Supplemental Funds to Continue Responding to COVID-19
Glenna Davis: Hello, and welcome to the Supplemental Funds to Continue Responding to COVID-19. If you would like to ask a question or download the slides for today's presentation, please use the Ask a Question or Event Resources tabs that are located to the left of the slide presentation. It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to Dr. Futrell. Dr. Futrell, the floor is yours.
Dr. Bernadine Futrell: Thank you very much. Hello, everyone. Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the Supplemental Fund to Continue Responding to COVID-19 webinar. I am Dr. Bernadine Futrell, the proud director in partnership with all of you of the Office of Head Start, and it is such a pleasure to be with you today. We all know these have been very difficult times. The pandemic has created and really just made worse the educational disparities and inequities that we have all been concerned over for many years, and even more so now about our youngest children and families.
A few weeks ago, when I joined, I did speak about hope being on the horizon, and we talked a little bit about how there were new opportunities for us to think and be creative in the work that we get to do as we move ahead. Today, we are very pleased because help is now here with this historical American Rescue Plan. We have some new tools, new resources, and the passion really to get back to our Head Starts for so many children and families.
As a Head Start child, I know how important it is for Head Starts to connect with families and communities, and to recruit and enroll children, to be a bridge for families to the ongoing health care, to support families in receiving critical services. We are the ones who show up to find the children and families to partner with for services. We are the ones who provide connections and support to so many. As a young child I remember fondly going to Head Start. I got on the bus and I would see Mrs. Green every day, my Head Start teacher. As she worked with me, my family would be connected to support and services that have created long-lasting legacies for our families. And for that, to each of you on this line today, I say, thank you. Thank you for what you have done, and thank you for what you are doing, and thank you for what you are going to do as we build back out of this pandemic.
The work of Head Start is life-changing for children and families and communities. And the work of Head Start, as you all know, goes beyond any early learning agenda. It includes our important role of fighting child poverty, empowering families, and combating racism and racial disparities in health. We have an incredible opportunity. Our Head Start program received a groundbreaking recovery package that includes $1 billion for Head Start programs. This is in addition to the 250 million to continue our COVID-19 response and to set us on the path to getting to continue and to start our in-person comprehensive services right now, this summer, and ultimately, this fall. As we crawl, walk, and eventually run back to serving children and families in person, we want to make sure that as Head Start grantees, that you have the resources to think about the needs of our children and families. And so, that's why we're doing this webinar today.
My colleagues are a great team from the Office of Head Start. We'll talk in more details about the kinds of things that programs can think about to support children and families from extending programming, to focusing on your HVAC system, to making facility safer in many ways and so much more. We are so glad that you are with us today. We know you are the leaders that are going to lead us through to the next iteration of the work that we get to do in partnership with children and families. Thank you. Now, I'm going to turn it over to our great team so they can share important information about these new grants and the opportunity we have with these additional funds to make a difference in the lives of children and families across the many communities in our nation. Thank you, Heather.
Heather Wanderski: Thanks so much, Dr. Futrell. I think it's just an amazing opportunity and I am super excited to just recap where we were last year with the amount of funds that we received and where we're headed. So, you can see here that over the course of the last year, our Head Start programs will receive a combination of $2 billion in the COVID 19 funding to help in the response efforts. So, I think that this has just been a tremendous year and a tremendous support for our programs, and just to highlight here for folks, so that it's a lot of different funding coming from a lot of different appropriations. So, an initial $750 million was awarded last year through the CARES Act, and those funds were provided last spring and summer. We have a second $250 million that was by Congress back in December under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and this is part of what we're talking about today is how to apply for that additional $250 million. And just a few short weeks ago, the president signed the American Rescue Plan, which included an additional $1 billion, and we are expecting to award those funds just right after the initial $250 million is awarded. And again, providing further instruction today on that, and then we will be talking a little bit more momentarily about how the additional $1 billion will be making its way out to you all as grantees. So, I think the most important thing is that funds were and will continue to be awarded to respond to COVID-19, and really grantees are encouraged to use funds for the activities to support those continued reopening efforts.
