This post is being updated regularly as we receive new information. It was last updated on June 5 at 4:25 p.m.

EdSource is tracking the impact of the coronavirus on all aspects of education in California. See below for the latest developments compiled by EdSource staff. Click here for the latest EdSource reports on the pandemic.

Friday, June 5, 4:25 p.m. Summary of California Department of Education guidance on reopening schools includes recommended safety measures

Students, teachers and staff on campuses and school buses should wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and have their temperature taken every day when they arrive on campus, according to a summary of California Department of Education guidance scheduled to be released tomorrow.

The two-page summary sent to education leaders Friday afternoon announced the release of the entire guidance document, “Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools,” on Monday morning.

It will offer recommendations to schools as they decide how to reopen safely next fall.

Districts have been awaiting guidance from the governor’s office and the California Department of Education, but their school boards will decide independently whether students will return to school, continue online learning or do a little of both next school year.

“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,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in Friday’s letter. “We want to ensure sure you have the support you need as you review this guidance next week.”

The department offered no additional specifics about the plan except to say that takes in consideration the fact many districts are considering a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning. The letter promises recommendations for designing high-quality, equitable instruction for all learners while implementing social distancing on campus.

The letter also invited education leaders to a webinar at 10 a.m. Monday. A public press conference will be held on Facebook at 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. to explain the document. — Diana Lambert


Friday, June 5, 2:15 p.m. Governor affirms commitment to distributing CARES Act funding to neediest students, expresses support for juvenile justice reforms, and pledges masks for educators and child care workers

Gov. Newsom said during his news briefing Friday that he stands by his budget proposal to distribute $4.4 billion in CARES Act funding to schools based on a Local Control Formula Funding formula that prioritize districts with high percentages of low-income students – who are largely “black and brown” – as well as English learners. He said he would reject any proposal by the state Legislature that dilutes this funding in an attempt to distribute it more “equally” to all districts because he want to focus instead on “equity.” “I won’t budge on that budget proposal,” he said. “We have to do more and do better.”

Newsom cited the achievement gap as a core reason for his funding priority, citing recent research showing that learning loss due to Covid-19 is estimated to amount to 10.3 months for black students and more than one year for low-income students, compared to seven months on average for all students nationwide.

He also said he has proposed eliminating the Department of Juvenile Justice to instead focus on probation, rehabilitation and higher education opportunities for youth offenders. In addition, Newsom said state leaders should discuss affirmative action and “study more broadly what that means.”

And as portions of the state begin to reopen, Newsom said he is prioritizing the distribution of masks to sectors including the public education and child care systems to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, June 4, 11:44 a.m. California pediatricians urge schools to reopen despite coronavirus risk 

The harmful affects of keeping school campuses closed outweigh the health risks posed by coronavirus, the Southern California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“The negative effects of missing in-person educational time as children experience prolonged periods of isolation and lack of instruction is clear,” the statement says. “Children rely on schools for multiple needs, including but not limited to education, nutrition, physical activity, socialization, and mental health. Special populations of students receive services for disabilities and other conditions that are virtually impossible to deliver online. Prolonging a meaningful return to in-person education would result in hundreds of thousands of children in Los Angeles County being at risk for worsening academic, developmental and health outcomes.”

The group advised districts to adopt flexible protocols for reopening, tailored to students’ ages and needs. — Carolyn Jones


Wednesday, June 3, 11:38 a.m. L.A. Unified superintendent details challenges of reopening schools

Before schools in Los Angeles Unified can reopen, there needs to be sufficient coronavirus testing available for staff and students as well as robust contact tracing, Superintendent Austin Beutner reiterated in a televised speech. Beutner said it should be up to health officials, not schools, to administer the testing and develop the contact tracing.

Beutner also said that if schools reopen, there could be “hybrid” schedules in place, with some students in classrooms and other students learning from home. Those students would switch places depending on the day.

To highlight the complexities of safely returning to schools, Beutner pointed to Topanga Elementary, which is located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The school has 315 students and staff who live across 15 zip codes. They collectively have 53 siblings and other family members who are enrolled in an additional 10 schools across the district that have more than 8,000 combined students and staff.

