News

December 17, 2020

COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan for Pennsylvania

On December 11, 2020, the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and Pennsylvania Department of Health released a COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan for Pennsylvania (PDF). The goal of the interim COVID-19 vaccination plan is to provide a transparent strategy to vaccinate all Pennsylvanians who want to be vaccinated so that Pennsylvanians can return to everyday activities as quickly and safely as possible.

At this time, early childhood education professionals including teachers, school staff working directly with students, child care employees, and early intervention staff fall under the 1B category (page 14), defined as essential business personnel who cannot work remotely or maintain social distancing.

A variety of factors influence the distribution of vaccinations, including vaccine supply levels, number of critical personnel requiring the vaccine, and vaccine storage requirements. The vaccine supply is projected to increase quickly over the proceeding months, allowing vaccination efforts to be expanded to additional critical populations and the general public. It is important to note that recommendations on the various population groups to receive initial doses of the vaccine could change after the vaccine is available, depending on each vaccine’s characteristics, vaccine supply, disease epidemiology, and local community factors. The Pennsylvania Department of Health will follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) ACIP recommendations in identifying populations of focus.

More Resources for COVID-19

To best support these community members and the young children in their lives, Trying Together has created two resource lists, featuring helpful resources that families and educators can use to maneuver this difficult time.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Allegheny County Health DepartmentWorld Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

News

December 9, 2020

COVID-19: Resources for Parents and Caregivers

If you are a parent, caregiver, or family member living in Pennsylvania, it’s important to remain calm, prepare, and take precautionary measures to maintain the health and wellbeing of yourself, your family, and the community. Continue reading below for a brief overview of COVID-19 and a list of family and caregiver resources.

 


PA 2.1.1 Southwest

If you require assistance and would like to access an extensive list of family and caregiver resources, please call 2.1.1 or text your zip code to 898.211 to receive text alerts. For more information or to receive support, visit the 2.1.1 website.

PA 2.1.1 Southwest seeks to provide an easy-to-remember phone number and web resource for finding health and human services for everyday needs and in crisis situations, serving the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.


 

An Overview of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans. Because the virus impacts the respiratory system, common symptoms of infection include fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. However, WHO states that some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea. After being infected with COVID-19, individuals generally display mild symptoms that begin gradually, but some people who become infected may not develop any symptoms at all and may feel healthy.

To learn more about COVID-19 and the steps you can take to reduce your family’s risk of infection, read our recent news post. This post also includes information about what to do after infection, information on how it spreads, and links to several other organizations and entities that can provide more information.

Search for Child Care

If your family is in need of child care, visit the Allegheny Child Care website to search for programs in Allegheny County or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website to search for programs throughout Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS)

As of August 4, 2020, Pittsburgh Public Schools will resume online instruction for all students for the first nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19. However, the district has early plans for teachers and other staff to return to school buildings using a phased approach in October to begin planning for the eventual return of students to the classroom.  Return dates are still up for negotiation and have not been confirmed.

To learn more and for additional updates, visit the PPS website.

Meals for Schoolchildren

In partnership with local community organizations, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) will shift the distribution of Grab and Go meals to regional sites across the city. Open to all students, the locations were selected based on student participation during the first week of closure. Meals will be distributed between 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Multiple meals will be distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays. Visit the PPS website for a list of Grab and Go meal locations.

 


 

Resources

Information about COVID-19

Talking with Children

Prevention

After Infection

Impacts on Child Care, School, and Work

At-Home Activities

Fact Sheets and Guides

Informational Flyers

Recorded Webinars

Mental Health

Receiving Support

Multilingual Resources

Curated Lists

Contacts and Information

More Information

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

News

December 3, 2020

COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children, families, and early learning professionals have had to transition to new methods of work, play, interaction, and learning. To offer support, Trying Together is providing updates on the status of COVID-19, available resources, and more.

If you are interested in learning more about COVID-19, including information on symptoms, testing, and infection rates, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website. To view additional resources for families and early childhood professionals, please continue reading below.