And I want to just talk through a little bit about how the new COVID funding will be distributed. So, it's going to be distributed proportionally to all grantees based on federal funded enrollment levels. And I think a lot of questions that we get oftentimes is how much additional funding or how can we estimate how much funding we are going to anticipate to receive. So, I will say that with the Consolidated Appropriations Act it's going to be – or that $250 million that if you estimate at approximately $300 per slot, that that's how much you can anticipate receiving for that award. And then, when you're adding to that and looking at specifically the American Rescue Plan, you could anticipate approximately $1,100 per slot for funds under that award.
So, like I said, starting a little bit later today, I know Theresa will talk a little bit more about the mechanics of this, but we do anticipate applications to become available a little later on today. But what I wanted to just point out a little bit differently with these new funds that are coming out, unlike the CARES Act funds that were distributed last year, the new COVID money will be awarded through a separate grant as opposed to what we did last year was supplement your existing service grant. So, essentially there will be a completely separate grant award made for just this new funding. And it will be one award made per agency per region. So, for example, if you're an organization that has more than one grant in a region, you will receive funding that will cover all of your slots from all of those different grants under one award. The nice part about this, about issuing a separate grant is it really provides some additional flexibility for you as an organization to be able to think about how to best allocate those funds and where the needs really are, as opposed to having to use a specific set dollar amount per grant award. And it also doesn’t require any complications relating to ending of budget periods where you'd have to ask for a carryover request, and it also reduces the administrative burden of having to ask for a no-cost extension, particularly these new awards we anticipate will be for an initial two-year period. And then I would say too, that it also reduces because the funds will be awarded under one common accounting number, it reduces the need to necessarily cost allocate across Head Start and Early Head Start. So, again, really trying to lift up and give programs more flexibility on the use of funds, depending on where their needs are in different communities, as well as give you more flexibility in how to allocate those funds.
And so, I want to just share with you all … So, the focus for the remaining time today and over the course of the next hour is really to provide further explanation on the mechanics for applying for supplemental funds as a Head Start enterprise system, the ideas and suggestions of how you are thinking about the use of those funds, and then also providing instruction on financial reporting for all three streams of the COVID-19 response funding. And so, now with that, I'm going to turn things over to Theresa to talk more about the mechanics. Theresa.
Theresa Rowley: Thank you, Heather. So, as Heather has mentioned, there is a new grant number that you'll see in HSES. It's actually going to be considered what we call a temporary grant number, and I'll get into the nuances of that in just a minute or two. But for grants and regions I through X, their grant number is HET; for our American Indian, Alaska native grantees, the great number is HAT; and for migrant and seasonal Head Start grantees, the grant number's HNT. That will become available in HSES by close of business today, and the applications are due on April 9th, as Heather just mentioned.
So, temporary grant, what we mean by that is this is the place in which you are filing the application for this funding specifically for the 250 million first. Once that is reviewed by the Regional Office and submitted to grant solutions and the notice of award is issued, this grant number becomes an active grant number, and the T is removed from the grant acronym itself. So, like I said, we'll get into a little bit more detail about that, but I just want to plant the seeds on what this looks like in this system.
So, what you'll see that as new in HFCs is after you log in, you'll see this new page called the Grant Agency Selection. Some grantees may already be familiar with this. If you are an agency that has, let's say a CH grant, and an Early Head Start childcare partnership grant, this is the screen that you'll see every time you log into HSES already. If you only have one grant with Head Start, this will be a new screen for you. Essentially what the screen is asking is where are you going to be doing work in this system today? Are you doing work on your existing CH grant or you're doing work on the new COVID-19 grants, the HET, HAT or HNT, depending upon what region you're in. As you can see in the magnified section on the left, so the XX that you see in that grant number, that's just what would normally be your region. So, if you're in region I, it would say 01HET; region II, 02HET; etc. So, the HET is where you'll go in, in the actions section and it's select, and that's the grant number that you'll be working in to apply for this new funding.
So, once you hit select, you're going to see a very pared down version of HSES. So, I'm sure folks are used to seeing many, many more tabs here. We're really trying to keep this as simple as possible. And one other thing to note: All of the people in your agency across all of the grants that are active for Head Start will have access to this new grant number. So, if you have staff that already have access to the financials tab for any one of your grants, they will now have access to this grant number. So, do keep that in mind as you're working on these grants in this system.
