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.
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.

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.

As of April 1, Florida’s public schools will remain closed until at least April 30th, with students scheduled to return to campus in May. 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.

This information page provides our current guidance about running your PTA during the pandemic. You can view the newsletter here.

Please note:

  • Our bylaws allow for Executive Board/Committee meetings to be held via telephone or video conferencing as long as all of the members are able to hear and speak with each other.
  • As per our bylaws, General meetings are not allowed to be conducted via telephone or video conferencing. Given this requirement, we ask that you consider the following when determining whether or not to hold a PTA General meeting and/or a PTA Event:
    First, consult with your local public health and school officials to determine the most up-to-date guidelines for meetings and events relating specifically to your community. Second, consider postponement of the meeting or event.
  • Your Nominating Committee should continue to meet to produce the Slate of Officers, so that when we can meet, your PTA is ready to move forward with the annual meeting. Currently, the committee can meet in person or via electronic meeting (conference call or video conferencing).

Planning and registration for Florida PTA’s 2020 Leadership Convention at Innisbrook continues. At this time we are hopeful that our annual event will take place as scheduled. We will continue to update you with any adjustments. Please visit our event page for details.

As of March 23, 2020, the Florida PTA office in Orlando has implemented a Remote Work From Home plan for staff.  We are anticipating a return to the state office on May 1st, but will adjust this date in response to further instruction from our federal, state, and local leaders, as well as the Governor’s office and the Florida PTA Personnel Committee.

We expect to provide our volunteers and members with the same level of attention and service as always.  Staff will continue to be reachable on their floridapta.org email addresses (see staff listing here), and messages left on their office voicemail will continue to be responded to in a timely manner.

The U.S. Census has had to adjust the timing of some of its activities due to coronavirus:
• The window for households to respond to questionnaire notices that have been mailed to them has been extended to August 14, 2020
• The start date for census-takers to begin door-to-door operations has been delayed until March 29, 2020
• Mobile (public, community-based) questionnaire assistance centers will not open until April 13, 2020.

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.