 


 

COVID-19 Resources

To best support these community members and the young children in their lives, Trying Together has created two resource lists, featuring helpful resources that families and educators can use to maneuver this difficult time.

Guidance for Pennsylvanians

As of December 3, all Pennsylvania counties are in the green phase of reopening. In the green phase:

To view the full guidance on work, congregate setting, and social restrictions, please review Governor Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania.

Grab and Go Meals Available: Pittsburgh Public Schools

Breakfast and lunch Grab’N Go meals are available for parents and/or students to pick up at their designated schools between 7 – 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). For information about Grab’N Go Meal service sites and this month’s menu, visit the Pittsburgh Public Schools website.

 


 

What is COVID-19?

According to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), “COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans.” While this strain of coronavirus is new, coronaviruses are actually a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. While it is rare for animal coronaviruses to infect people who are exposed to infected animals, it has happened in the past as seen with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Symptoms

As COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, common symptoms of infection include fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. However, WHO states that some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea. After being infected with COVID-19, individuals generally display mild symptoms that begin gradually, but some people who become infected may not develop any symptoms at all and may feel healthy.

80 percent of the individuals who become infected recover from the disease without needing special treatment. However, one out of every six people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Elderly individuals, immunocompromised individuals, and individuals with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney diseases, hepatitis B, and cancer are particularly at risk of developing serious illness if infected with COVID-19. Because of this, it’s important to limit possible contamination and reduce the spread of the virus.

Currently, there are no vaccines or medications approved to prevent or treat COVID-19 and reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe cases, including illness resulting in death. However, possible vaccines and drug treatments are currently being investigated through clinical trials.

How It Spreads

COVID-19 spreads through person-to-person contact (within about six feet) or by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after coming into contact with surfaces that have been contaminated with respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. WHO states that “studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.”

The risk of getting infected by COVID-19 depends on where you are and if there is an outbreak currently happening in that area. Individuals living in or visiting cities or areas that are experiencing an outbreak have a higher risk of becoming infected. There is a higher risk of infection and serious complications for elderly individuals, immunocompromised individuals, and individuals with underlying medical conditions. With this, WHO states that it’s important to “comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement, or large gatherings” and to cooperate with disease control efforts to reduce your risk and potential spread.

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Currently, the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect both yourself and others against infection are to:

    • avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth;
    • if water and soap are not available, sanitize your hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol;
    • clean and disinfect commonly used items and frequently touched surfaces such as the items listed above with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following the label directions appropriately;
    • practice social distancing from others, especially avoiding individuals who are exhibiting symptoms, coughing, or sneezing;
    • wear a face mask when shopping at essential businesses, visiting your health care provider, on public transportation, interacting with others at essential business, and when feeling sick, coughing, or sneezing; and
    • comply with any local restrictions and recommendations on travel, movement, or large gatherings.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information on how to properly clean and disinfect the areas around you. While this resource is primarily intended for individuals and households with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, hygienic practices can help reduce the spread of the virus. Watch this video for proper handwashing techniques.

RESOURCE FOR AT-RISK INDIVIDUALS

The CDC also has a resource highlighting precautions and preparation tips for individuals at risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, such as elderly individuals, immunosuppressed individuals, and individuals with underlying medical conditions. Visit the CDC website to learn more. 

What to Do After Infection

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please stay at home and contact your primary care provider to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you are in Allegheny County, do not have a primary care provider, and are not sure if you need to be tested, please contact the Allegheny Health Department at 412.687.2243. If you need to seek immediate medical care, please call 911 or phone ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency department to ensure staff at these locations have time to prepare for your arrival.

If an infection is confirmed, health care professionals will assess whether the infected individual needs to be hospitalized or if they can be cared for at home in mandatory quarantine. If isolated at home, infected individuals will be monitored by staff from their local or state health department.