The 8,418 people in these 11 schools go home to another maybe 20,000 people. Those in school at Topanga Canyon Elementary are connected to almost 30,000 people in their school community,” Beutner said. “… Schools need to plan for fewer student interactions with each other and with staff and fewer interactions between staff and with families. Scientists tell us this will also help identify and isolate those who do contract the virus to keep it from spreading further.” — Michael Burke


Wednesday, June 3, 9:30 a.m. College Board postpones at-home online SAT exam

The College Board, which. is the organization that administers the SAT exam, announced Tuesday that it would postpone offering an at-home SAT exam this year.

“The College Board will pause on offering an at-home SAT this year because taking it would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet for each student, which can’t be guaranteed for all,” according to a statement from the organization. “The College Board will continue to develop remote proctoring capabilities to make at-home SAT possible in the future. It will also continue to deliver the SAT online in some schools but will not introduce the stress that could result from extended at-home testing in an already disrupted admissions season.” — Ashley A. Smith


Monday, June 1, 2 p.m. Governor and pastor say country is facing two pandemics: Covid-19 and racism; governor calls on moral leaders including teachers to help change hearts, minds and culture

In response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests throughout the state and nation, Gov. Newsom and Tecoy Porter, senior pastor of the Genesis Church in Sacramento, said the country is facing a “double pandemic.” The first is the coronavirus, they said. And the second is racism.

Newsom said that too often in the past, leaders have addressed similar incidents with rhetoric and a feigned resolve to create a new paradigm. But when things don’t change and history repeats itself over and over again, it becomes clear that the past ways of addressing systemic racism have not worked.

Newsom said he could put together a task force and promise a few pieces of legislation, but he knows that would not be good enough. “You’ve got to change hearts, minds, and culture,” he said, “not just laws.”

“We need moral leaders now more than ever who have the capacity to lead by example, to find our better angels, and focus on things that unite us, not divide us,” he said. Besides elected leaders, church leaders and community leaders, he called on teachers to also step forward as moral leaders in their schools.

“That kind or leadership is desperately needed in this nation,” he said. And while he promised to quell the violence that has erupted throughout the state, he said it is also important “to address the foundational issues that led to the violence in the first place.” — Theresa Harrington


Monday, June 1, 10:30 a.m. California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to answer questions about executive order suspending testing for teachers

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is hosting an informational webinar at 2 p.m. June 1 on the executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom Saturday that suspends testing for teachers impacted by the coronavirus.

The order allows eligible teacher candidates to earn preliminary credentials without taking either the California Teaching Performance Assessment or the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment. It also allows students to enter teacher preparation programs without passing the California Basic Education Skills Test and teacher candidates to enter internship programs without passing required tests in the California Subject Examinations for Teachers because testing centers were closed.

Click on the link to join the webinar. — Diana Lambert


Saturday, May 30, 4 p.m. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis school board moves to terminate city police contract, CTA leader calls for an end to institutional racism

As protests erupt around the country in response to the death of George Floyd, educators are reacting with outrage and confirming their commitment to eliminating racism.

The Minneapolis school board plans to vote Tuesday on a resolutionto terminate the district’s contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for school resource officers, halt future negotiations with the department, and direct district staff to come up with a new plan to better serve students by Aug. 18.

“While our school board does not have the ability or authority to arrest and prosecute the officers who murdered George Floyd, we do have the ability to send MPD a very clear message,” board member Josh Pauly tweeted May 29, adding that he wrote the resolution with the support of Chair Kim Ellison and director Siad Ali.

The resolution says the police contract does not align with the priorities of the district’s equity and social emotional learning goals,” which include “identifying and correcting practices and policies that perpetuate the achievement gap and institutional racism in all forms in order to provide all of its students with the opportunity to succeed.” The district is striving to eliminate bias, “particularly racism and cultural bias, as factors affecting student achievement and learning experiences, and to promote learning and work environments that welcome, respect and value diversity,” according to the resolution.

Expressing similar values, California Teachers Association president Toby Boyd issued a statement Saturday saying that “the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor demand that we, as educators and Americans, recognize and confront the institutional racism that exists in our systems and structures.”

