The 2021-2022 program year is the third program year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Head Start/Early Head Start monitoring processes have been adapted with the changing circumstances. Focus Area 1 and Focus Area 2 reviews took place virtually during the 2020-2021 program year, and CLASS reviews were suspended.
2021-2022 program year reviews will return to some sense of “normal,” and there are notable changes for programs anticipating a review. These changes are described in a July 27, 2021 Information Memorandum (IM) from the Office of Head Start (OHS).
First, Focus Area 1 reviews will take place virtually. This is not different. Focus Area 1 reviews were conducted virtually pre-COVID, during the pandemic, and will continue in that format. Focus Area 2 reviews will resume in-person, beginning in January 2022.
Whether participating in a Focus Area 1 or Focus Area 2 review, the impact of COVID – from budget to programmatic perspectives – will be discussed. As described in the July 27th IM from OHS, monitoring will include questions related to:
- Use of funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, and American Rescue Plan;
- Changes made to service delivery in the past 12 months;
- Service delivery model (e.g., in-person, virtual, hybrid); and
- How the program reflects the diversity of the community served, helping to address inequities exposed by the pandemic.
Further, CLASS reviews will resume during the 2021-2022 program year. CLASS reviews, as with Focus Area 2 reviews, will be conducted in-person, as local circumstances allow. Keep in mind that new quality and competitive thresholds for CLASS were established in August 2020 as part of a Final Rule detailing changes to DRS.
Preparing for a federal review is an important step to mitigate risk in the program and help ensure a successful outcome from the monitoring process. Monitoring reviews are an opportunity to demonstrate your program’s effectiveness in implementing a high-quality program. Engaging in a planned process for preparation will allow your program to identify and address any potential issues in advance of your program’s review.
Foundations for Families’ Consulting Services include Federal Review Preparation. Our team of consultants is highly skilled at implementing services remotely and would be glad to assist your program in areas where you need support. Please contact us to learn more about our services.
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