So, what's new in here. So, the there's a standard Context tab. What we've done is we've taken contacts from your current grants, your current active child serving grants, and populated this tab. Please do review it and let us know and make any updates. Go ahead and click that edit button and make any updates if those names need to be changed.
There's also a standard correspondence tab. This works similar to the correspondence tab you've seen on any of your other grants on HSES. This should be your primary tool to communicate to the Regional Office or your grants officer about this funding and about the uses of this funding. If you have any questions during the application process or throughout the life cycle of this grant, that ensures that a history of that communication is available both to you and to the Regional Office.
And on the financial tab, you will see a staged noncompeting new applications. This is the application that you'll be using to apply for the new 250 million. So, you'll go ahead in the actions column and hit start, which is standard process for our grant applications. So, what you'll see when you hit Start is an abbreviated application. So, generally you would see a program schedule and a budget tab. Neither one of those are needed for this application, so we took those out of here to make sure that this burden is decreased.
The application is populated with the amount that you will be funded in both the summary tab and the SF-424A tab, and we'll take a look at that in just a second. A few things to note on the summary tab … Like I said, the pre-populated amount is in the budget summary. It's also a little bit further down below the guidance. We have what we're calling the allocated amount, so that's the amount that we're letting you know is going to be provided to you based on that funding enrollment that Heather mentioned, and then the requested amount. So, that's the amount, once you edit the SF-424A, if there are any changes there, you can see, "OK, these numbers are different, so I'm going to need to go back to my SF-424A, and make sure that my requested amount matches my allocated amount." There's also a Guidance section on here. We do encourage you to take a look at that. It includes a link to the PI for this funding. If you have any additional questions, that document has lots of additional information in it. So, that's what's new on the summary tab.
In the 424A, we've also included the allocation. It's in section A, and it's also in section B in the budget categories. All of the funding has been put into the other section. So, this is where based on how you plan to use the funds, you can move them around to different parts of the budget categories in the 424A. If you do indeed move them around and the amount changes from the allocated amount, you will get an error message. So, it does help to go back to that summary page and take a look at the allocated amount to double check that what you've entered on the 424A if you are moving information around to different budget categories matches the allocated amount. You don't have to move the information around to different budget categories; it can stay in the other category if that is where you plan to use it now. You do also have to check section C and section D of the 424A to make sure that those are filled out properly before submitting the application.
In total, what will be required of this application is the 424A and 424. Folks may know that oftentimes we're able to pre-populate the SF-424 with some of the information from, let's say a previous application. Because this is a brand-new grant, the 424 is mostly blank. So, when you click on the 424, you will see a lot of error messages at the top of the screen. Don't, don't stress about those. That's basically just telling you, these are the fields on the 424 that are required to be filled out. So, it's all of the standard fields on the 424, it's just a matter that we were not able to pre-populate those for you because these are new grants. So, definitely double check that all that information is accurate.
If you are going to make purchases that require prior approval such as equipment or construction, a narrative explaining the purchases is indeed necessary and needs to be added to the documents section. If you are not making those purchases, no documents are needed. And also, on section C of the 424A, you can enter zero to request a waiver of the nonfederal match. No additional justification or documents are required. Once we see that zero, we'll know that that is a request for the nonfederal match waiver. So, it's SF-424A, SF-424, and documents if you are making purchases that require prior approval. Just those three parts, but once you've completed those three parts – that may be just the two parts for a lot of grantees – you'll go ahead and submit the application like you would in a standard grant application. So, once the Regional Office reviews this grant application and issues the notice of award, the T will be dropped from the grant number. So, as I mentioned earlier, that T means temporary. So, once this is indeed approved and is an award – is an active grant, the T is removed and the grant number itself will also change, so do keep that in mind.
Your region will always be your region. That part of the grant number will not change. It's just the numbers after the letters will change, and you will see this new active grant. It will take over the piece of the temporary grant, so you will no longer see the temporary grant on the grant agency selection page, you'll only see this new active grant. And then, that is where you'll go into to do any functionality that you need to do while that grant is active for the COVID-19 money. So, with that, I will turn this back to Heather.
