Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

PHELC Update - March 30, 2020

As the Coronavirus continues to affect our country, the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando County, Inc. (PHELC) is providing an update to the communities that we serve.

As we continue to live and work through this pandemic, there are many unknowns. I want to share with you that we have some amazing providers electing to stay open to help families that need to work. These heroes need to be heralded for their bravery and commitment to help people.  

Some providers have been criticized publicly for staying open during this pandemic. More than half of the parents requiring childcare would be considered first responders, or front line workforce, like early childcare providers.

We are also working with local businesses and community groups in an effort to assist providers that have elected to stay open with obtaining cleaning and infant/toddler supplies which have been drastically depleted in an effort to follow all of the CDC recommendations.  We have received a donation that will allow us to purchase some items for providers such as sanitizers and paper products. We’re hoping to help as many providers as possible during this time. If you can help, please email us at

The majority of Coalition staff are working remotely in an effort to practice social distancing as recommended by the CDC.  However, if you need to contact your provider specialist, all Coalition staff emails are on our website – – under the About Us tab.

Staff are routinely in contact with our providers including making daily calls to providers for emotional and programmatic support. They also share updates and answer any questions.  The Coalition is dedicated to having a positive attitude and is committed to helping our providers and families during this challenging time.

Stay strong, stay healthy, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and remain hopeful.  Thank you for your service!

Steve Knobl, Ph.D.

Executive Director

PHELC Update - March 16, 2020 


Dear Child Care Provider,

As we continue to monitor the progress of COVID-19, it becomes more critical that we continue to communicate with you and assure you have the answers you need protecting the health and well-being of your children, families, and staff.  It will be the intent of the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties (ELC) to send status reports via email, through social media and posting information on our website ( as new information becomes relevant to COVID-19. Please keep an eye out for these communications and feel free to reach out to us if you have additional questions.

At this point, you should have received the necessary correspondence from the ELC by the various health organizations providing guidance and best practices to keep the transmission of the virus to a minimum.  If you need that information again, to include signage and posters, please let us know.

There are many questions arising regarding child care center closures.  Last week’s email to providers very clearly stated the rules involved regarding closures.  The ELC is not an authority to make the decisions regarding closures.  The ELC does, however, have to follow the rules pertaining to provider payments.  In general, unless a provider is closed down by an authority (ie, Department of Health, Center for Disease Control etc…) the rules that were sent to you last week continue to apply.  At this point, even though the State of Florida has closed public schools, we have received no direction from any authority demanding closure to any child care centers. 

Should you have any questions regarding your licensing requirements or any modifications to the work you do in your center as you continue to function, please reach out to DCF for direction. Once again, our Coalition is not an authority to the functioning of your program and at this time, no changes have been mandated regarding payment process changes.  Should you decide to close for any reason, the ELC will require notification and documentation from you as it has in the past and will be obligated to pay or not pay you based on the rules of OEL.

Several providers have questioned the ability to change school-aged children from part-time status to full-time status now that schools have closed.  The Provider Services Portal does allow you the ability to make that status change in the system.  You will be required to upload the appropriate documentation into the attendance folder for each child to show they attend full-time.  Please contact your reimbursement specialist if you have any technical questions regarding making those status changes.

Finally, in an attempt to follow the lead of national, state and local officials to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, our Coalition will be conducting all business with providers and clients electronically and via telephone until further notice.  The Coalition has not been directed by any authority to close for any reason.  We do not intend for there to be any interruptions in service to our partnering providers or clients.  We are committed to providing great service and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available to us. 

Please feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Steve Knobl, Ph.D.

Executive Director

COVID-19 Resources for Families