Information for Parents, PTA Leaders, and Members

Florida PTA is committed to sharing the most up-to-date information about Coronavirus.  Please scroll to the relevant section to find valuable information.

National PTA has thoughtfully provided answers to questions shared by families and communities navigating the pandemic, we which have gathered in this section.  To visit the National PTA webpage on Coronavirus resources, click here.
Para leer en Espanol, clic aqui.

How do I talk to my child about Coronavirus?
Children, as well as adults, are likely to experience anxiety in this uncertain time. Several resources have been created by leading mental health experts on how to have age-appropriate, fact-based and reassuring conversations with you children about the outbreak and the steps they can take to stay healthy.
How to Talk to Your Child about the Coronavirus, Kids Health
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource, National Association of School Psychologists
Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Where can I go for information on Coronavirus and its impact on education and children?
There are several resources available for parents about the Coronavirus. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has resources to assist education leaders in protecting student privacy and ensuring students with disabilities continue to receive services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) during school closures due to the outbreak.
The ED also released important information for K-12 educators on flexibilities the Department could grant when it comes to the accountability standards required by law under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We particularly recommend reviewing COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional guidance and further resources, including:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage
Guidance for School Settings
Checklist for Teachers and Parents
Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs

Colorín Colorado is a good resource for English Language Learners and their families, as well as educators. We particularly want to call attention to their Multilingual Coronavirus Resources for Schools.

What if I do not have internet access in my home? What is being done to support equitable access to the internet for student learning?
Several internet providers have announced that they will make their services available for free for households with K-12 and/or college students who don’t already have internet through the company. Please contact your school district and/or local internet provider for additional information.

National PTA has joined several other education groups in calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to temporarily allow schools to utilize E-Rate program funding to provide Wi-Fi hotspots or devices with Wi-Fi capability to students who lack internet access at home. This action would help ensure that all students can remotely continue their education during the current public health emergency.

The coronavirus pandemic is shining a bright light on the so-called “homework gap” experienced by 12 million students in this country. The gap refers to those students who do not have internet access at home and are unable to complete their homework—at a time when over 70% of educators assign schoolwork that requires the internet.

As a parent, how can I support learning at home?
Recognizing that not all families or children will have the resources to access and leverage digital learning opportunities, PTAs should work with their local school and district to understand what plans are in place or are being developed to equitably support student learning during school closures. PTAs can (and should!) work with schools to help develop student learning plans during school closures and help communicate these plans to families.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), has developed 10 Strategies for Online Learning During Coronavirus Outbreak. The Today Show has curated some free educational activities that students and families can engage in here.

What is being done to ensure vulnerable youth have access to school meals?
Nearly 22 million students depend on subsidized breakfasts and lunches served at schools. All Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs—including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs—have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow them to respond to on-the-ground realities in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. You can view the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Response to COVID-19 here.

PTAs should connect with their local schools and district to learn about the plans for meal distribution and how best to support and promote those efforts. Members of Congress have introduced bipartisan legislation, COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act to protect students’ access to school meal benefits during school closures related to COVID-19.

What legislative action is Congress taking regarding Coronavirus?
Legislation is currently pending in Congress. Specifically, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.

Additionally, members of Congress have introduced the Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6275) which will provide needed resources to early childhood programs, K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. The legislation will provide $3 billion dollars in grants to provide support services to students, including mental health and technology and funding to clean school facilities.

You can write to your elected officials about these and other bills using National PTA’s Take Action Network.

What if I have concerns about end-of-year state testing?
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance on assessments and accountability. The Department of Education generally does not grant statewide waivers of assessment requirements under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA.

Due to COVID-19, all remaining K-12 state assessments are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. Please visit the Florida Department of Education’s COVID-19 information page at http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/index.stml for the most up-to-date information.
To see additional COVID-19 resources from National PTA, click here.

For information on AP and College Board testing, please click here.

COVID-19 #COVIDStopsWithMe Toolkit

The #COVIDStopsWithMe Toolkit is designed to assist Florida’s education family in lowering the impact in Florida’s education institutions and slowing the spread of COVID-19. It includes guidance and tools to help administrators, educators, and families make decisions, protect their students and staff, and communicate with their communities. Download and share on social media, post in your hallways and classrooms, and share with your communities!

http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/

Covid-19 Considerations for Schools from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

As some communities in the United States open K-12 schools, CDC offers the following considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html

Covid-19 Health Guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO)

Includes info on When and How to Use a Mask, Myth-busters, Getting Workplace Ready and Advocacy

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Florida PTA encourages families to work closely with school and school district officials to learn about local school closures, and find out what types of preventative measures are being implemented in their area.

  • On Saturday, April 18th, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that all Florida public schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  Please visit the Florida Department of Education here for the most current information.
  • If you’re in need of breakfast/lunch meals, please visit this website to find out where meals are being distributed for students.
  • Click here for a comprehensive Q&A from the Dept. of Education.
  • Information from the Florida Department of Education

We are all working hard to help meet the needs of our families and our communities during these challenging times. We must also be diligent in taking care of our own physical, social, and emotional well-being so we can better take care of our loved ones. Here are some tips on how you and your family can be safe and find support.

How to reduce anxiety and stress:

Keep up with regular routines. While schools are dismissed, create a schedule for learning, relaxing or fun activities.