Heather: Thanks, Theresa. And I wanted to just highlight a few things or recap and raise up based on some of the questions that we're just hearing come in. One of the first things that I think people have been asking about is just getting clarification on the anticipated or estimated cost per child for the funds. So, I will reiterate those amounts or just recap those again. So, what you'll see later today … And again, these are just anticipated, you'll actually see that the actual amounts later on today … And the only ones you'll see later today are specifically for the $250 million under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and that will be roughly $300 per child. But if you're also thinking about longer term wanting to be able to plan for the additional funding you should anticipate or expect a little bit in a few months later when we start to award the American Rescue Plan funds, those will be approximately $1,100 per slot. So, again, just to reiterate, $300 for the funds to be awarded under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and then under the Rescue Act, because that's a billion dollars, that will be roughly $1,100 per child. And then also just wanting to raise up that in addition, these funds really are one time. So, they're not going to be part of changing any of your base operations funds, it will be one-time funds.
And then, just to be similar to what our expectations were as far as applications last year, you'll recall that this was formula funding and so therefore we do not require board and Policy Council approvals for these applications. I think there may be some concern with the short timeframe, but ultimately a board and Policy Council approvals are not needed for these applications since they're being awarded by formula.
And then also that it is not expected that you will automatically receive a waiver for the nonfederal match. You have to please $0 on the 424A. Nonfederal match waivers have to be grantee initiated for the Head Start Act, so you will need to place zero on 424A if you are asking for us to waive the amount of match that's required for this supplement or this grant. Colleen, I'm not sure if there was anything else we need to highlight before we move on?
Colleen Rathgeb: No, I really think you got everything. I was just scribbling notes down on, Heather, you covered.
Heather: One last thing I do want to say is I think there may have been some question around the number of grants. So, if an organization is actually providing services in, let's say across two regions … So, let's say I am an organization operating in Florida, but I also am operating a migrant program. If you are in one of those situations where you have service grants under multiple regions, you will receive one grant per region. So, in that instance, you will receive one grant under region IV, since you're operating out of Florida and you'll receive one grant under region XII since you're operating a migrant program. So, hopefully that clarifies the number of organizations and as well as the number of expected grants related to this funding.
So, I want to switch gears a little bit, because I think we've heard a lot of information about new grants and how the funds will be awarded, but now let's take some time to really delve into the ways grantees can be thinking about how to use the money. So, this is a great opportunity, and we absolutely want you to be thinking about your program needs, the data that is coming in on your community assessments, what you've been hearing from your families that's you serve, and how you can think creatively about how to best meet the needs of children and families.
So, that said, I really want to emphasize that we know that more children and families are experiencing heightened adversity and that includes homelessness. So, we think about food insecurity, unemployment – all the challenges that our families are now facing. And so, as a result, we really, really want grantees to be as responsive as possible in thinking through all the various ways that you can consider using these additional funds.
So, I'm actually … Colleen, I'm going to turn it right back over to you, because I think that it might be helpful. Can you talk us through the idea of how COVID funds could be used to extend? Let's say, the program year?
Colleen: Absolutely. Hi everybody. It is so good to be with all of you. And we are really excited about the possibilities that this funding opens up for all of you grantees and the communities and kids and families that you serve. And so, one of the things we really just wanted to think about out of the gate is how could you use this funding to think about providing additional services than you otherwise would be able to do? And as you guys are thinking about it – as we start to think about ways that this money could be used to really address needs in your communities – I ask if you could go into the Q&A, if you've already started to think about things, if you're thinking about things as you're going on today, put some things into the Q&As about things you may be able to do with this funding that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do because of the opportunities that Congress has given us by appropriating these funds. We'd love to hear about what you're thinking.
So, one of the things we want folks to think about is what additional services could you be doing? Could you be adding … If you've just started doing some more in-person services in your community, but you normally would end services in maybe May, could you go longer into the summer? If in your community it still makes sense to be doing virtual services, even through the spring if families are hesitant to bring kids back in but you normally would close, could you think about extending your virtual services into the summer when normally you wouldn't be serving children and families at all? Or if you've been unable to meet some families’ needs at all, so you haven't been able to reach all of your families because of smaller classrooms or the inability of staff to be doing virtual and in person, could you open up some classrooms this summer for say, rising kindergartners that haven't been in-person at all?
