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2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR VPK PROGRAM OPTIONS

August 24, 2020

The Office of Early Learning (OEL) of the Department of Education has announced the approval of flexible instructional options for private providers participating in the 2020-2021 School Year VPK Program. The VPK “Flex” Program allows flexible VPK programming to be delivered as an option to the traditional, face-to-face VPK classroom setting.
This option, as well as the option for providers to delay the start of their VPK programs, are a means for providers to meet the differing needs of the families in our communities.
The VPK Flex option must align with the Public-School Districts’ approved reopening plan. Both Miami-Dade County and Monroe County Public Schools have been approved to offer a flexible option to K-12 students, so this means that private VPK providers in those counties are allowed to offer a flexible option as well.
We anticipate guidance and application instructions will be released to private providers on August 26, 2020.  In addition, OEL is scheduling a series of webinars next week to provide additional information and to answer questions from providers. As soon as the webinar schedule is finalized, we will distribute the information to everyone. Please continue to visit our website, our social media platforms and the Provider Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/EarlyLearningPartners/ for frequent updates.
Many of you had questions from our weekly provider call that was held on August 19 and we are providing responses to the most frequent ones related to VPK. You can find the questions and answers below.
Frequently Asked Questions
from the August 19, 2020
Early Care and Education Partners Weekly Meeting
What options are available to deliver VPK for the 2020-21 Program Year?
Traditional (face-to-face) and VPK Flex
What is VPK "Flex"?
VPK Flex is an added feature to in-person instruction, but not a replacement. The goals are to allow VPK parents to have the same choice as the K-12 district plan and to allow parents to rejoin the workforce and structure safeguards that will encourage and shift families to in-person learning.
Can both VPK Flex and traditional face-to-face VPK be provided at the same time?
No, two separate classes will have to be created on the VPK-APP. The center's VPK Flex plan must be consistent with the district's reopening plan. 
What is the maximum number of hours allowed for VPK Flex?
270 hours
When can programs begin their traditional VPK classes?
Programs can begin their traditional VPK class on the date entered on their approved contract. 
When can programs begin their VPK Flex classes?
Programs can begin VPK Flex after their assurances have been approved and the necessary changes have been made on the VPK-APP.
What are the requirements to provide VPK Flex?
In order to qualify a provider must:
  • be in good standing with the Statewide VPK Provider Contract,
  • not have any Class 1 violations within the past two years and
  • not have had contract with the Early Learning Coalition terminated for cause within the past five years.
  • submit their assurances in order to be approved 
When will we receive the Assurances?
The proposed release date is August 26, 2020. 
Are four children required to begin a VPK class?
Yes.
What is the maximum number of children allowed to be in a traditional VPK classroom? In a VPK Flex classroom?
For traditional VPK classrooms, you must follow county ordinance. In Miami-Dade County, the maximum number of children allowed in a group is 10. For VPK Flex there have been no statutory or rule requirement changes to VPK ratios. They remain 1:11 or 2:20; teachers to children.  
What happens to children enrolled in VPK Flex at the end of this year? Are they allowed to roll-over to the traditional VPK class to complete their hours?
VPK Flex is approved until December 31st. The remainder of the school year will be completed face-to-face. 
Are masks required in the VPK classroom?
In Miami-Dade, the Mayor's Executive Order requires masks for all children over the age of two years. The mandate in Monroe County is for children ages six and older. However, it is recommended for all children over the age of two to wear masks in Monroe County as well.
VPK Flex FAQ