COVID19 Response

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Delia Garza
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:20 am

COVID19 Response

Post by Delia Garza » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:10 am

Colleagues,

CM Kitchen mentioned in the thread about our next meeting the need for a briefing on our COVID19 response. I agree we need this briefing. At that briefing I think it’s also important to talk about the most efficient way to address the many requests for assistance we are each getting. I don’t think several different emergency IFCs about different requests is the most efficient way to quickly address many of these needs. For example, below is a request for assistance I have received regarding concerns from our child care community advocates. My hope is we can address these needs without an emergency IFC but if an IFC is necessary I’m ready to take the lead on this issue. I have forwarded the email to our Public Health Dept and the City Manager. I just want to make sure we are addressing these needs as quickly as possible and a discussion on how we do that to ensure we each aren’t duplicating efforts is important.

The child care request is here -

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to cause a major disruption in Austin and Travis County, many parents must still work, particularly those who serve our community as first responders, in health services, and in other essential roles. Child care centers and child care homes are on the front line of our response to this crisis, yet they are struggling to keep their doors open. Those that remain open are implementing significant health and safety precautions while carefully balancing their roles supporting working families, the health and safety of young children, and their own child care workers. We know that most of these programs are providing care and education for working families for whom remote work is not an option. But they can’t continue to operate without more support. Leaders around the country have made it clear that child care is essential to our country's response to this pandemic.
Austin and Travis County leaders have been integral in supporting the early childhood community and services described in the Success By 6 Strategic Plan. Thank you. Your support is now critical to ensure we can meet current needs as well as to protect the future supply of child care in our community. Recent data from the National Association for the Education of Young Children indicates that many child care centers and homes are not able to survive a closure of up to two weeks. For many, a temporary closure will be a permanent closure.
In recognition of the fundamental role that the child care system plays in the Austin/Travis County community in this unprecedented time, the Success By 6 Coalition Leadership Team seeks help from local government, nonprofit, and community partners for support in the following ways:
● Help child care providers source and purchase essential hygiene and health supplies required for child care centers to remain open, including: Thermometers with thermometer covers/sleeves or no touch thermometers, bleach, baby wipes, diapers, hand soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and toilet paper.
● Immediately cover the cost of child care for families of first responders and essential workers who are currently unable to pay tuition.
● Provide licensed child care centers and family homes emergency funding so they can keep their doors open.
● Use public funds to provide paid family and sick leave for child care provider staff.

I look forward to a productive discussion next week,

Delia
Mayor Pro Tem, District 2

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 163
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: COVID19 Response

Post by Ann Kitchen » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:10 am

Thank you Mayor Pro Tem for raising this issue.

Here are some ideas that I'd like to discuss together as part of the briefing:

1). What programs can the city staff fund and/or create immediately? As the Mayor Pro Tem identified, staff can take some actions immediately and that is likely the quickest response. Some actions though will take budget changes from Council. Should we consider a more blanket budget approval change now rather than later? (And let me say thank you! for all that the City Manager and staff have been doing to date)

2). Is there interest in creating Work Teams that council members and staff can choose to participate in? This would create forums for communication and sharing of information, ideas, and actions on specific issues. For example, I am interested in participating in a Work Team to meet virtually to address issues related to our elderly population. I would also be interested in a Work Team related to helping our homeless neighbors.

3). How can the Council best help our City Manager and staff? How can the Council help each other in responding to constituents with similar issues? As the Mayor Pro Team may be pointing out coordination and communication may help us ensure we are not duplicating work and best taking advantage of what council offices have to offer.

4). I am hoping the briefing will help us address at some level of depth the hard questions the community is asking, for example, related to testing, health care system, and small business resources among others.

Thank you all

Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

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