Tag Archives: California schools

Solano County schools ordered to stay closed this fall

Gov. Newsom orders California schools on watch list stay closed

SFGate, by Amy Graff, July 17, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Press Conference, July 17, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a Friday press briefing that schools in counties on the  watch list for more than 14 days open with distance learning. Counties would need to meet strict criteria for schools to offer in-class instruction.

This marks a change in what Newsom has said in the past with the state initially giving school districts the flexibility to reopen on their own timelines in consultation with local public health officials.

Newsom also said the new reopening guidelines for schools require teachers and students in third grade and above to wear masks. There’s also a new requirement to keep students six-feet-apart.

More than half of the state’s 58 counties are on the watch list including seven Bay Area counties — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara,  Solano  and Sonoma. Being on the list puts restrictions on the ability to reopen various segments of the economy.

The California Department of Public Health created the watch list to monitor counties that experience significant changes in COVID-19 infection rates, an increase in hospitalizations, outbreaks in congregate settings or a rise in community transmission at workplaces. Counties on the list are working with the state to identify the causes for any worrisome trends and next steps to mitigate the virus spread. The watch list is constantly changing based the latest data available from public health departments.

Several school districts have already said their schools will begin the new term virtually, including Los Angeles and San Diego, the state’s two largest, with a combined population of 720,000 K-12 students.

San Francisco Unified School District announced this week fall semester classes will begin August 17 via distance learning exclusively.

The news, sent in a letter by Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews, notes that the district eventually hopes to implement a “hybrid approach” to learning. This involves a combination of in-person classroom learning and virtual instruction, but only “when science and data suggest it is safe to do so.”

Administrators intend to release a plan detailing ways in which virtual learning can be improved in a meeting with the San Francisco Board of Education on July 28 at 3 p.m. The “most essential details” will be shared with parents the following day.

Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Bernardino are among the other districts opting not to immediately return to classrooms.

Some districts have said they aim to open with hybrid models. The Palo Alto Unified School District recently approved a plan for distancing learning for high school and middle school students and a return to classrooms for elementary school students. The Alum Rock district in San Jose said 90% of students will continue with online school while 10% will come to class. Students in foster care and with disabilities will be prioritized for on-site school.

The decisions were made amid growing concern by teachers and parents over the state’s surge of coronavirus cases and uncertainty surrounding the safety of both students and staff on campuses. The state this week reported its second-highest one-day totals in infection rates and deaths since the start of the pandemic and more than 7,200 have died.

Many small, rural communities argue they shouldn’t have to comply with the same rules as big cities where infection rates are higher. Thurmond indicated Wednesday that he agreed.

“We have some counties in this state where the number of cases is actually quite low,” Thurmond said. As long as schools in those counties follow state guidance on hand washing, six feet (1.8 meters) of spacing, maintaining physical distance and face coverings, Thurmond said, “we believe that those schools can open safely.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Reopening California: State to allow schools, pro sports, gyms, bars to begin resuming operations

Most of the new businesses are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s methodical four-step process for reopening.

ABC7 Bay Area News, June 5, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will allow schools, day camps, bars, gyms, campgrounds and professional sports to begin reopening with modifications starting next Friday.

The state will release guidance later Friday for counties to follow to reopen a broad range of businesses that have been closed since mid-March because of concerns about spreading the coronavirus, said Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency.

The rules on schools and day camps will apply statewide. But only counties that have met certain thresholds on the number of cases, testing and preparedness will be allowed to start reopening the other sectors. Almost all of the state’s 58 counties have met those metrics. The state’s guidance will also include rules on hotels, casinos, museums, zoos and aquariums and the resumption of music, film and television production.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has been moving the state through a methodical four-step process for reopening. Most of the new businesses are part of “Phase 3.” Nail salons will not be included in the list, Ghaly said.

When students return to classrooms, things could look vastly different. In addition to requirements for physical distancing, the state plans to supply every school and childcare center with no-touch thermometers, hand sanitizer, face shields for every teacher, cloth face coverings for staff and students and tight-fitting N-95 masks for health care professionals in schools.

