Virginia PTA is here to support our PTA leaders and community members as we navigate the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis together. Please remember to follow CDC guidance on social distancing to keep yourself, your family and your community safe and healthy. We will be updating resources on a regular basis on our website and on our social media sites.  If you have questions, please reach out to your PTA leaders and know that we are all here to support you. 

Below are quick links and resources that we hope will support you as a leader in your community and as a parent and care-giver. 

QUICK LINKS TO STATE AND FEDERAL COVID-19 RESOURCES

VIRGINIA

NATIONAL

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19

This can be a challenging time for our children as we face the upheaval of being at home and uncertainty of the coming weeks. Here are helpful resources that you can use to share facts about the virus and help children feel safe and supported. 

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

For non-emergency mental health support contact your physician or contact your insurance company and ask for a list of in-network providers. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) deputy or officer.

Free, confidential 24/7 supports are also available: 

  • PRS CrisisLink: 703-527-4077 or text "CONNECT" to 855-11
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • SAMHSA National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Children's Regional Crisis Response (CR2): 844-NCrisis (627-4747) in English and Espanol
  • Hopeline: Chat at http://www.hopeline.com or call 800-784-2433

MAINTAINING SCHOOL MEALS

Virginia's School Nutrition Programs serve approximately 112,700 million lunches, 57 million breakfasts, and 1.4 million after school meals each year. We have seen tremendous response across the Commonwealth as school divisions work hard to ensure every family has access to meals. Here is a link to the USDA guidelines and federal legislation waivers that are supporting increased access to nutritious meals for our children: 

Parents and families can find sites approved for meal service on the  School Meal Finder website and find additional details from their local school division. Families can also text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 to learn more about food options near them.

CONNECTING TO THE INTERNET

One of Virginia PTA's long standing advocacy priorities has been to address the educational inequities that our communities face with regard to the broadband availability. The COVID-19 crisis has brought that into sharp focus this past week and we are grateful for the swift work of service providers and legislators to get families connected. 

  • COMCAST: 
    • Speeds for all customers increased from 15/2 MBPS to 25/3 MBPS
    • Free Internet service for 60 days for new families
    • Comcast Internet Essentials Program for $9.95/month.
  • AT&TT-Mobile, and Sprint: Removed data limits for cellular data customers
  • Verizon: Offering unlimited data on hotspots and cell phones

FAMILY RESOURCES FOR LEARNING AT HOME

Although the conditions are not ideal, this is a good opportunity to connect with your students and explore shared interests or just spend more time together as a family. There are great resources being shared on-line to support families learning at home. Please look to your local school division for continuity of learning resources. Virginia PTA is sharing resources daily on our Facebook page. Here are a few to get you started:

LEGISLATION & GUIDANCE

STUDENT ASSESSMENTS

The U.S. Department of Education generally does not grant statewide waivers of assessment requirements under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA, however, the Secretary of Education announced on March 20th that state-wide waivers will be considered. Virignia has announced they plan to seek a waiver 

BROADBAND:

STUDENT RIGHTS

CONGRESSIONAL ACTION

  • S.3548 [116th] Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act)
    • Seeks to provide aid to individuals and industries most impacted by the coronavirus including air transportation, healthcare and eduction.  With respect to education, the bill waives provisions of federal law, temporarily suspends payments for federal student loans and provides funding for continuity of education
  • H.R. 6379 [116th] Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, Education and Labor Fact Sheet
    • Would create a $50 billion fund to stabilize states' education budgets, including a minimum of roughly $15 billion specifically for K-12 school districts.
  • March 23rd National PTA letter in support of creation of a $2B Emergency Connectivity Fund
  •  H.R. 6275 [116th] Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus, Education and Labor Fact Sheet
  • March 18th, National PTA Letter with other education associations seeking policy and fiscal relief for impacted families
  • H.R. 6201 [116th] Families First Coronavirus Response Act (LAW, March 18th )
    • Provides $1 billion in nutritional aid, expands access to COVID-19 testing and sick leave benefits.
  • H.R.6074 [116th] Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (LAW, March 6th)
    • Included $8.3 billion in emergency funds to support vaccine development, research and equipment stockpiles and local and health budgets.

GUIDANCE ON PTA MEETINGS

We encourage you to follow guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Governor's Office on gatherings. 

At this time, Virginians are strongly urged to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people. While executive committee and standing committee business can still easily be conducted via electronic means, we know that General Membership meetings present unique challenges at this time and offer the following guidance in addition to the meetings guidance provided by National PTA

ELECTIONS

Per Local Unit Bylaws Article 6, Officers and Their Election, Section 5. "Officers shall serve for a term of (1-2) years or until their successors are elected."  This provision provides you with the ability to wait until the social distancing guidelines have been relaxed to call a General Membership meeting. 

IF you have urgent business to conduct that impacts the health and safety of your community and you need to hold a General Membership meeting electronically to conduct business, please remember that not every family in your community may have readily available access to the internet and members may be working to support the health crisis or to support their family. You should ensure that: 

  • A quorum is met of dues paying members and only members can voice a vote on business.
  • All participants can simultaneously hear each other and fully participate in the meeting. 
  • A written record of minutes should be kept and distributed to your full membership. 

ELECTRONIC MEETINGS

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Virginia Attorney General provided an opinion on VA Code § 2.2-3708.2(A)(3) to ensure services could be provided, make decisions, and address Virginians' needs while remaining open, transparent, and accountable to the public during this unprecedented emergency. This guidance provides support for Virginia PTA to follow Nonprofit Code § 13.1-844.2. Remote participation in annual and special meetings

  • Guidance for holding virtual meetings is in our March 23rd Newsletter
  • Register for our April 1st Workshop Wednesday at noon and 7pm for Virtual Meeting Tips