Until a healthcare provider says that you or the infected person can return to their normal activities, the CDC states that infected and potentially infected individuals should follow the following preventive measures:

    • stay at home except to get medical care (do not go to school, work, or public areas and avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxi services);
    • separate yourself from other people and animals in your home as much as possible, if possible;
    • if you must care for others or your pet while sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them and wear a face mask;
    • call ahead before visiting your doctor, as they need to take steps to prepare to reduce spread and exposure;
    • wear a face mask when you are around other people and animals; and
    • cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, followed immediately by washing your hands with soap and water or sanitizing with an alcohol-based sanitizer.

For a full list of COVID-19 resources, preventative measures, and precautions, visit the CDC website.

More Information

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Allegheny County Health DepartmentWorld Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

*Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionWorld Health Organization, and Allegheny County Health Department

News

Fifth Annual Healthy Schools Summit

Are you interested in translating research into action to create green and healthy schools? Join Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) on Thursday, December 3 for the Fifth Annual Healthy Schools Summit.

About

During this virtual conference, national, state, and local experts will tackle the following questions:

    • How are school stakeholders coming together to realize their shared goal for green, safe, and healthy schools for students and staff to return to?
    • How are school leaders translating public health research into action to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
    • What resources are available for educators, nurses, parents, and students to respond to existing and emerging school health needs?

For information on the Summit sessions, please see the list below or view the full Summit Agenda.

 


 

Morning Sessions

    • “From Research to Action and Knowledge to Practice”: Keynote Address
      by Tracy Enger, Program Manager, U.S Environmental Protection Agency
    • “Public Health Decision Making for School Leaders: A Panel Discussion”
      with panelists Dr. Farhad Ahmed (PA Dept of Health), Aimee Eckmann (Perkins + Will), Dr. Megan Freeman (Children’s Hospital), and Dr. Robert Scherrer (Allegheny Intermediate Unit
    • “Clearing the Air: Indoor Air Quality in the Time of COVID-19”: Expert Panel
      with panelists Nina Hwang (Green Seal), Al Pater (Riverview School District), Lynn Rose (Environmental Health Consultant), and Raj Setty (Setty & Associates)

Afternoon Sessions

    • “The Future of Green and Healthy Schools” Afternoon Address
      by Anisa Heming, Director, Center for Green Schools, US Green Building Council
    • Celebrating Five Years of Success through Our Healthy Schools Recognition Program: Virtual Awards Ceremony
      • Option A – Learning Through Pandemics Past: Bringing Public Health and Civics into the Classroom
      • Option B – “It’s Just a Cold” Navigating Student Health During COVID-19: Panel Discussion
      • Option C – Civic Engagement Through Climate Literacy

 


Registration

To register for the Summit, visit the Eventbrite page. For questions, please email Kara Rubio, Healthy Schools Manager at kara@womenforahealthyenvironment.org.

News

December 1, 2020

GivingTuesday 2020

Join Trying Together, your neighbors, and the global community on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in celebrating kindness, collaboration, and generosity. Join us in #GivingTogether this #GivingTuesday.

What Is GivingTuesday?

First established in 2012, GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. It’s also an opportunity for people to stand together in unity—to use their individual power of generosity to support and champion the organizations and causes they care about.

Why Should You Participate?

2020 has been a difficult year, and it has been especially difficult for our nation’s families. Due to job loss, financial strain, education challenges, and limited access to child care, families have been working tirelessly to make ends meet and support the learning and development of their children. However, they cannot do it alone.

That’s why Trying Together’s mission to reinforce the work of early childhood is more important than ever before. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trying Together has:

    • mobilized our advocates to ensure child care businesses receive the emergency funds they need to stay in business and provide services to families;
    • distributed critical health and safety supplies to early learning programs that serve essential workers and their families;
    • developed an online search tool to assist essential workers and families with quickly finding and choosing early learning programs that meet their needs;
    • created an online community for families to connect, discuss, and support one another in their care and education planning for the 2020-21 school year; and
    • curated comprehensive COVID-19 resource lists online, one of which is for families and caregivers and the other for early care and education professionals.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and after, Trying Together will continue to develop our programs, resources, and services to meet the needs of our communities. Will you join us in this work by showing your support on GivingTuesday?