Could you think about opening up your services next year earlier than you might, because that transition might be harder for kids that weren't in-person last year. Maybe you could be doing something specifically for some of your kids with identified needs – with IFFPs or Ips – that need to be really looking differently or thinking about if there are some families that have really urgent needs, more food insecurity or housing insecurity, are there special programs you could be opening up for those families? So, really to think about what does your community need? What do your families need? What could you do differently this spring, summer, and fall to really extend those services? Or if you're thinking about fall, and you're worried in your community that there's still going to be needs to have greater space in your classrooms?
Could you look at identifying new space, renting some additional space so that if you have to have smaller class sizes again next year, you could be providing more services or serving new families, or getting able to serve back up to your closer full enrollment, if you have to have those extensions. So, those are some things we're really excited about for you guys to start thinking about. We'd love to start hearing from you about what you're thinking, some possibilities that this money opens up for you. And then, I will shoot it back to you, Heather, to see what Sharon and Kate or others have to talk about. Thanks.
Heather: Thanks Coleen. And just to reiterate, we're getting a lot of questions in, and people are very much interested about summer programming. So, can you clarify again, Colleen, that these ones can be used for summer programming this year?
Colleen: Absolutely. So, programs could absolutely be using those to open up classrooms for children that were served in the spring, but maybe weren't in served in-person to just extend some of the classrooms you're already operating or open brand-new summer programs for kids going into kindergarten that either were enrolled next last year, or for new families. So, absolutely this can be summer program. We think this would be an ideal opportunity right down to have kids get those services over the summer either before they go into kindergarten or before they come back into our programs that otherwise would not. So, we'd love to hear about programs that are talking about summer. I think we may talk about this again later. You may have already mentioned … You're going to have an opportunity to say if you need this money soon so that you could be planning for summer programming, so you can get the plans going and tell us if you need the money to be prioritized so that you can begin operating in this summer.
Heather: Great. Thank you so much, Colleen. And now, actually Sharon, I think this falls under some of your ideas and thoughts that you've had. Can you talk us through some ideas and use the funds related to staffing and mental health?
Sharon Yandian: Yeah, thanks Heather. And it's great to be here. I feel like some of our grantees could be here in the phone giving us some ideas. I was reading some of the chat around the staffing and some of the mental health supports that they're excited about, that they're already providing and they're going to continue to provide. But one of the things that I was thinking about, Heather, is in the big umbrella … As we move towards reopening … Obviously grantees are in different States, but what is it that we can do, thinking about this one … What is it that grantees can do organizationally and in the learning and other environments to make staff and families feel safe about having their children return to the classroom or learning environments, just with that big umbrella thinking about that? And there's lots of things …
Right now, I really applaud … It's an amazing the work that grantees have done. And now thinking about this opportunity for this funding, some programs are really doing three types of programs right now. Some are virtual, some are in person, and some are the combination of all three. So, thinking about staffing, the opportunity to really be making sure that you're well-staffed to do that without extra stressors for staff is really, really important. So, obviously there's the basic to make sure that the physical distancing requirements are in place. Reducing the group size, being able to have sufficient numbers of family service workers in place. Those are a few things that come to mind, and I think areas where you might want to have floaters to reduce the need for just no substitutes – other people coming into the environment. I was excited to see also in the transportation staff … I do have to shout out that with these funds, people are going to be purchasing buses, which is great.
There may be programs, this deviates a little bit with staff and consultants, but there may be programs who didn't transport children before but are going to now. And this is an opportunity to do that, to reach those families who are the most in need. But if you already have buses, you need to perhaps increase the number of staff who are transportation. So, those were a few ideas I think that come to mind there. I might talk a little bit more, Heather, around thinking about mental wellness. I see lots of folks in the chat talking about support for teachers and staff around mental health consultation, and really supporting teachers and others as they are working with children and families. And so, that's one area that it's really important now and definitely as children coming back into the learning environment. The other area that I think … Sometimes we operate it on a shoestring, the staff wellness. We have lots of programs that have implemented, and we've heard wonderful things around staff wellness programs. And sometimes we do it on a shoestring. We don't have to do it on a shoestring. It's wonderful opportunity to really look at what employee assistance programs may offer, or other areas that programs can beef up to really support, invest in staff. Now, lots of programs already have done surveys of what staff need, now you have an opportunity to fund it. What does the staff said will really support them both in their wellbeing, in emotional or physical, what do they really need and how can you use these funds to support staff wellness? So, those are a few other areas that come to mind when I think about how the funds may be used. Just thinking outside of the box, I really think that's what we want to encourage.
