Dear Partners,

First 5 LA cares deeply for you and your health and safety during this time of increased public health concern surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are partners in our shared commitment to the future of Los Angeles County’s youngest children working collectively to ready them for success in school and life and to each other. First 5 LA strongly believes that among the efforts we can make to minimize the spread of this disease is to remain vigilantly informed and share with our partners the important steps we are implementing as an organization.

As news and reports on the COVID-19 coronavirus are updated and made available, we increasingly understand our connectedness and interdependency. There is no higher priority for First 5 LA than the safety and health of our staff, partners, and communities, particularly during this time of uncertainty. While this is a fast and ever-changing situation, our approach and decision making are based on planning not panic; facts not fear.

We know that many of you work with vulnerable populations, including young children and pregnant women, and we are particularly sensitive to the impact of this growing illness on those populations. The situation is rapidly evolving and new cases of infection are emerging in Los Angeles County and throughout the State. We can expect the number of infections identified to increase as testing becomes more prevalent throughout our communities.

For our partners: I am providing an update on First 5 LA’s decisions that will temporarily modify our work policies and work-related behaviors – all with the goal of prioritizing the health of our staff, partners, and communities that do important work for the young children and families of Los Angeles County.

Meetings and Large Gatherings

First 5 LA has set up new guidelines in regards to meetings to reduce the risk of community exposure and spread. We know many of you convene meetings to strengthen, plan, and inform our shared work as part of your contracts with us. First 5 LA does not expect our partners to continue holding these meetings as planned until the county authorities inform us it is safe to do so. We have updated our own meeting guidelines at First 5 LA and are sharing these guidelines to inform your own organizational planning:

  • Wherever, and when feasible, we will hold telephone/web-based meetings rather than in-person meetings.
  • We have suspended staff participation in community events of more than 50 people (our current recommendation for meeting size), provided there is space to accommodate the number of people up to 50 with recommended social distancing measures.This includes all First 5 LA event staff and contractors.

We will not hold any large gatherings at First 5 LA of more than 50 people until further notice. In addition, if participants are traveling from out of the area (non-L.A. County); gatherings will be modified to enable their participation via telephone or video conferencing rather than in person.

Contractual Impacts

We acknowledge that responding and adhering to public health guidance may impact your contracted scope of work, deliverables, and/or schedule that you have with First 5 LA. It may require you to re-prioritize tasks, adapt how you fulfill the current contracted scope of work, and/or conduct strategy meetings with your partners to address the current situation and plan for the next few months. We support you in these efforts and are working to develop interim processes and protocols to timely respond to your questions and requests. Please reach out directly to your program officer/project manager should you have questions and suggestions, as we are working to address emerging contingencies. We will be in communication with you in the next week to address questions to the extent we are able.

First 5 LA cares deeply about the health and safety of our staff, partners, and communities in addressing this pandemic. We are doing our best to adjust our protocols and approach in the context of this rapidly changing situation. We welcome your input and feedback and to uplift any new situations you may encounter. Information available through the L.A. County Department of Public Health provides both timely and local information that we are monitoring regularly.

We all have a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. Let’s be smart together – wash our hands, plan to limit contact in large groups, and seek medical care when you need it.


Kim Belshé