What You Can Do

We all have gifts to give, and thanks to social media, online giving, mail, and phones, there are limitless ways to use your generosity to reinforce the early childhood field. For examples of how you can give this giving season, see the list below!

Submit A Donation

If you would like to support Trying Together’s work directly, consider submitting a financial donation! We appreciate donations of any size. However, for those looking for recommended amounts, Trying Together has identified the following tiers:

    • Early Childhood Supporter ($60)
    • Early Childhood Sustainer ($120)
    • Early Childhood Champion ($1,000)

Thanks to the generosity of Trying Together’s Board of Directors, all donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2,000. Help us secure these matched dollars by donating!

Share Your Story

When you think of a good teacher, who do you think of? Take time this GivingTuesday to thank that person via social media, phone, or email and let them know how their work has positively impacted your life or the life of your child.

SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Join the larger community in celebrating gratitude by posting your thank you message, picture, or video on social media using #GiveThanks or #GivingTogether.

    • Example: I’d like to say thank you to @amymiller for the wonderful work she’s been doing to support my child’s learning and healthy development! Ashton still can’t stop talking about the caterpillar craft he did last month! 🐛🦋 #GiveThanks #GivingTuesday

2. Set a goal for how many educators you’d like to thank this giving season and share it out on social media using #GiveThanks or #GivingTogether!

    • Example: This #GivingTuesday, I’m celebrating gratitude by thanking three early learning professionals who have had a positive impact on my life and child. Will you join me? #GiveThanks 📞💌

#GivingTuesday is on December 1 this year and to celebrate, I’d like to #GiveThanks to the early learning professionals who work tirelessly to make sure my child is safe, supported, and cared for. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Thank you!CLICK TO TWEET

PHONE OR EMAIL

If you have their phone number or email, contact your early learning professional and let them know how much you appreciate the work they do to support your family.

Share Our Fundraising Page

Another great way to support Trying Together is by sharing our fundraising page with your network. To help get you started, we have created a GivingTuesday Social Media Toolkit that features sample social media posts and more!

More Information

For questions, please contact Trying Together at info@tryingtogether.org.

News

November 17, 2020

Child Care Programs: Submit Your Experience

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is conducting a survey to gather information from the early childhood field to inform federal and state actions on child care. This survey is intended for early learning professionals.

About

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAEYC has been collecting survey responses from early learning professionals to convey the challenges child care programs are facing across states and settings. Data collected through this survey will be shared with policymakers to build a deeper understanding of the ongoing urgency of the challenges programs are facing.

Early childhood educators can answer the questions regardless of whether their child care program is open, closed, or somewhere in between, and regardless of what kind of child care program they work in, or what role they have there.

Take The Survey

To submit your experience, complete the online survey by November 22, 2020. NAEYC will select 10 respondents at random to receive a $50 gift card. Winners will be notified on December 18, 2020.

More Information

For more information, contact advocacy@naeyc.org.

News

November 16, 2020

DHS Warns of Potential Pandemic EBT Benefit Scam

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is warning of a possible scam concerning Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits and reminding Pennsylvanians to be skeptical of unsolicited or random calls or text messages about public-assistance programs – especially when the calls or text messages solicit personal information, such as Social Security numbers.

About

DHS is investigating a report of individuals receiving calls with pre-recorded messages advising them to expedite their P-EBT benefits issuance by providing their Social Security number and case record number. In the message, the speaker claims to be from a County Assistance Office (CAO).

DHS and other government agencies do not ask for information about P-EBT, SNAP, or any other public-assistance programs via unsolicited or random calls or texts, and Pennsylvanians should not reply to such a call or text or share any personal information if they are contacted in this way. If you or anyone you work with receive unsolicited or random calls or text messages telling you that you qualify for assistance and then asking for personal information, it is most likely a scam. Do not respond. Delete the message so you do not get caught in an identity theft scam.