Boyd called on educators and all Americans “to work to abolish racism on a personal, structural, and institutional level beginning in our schools and colleges,” confronting it “for the sake of a fair, just, and equitable future for all students.”

The spread of the coronavirus throughout the country over the past 11 weeks, he said, has “shined a light on the divide,” showing that “black students and educators experience schools, the police, and this pandemic very differently than our white students and educators. Saying #BlackLivesMatter isn’t enough.” — Theresa Harrington


Saturday, May 30, 2:20 p.m. Joint statement from superintendents of Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified says proposed state budget does not provide enough funding to safely reopen schools

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten have issued a joint statement that suggests schools may not be able to reopen without more state funding.

“Reopening schools is integral to the future well-being of our students as well as restarting the economy,” said the statement, issued May 29. “However, opening our schools will not be as easy as separating desks or placing pieces of tape on the floor. We will need to ensure the safety and well-being of all in our school community – students, staff and families. Facilities will need to be reconfigured and supplies purchased to sanitize schools on a regular basis. Personal protective equipment will need to be provided to students and staff. More teachers and staff will be needed to do this extra work in schools and to provide both in school and online learning programs. And State authorities have to provide the funding for all of these necessary pieces.

“The proposed 2020-21 state budget does not provide the necessary funding to safely reopen schools. And the Governor’s proposed cuts for public education in the May Revise to the 2020-21 state budget come at a time when schools are being asked to do more – not less – to deliver a quality education for students.

“Public health authorities must solve some very real issues for the safe return of our school community. For example, our two school districts employ about 90,000 people and serve approximately 825,000 students who live with another couple million people. A robust system of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will need to be in place before we can consider re-opening schools. Local health authorities, not school districts, have to lead the way on testing, contact tracing and a clear set of protocols on how to respond to any occurrence of the virus.” — Theresa Harrington


Saturday, May 30, 10:20 a.m. Governor signs executive easing restrictions on child care for essential workers and on teacher credential testing requirements

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that waives certain requirements that restrict child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential workers and that also allows people enrolled in teacher preparation programs during the 2019-20 school year to obtain their preliminary credential without a teaching performance assessment, if they were unable to complete that requirement due to a Covid-19 school closure.

“There remains an increased need for child care for families who may not have previously needed child care, or who may now require additional hours of child care,” the order signed May 29 states. It also notes that “individuals seeking to obtain teacher credentials have been unable to meet certain credentialing requirements, and it is necessary to provide flexibility to minimize the impacts to these individuals and the state’s supply of qualified teachers, while maintaining high teacher credentialing standards.”

Under the order, people otherwise eligible to obtain certain teaching or education specialist credentials or to enroll in teacher preparation programs are permitted to do so without passing certain assessments, if testing was suspended due to the statewide stay-at-home order. — Theresa Harrington


Friday, May 29, 2 p.m. Governor says school reopening guidance is coming soon, but local officials will decide when to open campuses

Acknowledging that the state has created draft guidance for reopening schools, Gov. Newsom said during his news briefing that it is still being finalized and is expected to be released soon. He said state officials want to make sure the guidance is appropriate and are stressing the importance of protective gear such as face masks for all employees – including teachers, custodial staff, principals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and maintenance crew members.

Newsom said state guidelines explain how businesses and schools can reopen, but do not say when they should open. It is up to county and other local officials to determine their own timeframes, he said.

The governor also said state officials are continuing to work with Congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the passage of the HEROES Act, which would provide additional revenues to states to protect heroes, including teachers and nurses.  — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, May 28, 4:45 p.m. The California Education Coalition, made up of unions and school administration associations, say schools can’t open safely with proposed budget cuts

Representatives from California teachers and employee unions, and associations representing school boards and school administrators, all agree on one thing — schools can’t reopen safely with the funding proposed in the state’s May budget revision.

California schools are facing a $19 billion reduction in funding from that proposed in the January budget, said Sara Bachez, chief governmental relations officer for the California Association of School Business Officials.

This could result in schools laying off an estimated 58,000 teachers, 125,000 classified employees and could increase class sizes by 19 percent, Bachez said.

