February 25, 2021
In This Issue:
Two great webinars coming up for (free for NCLCCA members!)
Visit https://www.nclcca.org/webinars for more info or to register
North Carolina will receive around $335 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding for child care as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed by Congress and signed by the President near the end of last year. State agencies (DCDEE in the Dept. of Health & Human Services) have to submit a brief plan to the federal government this week, outlining how they are going to use the funding.
According to language in the federal legislation, the funding is supposed to be used to supplement, not supplant, child care assistance for low-income families. Purposes for the funding include:
The money can be used to help licensed child care “centers,” “family care homes” and “group homes for children.” Importantly, the legislation says that States shall use a portion of the funding to help licensed providers that were not already receiving assistance from CCDBG funds This means it’s not only for providers participating in the Subsidized Child Care Assistance Program, but also to help private-pay centers that have also seen revenue bottom out due to pandemic fear or job losses/teleworking.
DCDEE has already announced additional operating grants for open licensed child care programs for the months of March and April, although it’s unclear where the funding for these grants is coming from. Licensed providers should know, however, that more relief funding should be coming from the state soon due to passage of this federal legislation and its designated funding and uses. NCLCCA will keep its members informed about developments as they occur. Stay tuned!
Child care employees became eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations this week (on Wednesday, Feb. 24). Eligibility for vaccines extends to employees of child care centers, family care homes, NC Pre-K programs and Head Start/Early Head Start programs. Eligible child care roles include a broad range of employees (teachers, assistant/student teachers, owners, directors, on-site administrative/support staff, bus drivers, food-service workers, custodial/maintenance staff, therapists, on-site consultants and more).
Eligible employees can get vaccinated by any vaccine provider in North Carolina, which currently include most hospitals/health systems, all local health departments, some pharmacies (Walgreens) and some primary care providers. You can find a vaccine provider near you by visiting myspot.nc.gov. However, due to a limited supply of vaccines and large numbers of eligible North Carolinians, officials warn it may still be weeks before some child care employees can get vaccine appointments or shots.
DCDEE is directing licensed child care providers to a document detailing how the Dept. of Health & Human Services is working with “partners” to help child care employees access vaccines – see “How Child Care Programs Can Help Get Child Care Staff Vaccinated.” Local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies will share information on vaccination events and make sure appointment blocks are available for child care staff. According to DCDEE, local CCR&R representatives will be reaching out to child care programs.
For more information about vaccines for child care providers, call (919) 814.6457 or email: DCDEE.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for info on the vaccination rollout? Don't miss our webinar "NC’s Child Care Vaccine Rollout plan" on March 4 @ 11am with Kristi Snuggs, Deputy Director, DCDEE. Visit https://www.nclcca.org/webinars to register.
Due to a decline in coronavirus case counts and a rising number of vaccinations, Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday that he is easing certain pandemic-related restrictions by Executive Order 195, effective Friday, February 26, through at least March 26. This week’s announcement does not change the statewide mask mandate and does not directly impact licensed child care providers. Licensed child care COVID-19 health and safety guidelines remain in effect. You can read the full Executive Order online HERE.
NC House Speaker Tim Moore is co-sponsor of a bill that would require school districts to create a summer school program to help students who are struggling due to COVID-19. House Bill 82 – “Summer Learning Choice for NC Families” would require school districts to offer students at least 150 hours of summer in-person instruction, along with enrichment activities such as sports, music and arts. While the program is targeted to help at-risk students, attendance is voluntary and open to any student.
Funding for the program would come from federal COVID relief money already directed to public schools. Current teachers do not have to teach in the summer program, but those who do would sign a separate contract with their district and could be eligible for higher pay. The bill has already passed the House and is now under consideration by the state Senate.
Please note that these bills have been filed in the 2021 legislative session, but have not passed yet.
Senate Bill 37: “In-Person Learning Choices for Families” – Would require all local school administrative units to offer in-person instruction in grades K-12 for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, while creating alternative work plans for educators at high risk from COVID-19 and maintaining a remote-learning option for high-risk students. The bill has already been passed by state legislators and sent to Governor Cooper who can sign it into law, let it become law without his signature (after 10 days), or veto it. So far, the governor has only said he cannot sign the bill unless legislators agree to make some changes regarding safety requirements.
Senate Bill 104 – Would bring North Carolina into alignment with the federal CARES Act on the issue of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan deductibility. It would allow North Carolina businesses, when calculating their state taxes, to deduct any expenses paid for with the proceeds of forgiven PPP loans. These measures would be effective beginning with the 2020 taxable year.
Senate Bill 112 – Would do the same thing as Senate Bill 104 (above), but would enact these same measures for the 2020 taxable year only.House Bill 119 – would give some business owners a COVID-19-related deferment on their 2020 property tax payment through the end of 2021. Business owners would need to demonstrate two economic impacts from COVID-19 for the period of March to December 2020. The first is at least a 25% reduction in their gross revenues for the 10-month period. The second is focused on retail businesses that collect and remit sales tax. Their collections would have to be down at least 25% during the same period.