Pennsylvanians who have questions about whether a call, text, letter, or other communication is legitimate should contact DHS’ Office of Income Maintenance. Clients in Philadelphia should call the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215.560.7226. Clients in all other counties can call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1.877.395.8930.

Apply for Benefits

Applications for the SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. All Pennsylvanians experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic, a lost job, or a change in income are strongly encouraged to apply and see if they qualify for assistance with food, health care, and other essential needs.

More Information

For more information, read the full press release. To learn about food assistance resources for people around Pennsylvania impacted by COVID-19 and the accompanying economic insecurity, visit the Department of Agriculture’s food security guide.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

News

November 10, 2020

Free COVID-19 Testing Available in McKeesport

If you or someone you know needs to get tested for COVID-19, free testing is available in McKeesport for people ages three years old or older. This is a drive-through testing site that utilizes self-administered tests. Insurance is not required, however, you must have an appointment.

About

Allegheny County is offering free COVID-19 testing, for ages three and up, at 455 Industry Road in McKeesport. Testing is available by appointment only and will be completed as a self-administered test in each individual’s car. Masks are required. Those who are unable to drive to the site can contact the COVID-19 Hotline at 1.888.856.2774 or 2.1.1 for additional testing options and resources.

For a demonstration of what to expect with self-administered testing, watch this video. If you know in advance that you will be unable to self-administer the test, contact the COVID-19 Hotline or 2.1.1 for other options to be tested.

Make An Appointment

Appointments can be scheduled online and by phone. To make a next-day appointment, please use the online registration site. Online appointments are accepted Sunday through Thursday for testing Monday through Friday.

To make an appointment by phone, call 412.209.2262. This line is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday appointments can be scheduled on Friday over the phone. Same-day appointments may be made, when available, by phone.

Location Closures

This testing location will be closed on the following dates:

    • Veterans Day (November 11, 2020)
    • Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 2020)
    • Day After Thanksgiving Day (November 27, 2020)

More Information

To view additional testing locations and for answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Allegheny County website.

Share this flyer with your network.

News

October 13, 2020

Essential Trauma-Informed Practices During COVID-19 Recovery

Are you interested in learning about essential trauma-informed practices you can use to support your students during the COVID-19 recovery? Join The Social Express on October 13 for their webinar, “Essential Trauma-Informed Practices During COVID-19 Recovery.”

About

During this webinar, presenters will explore the topic of trauma, the brain, and effective strategies to help teachers, students, and their families reach positive outcomes in school and at home. This webinar will be of particular interest to PreK-12 teachers; school and district leaders; special education leaders and specialists; guidance counselors; and school psychologists. Time for questions will be provided.

Registration

To register and learn more, visit the event webpage.

News

October 2, 2020

Dept. of Health Launches COVID Alert PA App

Would you like to receive alerts when you come into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Download the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s free COVID Alert PA App.

About

In the app, users report how they are feeling and whether they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If you report having symptoms, the app will provide information on what to do next. The tool also helps its users track their own symptoms within the app while also receiving public health information based on your responses.

COVID Alert PA protects your privacy and personal information. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information and will never collect, transmit, or store your personal information. Your account will remain completely anonymous. The app detects if users are in close contact with another app user using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which is the same technology your phone uses to connect to wireless headphones and other devices.

Download the App

To download the app, visit the Google Play Store or iPhone App Store. The app is available on Android phones running Android 6.0 and higher, and iPhones that support iOS 13.5 and higher. This app is not intended to be used by people under the age of 18 years old.

After you download the app, you can opt-in to receive alerts if you have had potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Getting timely alerts can help you get advice on how to help yourself and protect others. These alerts will reduce your likelihood of unknowingly spreading the virus to your friends, family, and community.

More Information

For more information, visit the PA Unites Against COVID webpage.