“The deep cuts to public education will stand in the way of preparing our schools for the safe return of students and our educators, and it’s going to further prolong the economic recovery since this pandemic,” said E. Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Association.

He and other members of the California Education Coalition, a group of nine statewide associations that advocate for education, urged state legislators to reject the proposed budget cuts to education and to prioritize funding for schools in a video press conference Thursday.

State lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom have until June 15 to negotiate and pass a budget.

Schools need more money to bring students back to school during the pandemic, not less, said Jeff Frietas, president of the California Federation of Teachers.

“Until we have a vaccine, there are many steps to safely reopen schools in person,” he said. “We must continue social distancing. We need to provide personal protective equipment. We need to clean. We need clean and safe environments. This all means smaller class sizes, which can only happen with more teachers. It means more bus runs, which can only happen with more bus drivers and buses. It means more cleaning, which can only happen with more custodians and cleaning supplies. It means more nurses and psychologists to help the physical and mental health concerns of our students.” — Diana Lambert


Saturday, May 23, 10:00 a.m. California schools could be used as safe voting sites this fall

Schools in California could be used as in-person voting sites for this fall’s elections. State election officials in a letter to lawmakers this week asked them to consider closing schools around election day to allow for gymnasiums and auditoriums to be used for voting, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Joe Holland, president of the California Association of Clerks and Elected Officials, told the Times that using those spaces could allow voters to follow guidelines meant to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, such as physical distancing. “Schools have facilities that are big enough to accommodate in-person voting with the COVID-19 environment that we have to deal with,” Holland said.

Earlier this month, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order requiring election officials across the state to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters before the general election in November. Still, voters would have the option of voting in person.

Friday, May 22, 6:15 p.m. Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks speaks at Skyline High’s virtual graduation in Oakland Unified 

Courtesy of Oakland Unified

Actor Tom Hanks, who graduated from Skyline High in Oakland Unified, delivers a commencement address for the class of 2020’s virtual graduation.

Courtesy of Oakland Unified

Tom Hanks’ Skyline High senior portrait, 1974.

Graduates in the Class of 2020 at Skyline High School in Oakland Unified got a big surprise during their virtual graduation ceremony when they heard an inspirational message from guest speaker actor Tom Hanks, who graduated from the school in 1974 and is its most famous alum. This was the first of several virtual graduation ceremonies to be held for Oakland Unified high school seniors over the next two weeks.

“Somewhere out of the fate of every high-schooler, you guys were picked to graduate this year – in the year 2020 – to start off this next chapter of your lives in the face and in the midst of so much change,” Hanks said in his pre-recorded message. “Good luck to you. I’d like to think that just as Skyline High School provided me with a direction and an instinct to follow, the same has happened for you.”

He congratulated the graduates for “having gotten through these years of struggle,” which he predicted would “lead ultimately to the triumph as you pursue your heart’s desire.” Urging them to follow their instincts, he added: “Always understand that you have been chosen by fate to lead the way in whatever our post-pandemic world is going to be. Make it a great one, would you? We’re all relying on you.”

Finally, Hanks proudly let the grads know he is one them, saying: “Let us all be a part of the grand group that is called ‘the alumni of Skyline High School.’” — Theresa Harrington


Friday, May 22, 1:50 p.m. Governor calls reopening schools a ‘bottom up’ process, promises guidance for summer camps and summer school in next week

Acknowledging that many children – including his own – have been asking about summer camp and summer school options, Gov. Newsom said the state expects to issue guidance in the next week about how those programs could safely open. However, like school reopening in the fall, he said decisions to open summer schools and summer camps should be made regionally, based on input from public health officials.

Before releasing the summer school an summer camp guidance, he said the state is working to “make sure it’s an inclusive process” so that people are comfortable with it and there are “no big surprises.” As the state begins to open other businesses with modifications, Newsom said he hopes schools will also be able to open “in a safe and responsible way” that protects teachers, support staff, students and parents.

To plan for schools reopening, Newsom said he has been working with teachers’ union officials, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond and others to create a “bottom up” process instead of one that is “top down.” The guidance to be released later for schools reopening in the fall, he said, will include “flexibility required to address learning loss and to address the disruption of the school year.”

