and a letter to our governor sent a few days ago

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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    Attachment(s)



  • 8.  RE: Advocacy during Coronavirus

    Posted 14 days ago

    Feel free to borrow and send letters to Washington today.

    Jon_Cardinal@schumer.senate.gov (Schumer)
    angelica_annino@gillibrand.senate.gov (Gillibrand)

    I am a director of a NY state licensed campus child care center in the Hudson River Valley, and I have been working in child care for 25 years. In the past few years the child care industry has been struggling in what we have described as a "care crisis" with a shortage of high quality programs, with working families unable to pay the high cost of care, and with child care providers working at poverty wages in our neighborhoods. We have been a blind spot for far too long. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, our already strained industry is crumbling.

    The National Association of Young Children reported today that without immediate relief, it is estimated that more than 50 % of child care centers in our nation will close in April. I am writing this letter to request stimulus funding to keep the child care industry from collapsing.

    Childcare centers need your strong leadership immediately. I respectfully request that you work with Speaker Pelosi to significantly INCREASE the ask for childcare to $50B. Without this funding, our child care infrastructure will disintegrate.

    Never in my long career have I experienced such confusion, neglect, and dangerous lack of protection and disrespect for children and their child care teachers. While schools close and the public is told to stay at home, child care centers are asked to increase their capacity and suspend their standards and loosen their regulated safety measures. Caring for children in the best of times is an honorable profession which demands profound knowledge and expertise. An infectious disease pandemic is not the time to lower standards and loosen regulations. More than ever, child care centers need professionals, increased materials and resources, and strengthened health and safety standards to operate in emergency conditions and to survive during and beyond this pandemic.

    Emergency relief is urgently needed to protect our children and our care grid. Without supporting the infrastructure of care givers that allows nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, and all essential personnel to be of service, we will leave our entire workforce stranded and weaken our society. The cost of damaging the care-force that sustains our economy and is the heart of our community will have long lasting consequences on our national strength. The way we respond to children, families and their caregivers in this crisis will reveal our values for decades to come.

    Carol Garboden Murray
    cmurray@bard.edu



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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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