Heather: Thanks, Sharon. So, I definitely heard you touch a little bit about the transportation piece, and I know that there's, I think a number of what I'm seeing here in the chats or what people are adding to the Q&A portion is talking about exactly that – transportation and being able to purchase vehicles and things. But Kate, do you have anything else that you wanted to add about transportation or how about outdoor spacing?
Kate Troy: Sure, absolutely. Thanks Heather. In terms of outdoor spacing, first, programs can definitely be thinking about using funds to purchase or really enhance outdoor learning spaces, including center-based based learning and outdoor classes. And programs can also think about creating play area, landscaping areas that promote exploration and discovery and [Inaudible] planting and gardens rather than traditional play structures. So, looping back to transportation, I did want to mention [Inaudible] absolutely be thinking about [Inaudible] their vehicles that support [Inaudible] programs served and reaching families must include [Inaudible] with experiencing homelessness. And one thing we really know is that public transportation to track programs can be a barrier for families, certainly during COVID and being around a lot of other people and public perception and families may be much more comfortable accessing services programs who are able to provide transportation services themselves. And then Sharon mentioned really thinking about hiring bus drivers or monitors to really allow more trips with fewer children per bus. Those are some ideas.
Heather: Thanks, Kate. And I think because we know that meals and nutrition services are critically important, can you talk a little bit about how funds could be used to support those efforts?
Kate: Absolutely. So, grantees can use these funds for meals and snacks not reimbursed by the US Department of Agriculture. And grantees can use these funds for the equipment and supplies necessary to support the delivery of nutrition services, regardless of whether children are served in person, remotely or virtually, or in a hybrid model. So, for example, programs can use these funds to purchase the equipment and supplies to deliver meals to children served in a remote or virtual setting. Programs can invest in commercial kitchen equipment. They can also purchase supplies to support in-person meal service. So, we really encourage grantees to assess families' nutritional and broader needs more frequently this program year.
So, for example, even in cases when a child or family can't access a meal through the local school district, they may find a free meal pickup protocol challenging due to transportation or location issues. So, this is an example where it's absolutely a place where grantees can step in to make sure the family's needs are met. So, in that case, Head Start programs can use these funds to provide meal delivery to the home or offer food pickup from a location closer to the family's home. But these are more ways to just really think about exactly what services would really help families in the area of food insecurity.
Heather: Great, thanks. And I do want to say that thinking more along those family lines, Sharon, I think you had wanted to talk more about the family [Inaudible] fees?
Sharon: Just really quickly, because I know we're running out of time, but I can just dovetail on what Kate had to say. I think in the area there's lots we can do around family support and we know at this time it's so incredibly critical and Kate mentioned a few really important things as we really dial in perhaps even more than usual on thinking about families' nutritional health and wellness needs. I think also in terms of family economic mobility, there's lots we can do. As we think about these funds addressing families' economic security by thinking about their employment education and career goals, really in a way that we haven't before. We've done a lot of work and you all have on the ground around building families' economic mobility. Now, you can think about investing in startup funds for partnering with your local community colleges, setting up an apprentice program, and working together with local employers to set up those career tracks. And many of you have done this before, and now you have this opportunity to really work locally to set this up and really in thinking about, again, Head Start is this two-generation program. So, I just wanted to bring those pieces that we know about the work that we've done over time and give this opportunity for us to think a new about how we might do this and use these funds in this way. Thanks, Heather.
Heather: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Sharon, that was incredibly important. I think about how much the children and families really do need this additional support. But that said, I know that many grantees have been using funds to make their programs safe during the pandemic as best as they can. I'm wondering, Coleen, can you talk a little bit about supplies and other items that folks could be thinking about to maintain facilities?
