Pulaski County to offer local certified childcare centers Emergency Recovery Grants

~ Grants up to $10,000.00 to Help Pulaski County Childcare Centers Offset the Impacts of New COVID-19 Regulations and to Assist with their Recovery and Response ~

The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors has developed the Pulaski County Childcare Center Emergency Recovery Grant Program to support local certified childcare centers with recovering from the comprehensive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist them with mitigating expenses resulting from new requirements and regulations imposed by the Commonwealth to reopen and to continue childcare operations under phased guidelines.
Childcare Center Emergency Recovery Grants in the amount of $5,000.00 and up to $10,000.00 will be made available through a direct application for Childcare Centers in Pulaski County who have all the required state licensures and certifications, are in good standing with the State Corporation Commission (SCC), are up to date on all Pulaski County taxes, charges and fees, and were in operation prior to February 15, 2020.
“We are finding that childcare centers around Virginia are having an increasingly difficult time reopening and operating because of the spatial restrictions put on them and the limitations brought on by their existing facility’s square footage”, stated Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator. “Childcare centers are going to need to be creative and resourceful in order to optimize their current space and may ultimately need to find ways to affordably expand their facilities to be able to serve the same number of children and meet the six feet distancing requirement.”
Many of the general guidance for reopening any business operation under Phase III involve properly training staff, putting in place policies and procedures, equipping personal protective equipment, sanitization and physical/social distancing. The general guidance for reopening childcare programs during Phase III are no different; however, the physical distancing requirement has proven to be the biggest challenge for this particular sector. Currently, the group size limit is 12 (including staff) for children under 4 years old provided
age-based adult-to-child ratios are followed. For children ages four and above, including school-age children up to age 13, the group size maximum is 22 (including staff) as long as social distancing of six feet apart is maintained and age-based adult-to-child ratios are followed. Groups of children may share the same physical space (e.g. classroom, gymnasium) so long as physical distancing of six feet can be maintained and children do not mix between groups. The six feet distance requirement is primarily what is limiting the number of children that can be served within the existing square footage of childcare facilities.
“Childcare centers are critical for a healthy community and provide citizens with access to safe, affordable and developmental care needed for their children”, Joe Guthrie, Chair of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “Quality childcare services are important to our workforce, our businesses, our school system and of course our children who receive care, so finding creative ways to assist this important community resource with expanding their capacity has become one of Pulaski County Board of Supervisor’s top priorities.”
The two page application is simple and is comprised of only six questions and a written summary of how the Childcare Center has been impacted by COVID-19. Approved expenses that have occurred after March 1, 2020 and before December 30, 2020 are items such as: rent/mortgage, payroll, employee benefits, reopening costs, utilities, marketing, vendor payments, equipment purchases, personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies, and new software. A W-9 must be completed and attached to all applications.
The County of Pulaski will administer this new program. Forms can be downloaded from the Pulaski County website at: www.pulaskicounty.org. Applications will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis starting on August 3, 2020. The entirety of the program is funded at a level of $30,000.00 through a CARES Act appropriation to Pulaski County, Virginia. The Pulaski County Childcare Emergency Recovery Grant Program will conclude on December 1, 2020 or at which time the funds for the program have been depleted.