Sleep is necessary for good brain health and survival in general.

Physical exercise -The vitamin D we get from the sun supports physical health and well-being. Look for outdoor activities you can do as families.

Seek appropriate ways for children to connect with others based on suggested safety guidelines.

Talk to your children, share age-appropriate information

Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your children can understand.

Be mindful of exposure to continuous news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

As parents, be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Please refer to the following link for additional information on Mental Health and Coping during COVID-19 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New Podcast Episode From National PTA: Tackling COVID-19 Anxiety Together
We talked with psychologist, author and professor Dr. Earl Turner about how to stay happy, healthy and learning during this difficult time. He shares tips for setting routines, managing your mental health and coping with uncertainty….
Listen Now

RESOURCES FOR SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT 

We encourage you to talk to your children about the facts around COVID-19. Here are some links that will help:

5 Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus, The American Psychological Association

Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Child Trends

How to Talk to Your Child about the Coronavirus, Kids Health

Multilingual Coronavirus Resources, Colorín Colorado

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource, National Association of School Psychologists

Promoting Positive Mental Health for Teens Feeling Isolated, Erika’s Lighthouse

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), National Child Traumatic

Supporting our LGBTQ students during the pandemic.

Building Resilience & Confronting Risk in the Covid-19 Era, Southern Poverty Law Center

Thriving During Isolation Workbook from Coaching Culture

This workbook is a step-by-step guide to building your own personal strategies to help you and your family to thrive during isolation.

Local PTA Leaders have many questions about how to conduct essential business through the 2020-2021 term.

Guidelines for Executive Board, Committee, Membership, and Events 

Guidelines are set out in the local unit and County Council Bylaws (2020-2021-under PTA Leaders Tab).  The Florida PTA Board of Directors has authorized electronic general membership meetings, please see the updated 2020-2021 bylaws form.

Executive Board and Committee

  • Ensure that everyone on the Executive Board or Committee has access to the virtual meeting technology being used.
  • All members of the Executive Board or Committee must be given, according to your bylaws.
  • If voting occurs during the virtual meeting, quorum must be verified before each vote to ensure everyone is still participating in the meeting.
  • This should be reflected in the minutes for each vote. Check your bylaws to determine whether the item being voted on requires a majority or two-thirds vote for adoption.
  • Minutes should be recorded as they would be in an in-person meeting and approved by a minutes review committee.

Membership Meetings

NEW! Elections or Votes Requiring Discussion 

  • Elections may only be conducted via virtual meeting. See virtual meeting guidelines.
  • The PTA community must be notified a minimum of 10 days prior to the meeting.
  • Attendees must register to attend in order to allow for membership verification. In the event that someone who is not a member intends to run from the floor, they must purchase a membership, before the meeting, in order to be run from the floor. (A membership must be purchased a minimum of 30 days in advance of the election meeting.) Only members who have joined 30 days in advance of the meeting can vote on PTA business.
  • Registration for attendees through electronic media (i.e., Zoom, etc.) must be done in advance of the meeting, so that each membership can be confirmed.  The Recording Secretary and/or Membership Chair must confirm membership in your PTA, to allow voting access to members only.
  • Quorum must be established. Reference the PTA’s Bylaws for requirements.
  • Check your bylaws to determine whether the item being voted on requires a majority or two-thirds vote for adoption.
  • Minutes should be recorded as they would be in an in-person meeting and approved by a minutes review committee.

Electronic Voting 

  • Elections or items that require discussion shall only be conducted by a virtual meeting (see above).
  • In order to ensure as many members as possible have the opportunity to vote, voting must stay open during your virtual meeting for a pre-determined time.
  • Quorum and a two-thirds vote of those responding required for adoption.
  • Voting shall only be open to paid members of your association.
  • All voters must be verified as members.
  • We recommend using an electronic form, like Google Forms, to collect member names, emails, and votes.
  • Minutes should be recorded as they would be in an in-person meeting, approved by committee and ratified at the next in-person meeting.

Scheduled Membership Events 

If officer elections were not held in the Spring of 2020, they should be scheduled now.  Now is the time to review contracts with vendors. You do not need a vote of the membership to cancel a fundraiser or event that you are no longer able or allowed by law to hold. If you have concerns or questions, please reach out to your County Council or Region Rep.

Florida PTA is closely monitoring developments released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the COVID-19 Virus. There is a lot of information circulating and we defer to recommendations made by public health officials. Since this is a community-wide concern, we ask that our volunteers practice a heightened sense of personal health. Simple steps can prevent the spread of germs like frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your face, and social distance.

Updated Guidance on PTA Meetings During the Pandemic
FAQs for Virtual Meetings
Click here to access our Virtual Meeting Tools Webpage

The Florida PTA State Office is now fully open and all staff members are back in the office.  For a list of employees and the phone extensions/emails, please visit this link.

 

The U.S. Census has had to adjust the timing of some of its activities due to coronavirus:

All census counting will conclude on September 30th.

For further information about how coronavirus has affected the Census, click here.

We encourage all our member to complete the Census if at all possible, as your responses affect the allocation of services and funds that affect all of Florida’s families and children. It can be done online, over the phone or by mail from the safety of your home — no physical interaction with others that might put you at risk for coronavirus is required.