Newsom also affirmed the principle of local control of schools. “We have over a thousand school districts in the state of California, independently led, with a deep appreciation and recognition that localism is profound as much as it is pronounced. The LCFF process that was developed under the previous administration went very specifically to this framework, and advanced that cause I think in an appropriate way.” — Theresa Harrington

Audio Clip: Gov. Newsom addresses summer programs, and new guidance for schools expected next week during his daily briefing on May 22, 2020


Thursday, May 21, 12:45 p.m. State schools chief  Tony Thurmond says state guidance on opening schools is on the way

Schools could open next fall with a variety of different learning models, including a blend of distance and in-person instruction or with more classes held outside, according to Stephanie Gregson, chief deputy superintendent of public instruction at the California Department of Education.

Gregson mentioned some of the ideas being considered by the task force that is developing guidance on safely reopening schools during a webinar Thursday, but offered little new information. The guidance is expected to be ready in the coming days, she said.

A teacher, superintendent, union leader, government official and public health officer participated in the webinar, billed as     “A discussion on the safe re-opening of California schools.”

Speakers expressed concerns about continuing distance learning, laying off teachers and support staff in order to balance budgets, and the need for additional nurses and counselors to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

“Our focus today is to share with you what we have been learning in our task force in how to safely reopen schools,” Thurmond said.

The superintendent also talked about budget shortfalls and the need for additional federal funding. He asked district leaders watching the webinar to share their plans for reopening schools with the department. — Diana Lambert


Wednesday, May 20, 12:05 p.m. UC regents choose new UC Merced chancellor, a Houston university president with California roots

UC Merced, the University of California’s youngest campus and one with special emphasis on educating students who are first in their families to attend college, will next be led by the son of a California farmworker who is now president of a Texas university.

The UC Regents on Wednesday voted to select Juan Sánchez Muñoz, who has headed University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) since 2017, as UC Merced’s fourth chancellor. Muñoz, who is to take over in early July and will be paid $425,000 a year, faces challenges in dealing with the current pandemic’s effects on the campus’ academic programs and budget.

Regents chairman John A. Pérez said that Muñoz’s personal story is one that “will give tremendous reinforcement to the hopes and dreams of our students.” He noted that Muñoz’s father at one point picked grapes in the Merced area.

Juan Sánchez Muñoz

Muñoz has strong California roots, having earned a bachelor’s degree at UC Santa Barbara, a master’s at Cal State Los Angeles and a doctorate in urban education at UCLA. A U.S. Marines veteran, he taught in the secondary education program at CSU Fullerton. At UHD, he helped lead increases in enrollment and graduation rates, conducted the school’s largest fundraising campaign and presided over recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey, according to UC officials.

UC Merced opened to undergraduates in 2005 and now enrolls 8,800 students, with plans for a doubling in coming decades. Three-quarters of those students are in the first generation of their families to attend college, the highest rate among UC’s nine undergraduate campuses. Its previous chancellor, Dorothy Leland, retired in August 2019 and since then the campus’ interim chancellor has been Nathan Brostrom, who will now return to his previous job as the UC system’s chief financial officer. — Larry Gordon


Wednesday, May 20, 11:25 a.m. Oakland campaign to raise $12.5 million to close digital divide reaches goal with $700,000 contribution from Zynga founder

A campaign to raise $12.5 million to help provide computers and internet access to Oakland students reached its goal within days after the founder of Zynga contributed the final $700,000 needed. This was on the heels of a $10 million donation last week by Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey to the “Oakland Undivided” campaign.

“The program created by OUSD and the city of Oakland will play a critical role in allowing students to be connected and develop the critical skills they will need to succeed and make a positive impact on the world,” said Mark Pincus, founder of the San Francisco-based online gaming company Zynga. “I was inspired by how quickly and generously Jack responded and I was excited to be able to complete the first phase of the program.”

Like Dorsey, Pincus tweeted his support in respose to a Tweet from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. The money raised so far will help provide computers and internet access to all students who need them in Oakland Unified and in city charter schools for the coming school year.