Colleen: Sure, so we have lots of great examples that hopefully folks can find on the ECLKC … some great stories, we were telling some success stories about how grantees have used their funds to make their operations safer and how you can learn from that from, and grantees that have been able to be operating. So, everything from mitigation strategies, extra cleaning and sanitizing, additional supplies so you can minimize the sharing of toys and books … obviously masks, PPEs, all of those things and really looking at the ventilation systems in programs. So, figuring out safe ways to get fresh air, more fresh air into your facilities, filters, getting the best HEPA filters we can that really help now, but also can help with regular allergies and asthma and other long-term ways to make facilities safer that are really important right now.
And so, we can, I think, do some of these things that are about safety right now that will really help reduce transmission of indoor spaces, but also help facilities be safer long-term. I know we already talked a little bit – Kate was mentioning – about outdoor spaces and I saw something in the chat asking about, "What could you do for family Early Head Start childcare partnerships, home-based family childcare?" And I do think some of these – both supplies, ventilation, and outdoor play spaces – are super important to think about great sites for home-based socialization that might be a great outdoor space that could be used in the future as well as that for partners and family childcare support.
And the last thing in the health and safety thing I just want to mention before we have to move on is ways that grantees can support their staff getting vaccines. And so, there are both immediate things like providing transportation assistance for your staff to get to vaccines, paid sick leave or other paid leave for employees to get the vaccines, or if they have side effects – supporting temporary coverage so that you can allow the absence of … when folks can go during work hours to be able to support your staff getting those vaccines. So, all of these things we think in the health and safety realm, there's so many opportunities and hope we can facilitate you learning from other grantees and how they've done that.
Heather: Thanks Colleen. That was incredibly helpful and great that you were able to hit on a number of questions and just grantees asking about wanting to use the funds and really thanks to everyone for providing those rich examples. I think we've got just a multitude of ways that we can really be thinking about use of funds. So, that said, now that we've had an opportunity to explore that piece, I want to now segue into thinking about the financial documentation and reporting. So, I want to turn it now over to Lizette to talk more about those critical pieces. Lizette.
Lizette Lopez: Hello, everyone. While we think about all the wonderful things that were said about how we may use those funds, we have to also think about for all expenditures an allowable costs must be necessary and reasonable for the performance of the Federal award under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made allocable to benefit a specific federal award or necessary to the overall operation of the grantee and be adequately documented. Document, document, document. Grantees must ensure that pending decisions and use of funds are documented, like I said before. [Laughter] Expenses should be within any fiscal flexibility permitted in order to avoid subsequent disallowance or disuse based on unreasonableness or a lack of ability, the grantee may seek the prior written approval from the Regional Office. So, work with your Regional Office if you have any questions on if a cost will be allowed.
[Inaudible] identify the community, program, family, child circumstances that support new, different, or increased needs. Make supportive changes to the internal fiscal policies and procedures including but not limited to additional funding sources provided, the financial reporting requirements that come along with this additional funding, and the additional staff that's required to follow up with the reporting and recordkeeping.
I want to talk a little about the C3 Financial Reporting. The C3 Financial Reporting will require two federal financial reports. Following the reporting requirements in accordance with AC Program Instruction 17-04. Reports must be submitted in the Payment Management System. The Payment Management System will not auto-create the due date properly. So, they will require a manual correction to PMS. You can reach out to the PMS help desk or your Regional Office for the corrections to those requirements [Inaudible 00:48:24].
Heather: And Lizette, we had a question I think asking specifically about just the document number, the C3. So, thinking about the C3 designation, because the CARES Act Funds were supplemented to the service grant that – when asking for funds to be drawn down out of the Payment Management System for COVID funds – that they need to actually in the document number include that C3 at the end, that suffix, otherwise they're just going to be drawing down their operations funding. Is that correct?
Lizette: Yes, that is correct. The same is for when you go into PMS to submit the drawdowns is you have to add the C3 subaccounts, and you also have to do the same when you want to submit your reporting. Right?
Heather: Thank you.
Lizette: OK, thank you. I've included a reporting table to aid in understanding the due dates for the C3 funding. So, for example, if your budget period started January 1st, you would have required to … as a 425 to be submitted in Payment Management System. The first one would be due January 30th, which report cumulative cost through December 31st, and your final SF-425 would be due April 30th.