California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, hair salons, churches, and retail stores with modifications.

Guidelines on how to reopen schools have been highly anticipated. The state cannot order schools to close, but it can offer guidelines for districts to follow around reopening. They have been closed since mid-March, when Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order, and developed distance-learning plans on the fly.

The idea of classes resuming in the fall is a relief for both teachers and parents, and raises new concerns about safety. Districts are also facing the prospects of billions of dollars in state budget cuts as the state scrambles to plug a deficit brought on by the virus.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said last week that he expects a “hybrid model” of instruction at schools, balancing traditional classes and distance learning to accommodate the need for physical distancing.

Leaders in the entertainment industry, meanwhile, have been brainstorming safe ways to get back to work since film, television and commercial production in Los Angeles shut down completely on March 20.

The Directors Guild enlisted “Contagion” director Steven Soderbergh to head a committee to determine when and how productions can resume in collaboration with epidemiologists and “sister guilds,” unions and employers.

Film, television and commercial production make up a significant amount of the Los Angeles economy. According to not-for-profit film office FilmLA, nearly 17% of the local workforce is tied to the industry, which has been out of commission for over two months now.

California’s coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain stable as the state moves toward a broader reopening. But the state is monitoring and preparing for a potential increase in cases due to broader reopening and mass protests across the state against racial injustice.

California has reported more than 122,000 coronavirus cases and more than 4,400 deaths.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia and death.

California Schools Supe Thurmond to release guide for reopening schools on Monday

Announcement, from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m., will be livestreamed, at facebook.com/CAEducation

California Department of Education press release, June 5, 2020

Dear Education Leaders and Stakeholders:

Release of Guidance Document and Upcoming Webinar

I am proud to announce that on Monday, June 8, the California Department of Education (CDE) will release our guidance document, “Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools.” We look forward to offering this guidance as a “how to” as you work with your local public health experts and school communities to navigate next steps and implement the recommendations we have provided.

We want to ensure you have the support you need as you review this guidance next week. You are invited to a special webinar to coincide with the release. In this webinar, CDE team members will walk through our document’s key tools and recommendations as well as answer your questions. Here is how to participate:

What: Webinar for local educational agency (LEA) leaders

When: 10 to 11 a.m., Monday, June 8

Register: This is an invitation-only webinar, and space is limited. A Zoom registration link will be provided later today.

We want to provide you with a partial view of what you can expect to find in the guidance document. The guidance will include some items we discussed at the all-LEA meeting we hosted on May 21, 2020, and that we have been discussing publicly and at stakeholder meetings over the course of the last few weeks. For example, the guidance document will include the following recommendations:

Face coverings: Students and staff should wear face coverings during all educational activities (at school or on a bus).
Physical distancing: Students and staff should engage in physical distancing (at least six feet of spacing between seats and in hallways and on buses) at all times.

Symptom screening: School districts should identify staff who can take temperatures for students and staff before they enter the campus.

CDE has heard from many LEAs that they may plan to provide some form of in-person instruction and distance learning. Our document will also provide in-depth considerations for designing high-quality and equitable instructional practices for all learners while arranging students and staff in the many new ways that will be needed in order to facilitate physical distancing guidelines.

We recognize that there are fiscal implications for schools to reopen safely with these physical distancing guidelines in place. LEAs will need steady revenue (for staffing and personal protective equipment)on which to rely and flexibility on instructional minutes. We are advocating for and have engaged in dialogue with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Finance, the Legislature, and educational stakeholders regarding the resources necessary to reopen safely with physical distancing measures in place.

Thank you for all you are doing to support the health, safety, and academic success of our students. I look forward to the next steps of our work together to implement this guidance safely.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

California Governor and Superintendent of Schools: Coronavirus will keep schools closed through academic year

Not a mandate, but likely…

Click on image to go to KCRA article – “California schools won’t reopen before end of academic year, Newsom says”
Click on image to go to Sacramento Bee article – “Coronavirus will keep California schools closed through academic year but learning will go on”