LSF Follows School Districts Lead and Shuts Down Head Start Centers

Tampa, Fla. – 3/19/2020 We recognize the role LSF plays as a statewide nonprofit in helping families through the coronavirus pandemic. We serve more than 5,400 children and families each year in Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties through our Head Start and Early Head Start programs by working to close the achievement gap and serve the family as a whole.

Each of our classrooms are closed to in alignment with the school systems to children and families through at least April 15th due to coronavirus. However, our staff is still working. Our teachers and staff may not be in the classrooms, but they are still connecting with parents and serving as a resource. Our educational leaders are designing remote learning plans and strategizing around the challenges that brings for families without computers, the internet and food while they are out of the classrooms.

Most of the families we serve in Head Start are below the federal poverty line. As the situation around coronavirus evolves and the level of uncertainty continues to rise, we are looking for partners to help serve them as they face increased financial pressures and the challenge of educating their children while the Head Start program is closed through at least mid-April. While our program grant will allow us to continue paying our teachers, assistance for families must be donor funded.

“Our Head Start staff have reached out to parents to assess the challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19. Many are out of work due to business closures, shortage of hours or lack of childcare. This is an unprecedented challenge that requires communities to come together for solutions,” Bob Bialas, LSF EVP of Children and Head Start Services said.

The Head Start/ Early Head program works with low-income children between the ages of 6 weeks to 3-years-old to provide early learning. Through the program, children can enhance their development skills to be prepared for school and life. The program also provides health and mental support by monitoring behavior and providing daily health checks. In addition, the program benefits families by promoting family engagement; some activities include leadership, training, and goal setting.

To partner with us contact Jim Clark, Director of Community Relations at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

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Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

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