However, the campaign is now embarking on a second phase of fundraising to continue providing computers and internet access to students every year, at an annual cost of about $4 million. In addition, the campaign would like to raise funds to improve internet access for residents citywide, technology for teachers and to provide computers to seniors graduating from high school for use in college. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, May 19, 6:25 p.m. Oakland voters to decide in November whether to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections

In response to a proposal by student leaders in Oakland Unified, the Oakland City Council unanimously agreed to ask voters in November to approve an amendment to the city charter that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in Oakland Unified school board elections. The students, along with youth advocates, argued that they should be able to vote for the elected representatives who make decisions that directly affect them and cited research that showed giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote creates lifelong, habitual voters, increases voter turnout, and influences their parents by making them more likely to vote.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also poised to place a similar initiative on the November ballot that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in all municipal elections. In 2016, Berkeley voters passed an initiative giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in school board elections. Voters in four Maryland cities allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in all their municipal elections.

Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who sponsored the city proposal, urged advocates to reach out to other Bay Area cities to promote this idea. “This is another opportunity for Oakland to lead in a way that is about opportunity and inclusion,” she said.

If approved, the Oakland measure would go into effect for 2022 school board elections. More information is at http://www.oaklandyouthvote.org/. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, May 19, 5:23 p.m. LA schools unlikely to reopen on time this fall with reduced budget, official says

It is “not realistic” to expect schools in Los Angeles Unified to open on time this fall if the district’s budget is reduced, Deputy Supt. Megan Reilly said during a school board meeting Tuesday. “We cannot in good conscience risk the health and safety of our students and staff by returning to the classroom prematurely,”she added.

Reilly’s comments come after LA Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner and five other superintendents of urban school districts said in a letter to legislative leaders Monday that funding cuts proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in his revised budget would result in the reopening of schools being delayed.

Newsom’s revised budget proposed a 10% cut to general funding for school districts. For LA Unified, that would mean a cut of about $500 million. But the superintendents wrote in the letter Monday that it will cost more, not less, to reopen schools for in-person classes, due to increased costs for sanitation, personal protective equipment, more staff and efforts to recover lost learning. — Michael Burke


Tuesday, May 19, 1 p.m. UC unions contend layoffs can be avoided by tapping investment funds. 

The University of California should spend more of its gigantic endowment funds and other investment reserves to avoid layoffs and educational cuts possibly triggered by a drop in state revenues related to the coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of employee labor unions urged Tuesday.

The ten-campus university and its five medical centers should tap the “overall strong financial standing and reserves to avoid austerity measures,” AFSCME 3299 research director Claudia Preparata said during an online presentation. UC could use several billion dollars from various funds if needed and possibly borrow more to cover the 10% reduction in state support recently proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to cover the large spending spike caused by the pandemic, she said.

AFSCME 3299 is the largest union in UC, representing 27,000 service workers, patient care technical workers, craftsmen and others. It was joined in the coalition statement by other unions, including those representing nurses, medical interns and residents and lecturers. The university has not announced any layoffs and the union is seen as trying to get ahead of any such move.

A statement released Tuesday from the UC’s president’s office said: “We will be happy to discuss with the union coalition their
presentation and claims once we have had an opportunity to carefully review them.” The UC system will assess possibly drawing on some of its capital resources or borrowing funds, the statement noted. Meanwhile, UC officials touted other austerity measures such as 10% pay cuts for the president and campus chancellors and salary freezes
for non- unionized staff.

The UC Regents are meeting this week to discuss, among other things, financial responses to the health emergency and the governor’s plan. Larry Gordon 


Monday, May 18, 6:50 p.m. California community colleges expect more students even with online classes.

The chancellor of the California Community Colleges said Monday that he was encouraging all 114 campuses to keep classes online in the fall but said he still thought that enrollment would increase as unemployed people seek retraining during the pandemic.

“Displaced Californians are going to come to community colleges to improve their lives. So we’ve got to advocate that we get every resource to help that happen,” Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said during the statewide Board of Governors meeting, which was held online. He said he would advocate strongly to reverse some of the budget cuts recently proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to cope with declining tax revenues caused by the health emergency.