There will be some possible C3 actions that will require you to contact your Regional Office. As Heather mentioned earlier, the CARES Act will require you to summit, and a possible action would be an extension to liquidate observations, and these have to be specifically for the C3 subaccounts. You may request a carryover balance reprogramming, and this would require a final or annual SF-425. You can also require [Inaudible] no-cost extension. And these no-cost extensions are given to grantees that received their C3 funding at the end of their project period. So, they received the funding at the last budget period of the project period. Thanks. A no-cost extension or an extension to liquidate obligations will change the due date for the final SF-425.
Now, we're going to talk a little bit about the Corona Virus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation. The CRRSA awards will have 24-month project and project period. As Heather mentioned earlier, they will be awarded separately. They will not be awarded as a subaccount as the C3 were. They will have 24 months periods. All the CRRSA awards will be awarded from 4/1/2021 to 3/31/2023. As Heather mentioned, one grant for each organization per region. These funds will require two financial reports: an annual and a final report.
The reporting due date will be indicated in your notice of award, so please look at the remarks when you receive your funding for the CRRSA fund. I gave an example here of the budget period would be 4/1/2023 to 3/31/2023, which is not correct – 4/1/2021 to 3/31/2023. The first annual report will be due April 2022, and the final SF-425 due date will be due July 30th, 2023. I'm having a hard time seeing this.
OK. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The funds will be awarded on a supplement to the HE, HA, and HN grant, with the same budget and project period as CRRSAA, OK? So, they're going to be submitted as C6 subaccounts, something like what the C3 subaccount was to your CH grant. You're going to have two federal financial reports required at the same date as the CRRSA report. They'll have a budget period of 4/1/2021 to 3/31/2023 and one annual SF-425 due in April and one final due in July at the end of the budget period. OK. I'll pass it over to Heather.
Heather: Great. Thanks Lizette. And I think we just wanted to take a moment to see if there were any questions that continued to come in as we have gone through now and talked more about the reporting, the mechanics of how to apply, as well as uses of funds. So, I'm not sure … I know there's been some folks that have been monitoring the questions that have been coming in, and I'll ask our friends Kate and Sharon and Colleen, if you all have seen anything in particular that you wanted to point out or you think needs further clarification?
Colleen: This is Colleen. I'll just say I'm so excited to see all of the ideas and things that people are putting in the chat about what they're considering doing with the funding … I've seen a lot of exciting things about programs over the summer. A couple of questions related to that … I've seen people asking can you pay staff additional if they're working over the summer. And absolutely, we think this is a big benefit that it could be for staff that normally are laid off over the summer, or they're not working, so they're not getting paid. They'll absolutely be able to work and get paid for this additional work. Same thing that you can really get to think about, how you design the summer program is really up to what works in your community and what you need. I saw a couple of questions in the chat about, could it be for a different number of hours or a different number of days, and you run your regular Head Start program. So, maybe it wouldn't be "the full Head Start" that you would do over the year, and we absolutely understand that, that programs might look different over the summer, that something that's just a particular for a group of your kids, or for a shorter or a different number of hours just to really meet that pre-kindergarten or special service operations. So, I think you absolutely have that flexibility. We definitely have the flexibility to do things like temporary staff to support mental health of your families or specifically around economic mobility for families, really supporting that, supporting staff mental health, as well as transportation and some of those other services. So, we're really excited about that.
Heather: Great, and I think really this has been just a fantastic opportunity. Please continue to send in your questions. We are really encouraging you to reach out if you still have continued questions after today's webinar to reach out to your supports within the Regional Office that we can provide for their clarity if you still have questions. I know a little bit later today, as we mentioned, there's going to be a change to your page when you log into the Head Start Enterprise System, whereby you will be able to see that temporary grant added to your array of portfolios in the Head Start Enterprise System. So, again, look forward to that.
You will also be shortly receiving an e-blast through HSES when those become available providing further clarity on what's needed for submission of those applications. So, again, just … We really, really appreciate you and look forward to this opportunity to be able to meet these needs of children and families and trying to build back better. So, thank you all so much, and we really appreciate your time. Have a great day.Close
All Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership grantees are eligible to receive additional funds to continue responding to COVID-19. Each grantee may apply for a proportionate amount of the $250 million based on their total funded enrollment. Watch this webinar to learn more about available funds and how to apply.