Some of the state’s 72 community college districts, which are making decisions on the matter, have decided to remain online unless the health situation improves significantly in the fall. Oakley said he encourages all to stay with fully online learning since he said it “will be the most relevant way for us to continue to reach our students.” But he said that colleges will need to get better and quicker data on how many students are continuing in the classes and how well they are succeeding, particularly low-income students and some minorities.

Community colleges also need to expand the efficiencies of online by eliminating travel expenses for meetings, according to Oakley. “This Covid-19 crisis has forced us to innovate on a scale we did not think was imaginable,” he said. Larry Gordon


Monday, May 18, 4:30 p.m. Student-led virtual support group slated for May 21

California students from diverse backgrounds will lead a support group for their peers on May 21, sharing personal stories about distance learning, staying in touch with friends and handling anxiety, depression and other challenges during the school closures. Hosted by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the panel will be the first of a series of virtual support groups aimed at students. It will also include a presentation from the California Department of Education on how students can improve their mental health during the school closures. The panel will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on the Department of Education’s Facebook page. — Carolyn Jones


Sunday, May 17. Marin County to open one classroom for special education students this week

The Marin County Office of Education will open up one classroom at a middle school in Novato to serve a dozen students starting Monday in what could be a pilot for the restart of school in the fall.

All 12 will be special education students who have had difficulty adjusting to distance learning, county Superintendent Mary Jane Burke told TV station CBSN Bay Area, which reported the story.

Because of safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, school districts are considering a range of options for the fall, including scheduling students on alternate days or offering only distance learning. Burke said a year-round school to make up learning loss is another option. The experience of the class at San Jose Middle school will inform that decision.

Special education teacher Cindy Evans, who volunteered to lead the class, told the CBSN, “I had a phone call with one of the parents and she said to me I feel like a failure, and she was teary eyed, and at that point I said, I really, really need to help.” — John Fensterwald


Saturday, May 16. In a first in state history, college campuses kick off graduation season with virtual commencement ceremonies

In another fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and its devastating impact on education in California, several campuses around the state held commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 on Saturday — for the first time in state history entirely online.

UC Berkeley and UC Merced, the only two University of California campuses on the semester system, became the first UC campuses to hold virtual commencement ceremonies on Saturday.  Some California State University campuses did so too, including San Diego State and Humboldt State University, in Arcata in the far north of the state.

The Cal commencement ceremony was the most elaborate — centered around an animated video based on the Minecraft videogame that was created by more than a hundred UC Berkeley students, complete with student avatars marching into Memorial Stadium to a recording of Pomp and Circumstance. Chancellor Carol Christ gave the commencement “address” in which she said students could not have imagined three months ago that they would be participating in graduation ceremonies “perhaps in your pajamas instead of a cap and gown.”

“The pandemic and its effects have been thrust upon us all, and the only thing in our power is how we choose to respond,” she said. “We can let these weighty circumstances hold us down, or we can decide to pick ourselves back up, to adapt, to push onward. Trials such as this are opportunities to cultivate habits of mind that will serve us for all time: courage, ingenuity, resilience, patience, humility, grace and gratitude.”

Several campuses held their ceremonies on Friday — notably the University of Southern California, Chico State and Woodland Community College, both in Northern California. Cal State San Marcos held a “drive by” graduation, in which students donned their caps and gowns, and drove through a designated route as faculty and staff cheered them on — and students got handed a provisional diploma on a tray as they drove by. Some 700 students participated. The university is promising to hold an in-person commencement ceremony whenever it is possible to do so

Numerous other virtual commencement ceremonies will be held ater this week, such as Laney College’s in Oakland on Thursday, and others during the weeks to come. UCLA’s ceremony will be on June 12, while San Francisco State’s will be on June 18.  — Louis Freedberg. 


Saturday, May 16, 5 p.m. Obama gives virtual “commencement address” to nation’s high school graduates 

In a nationally broadcast event, former President Barack Obama shared with the nation’s high school graduates “a hard truth” — that “all those  adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing…don’t have all the answers.” In fact, he said, “a lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions.”

So, he said, “if the world’s going to get better, it going to be up to you.”

The event, which included a slew of entertainment and sports personalities, including basketball star Lebron James, was billed as the first national commencement ceremony. It was targeted at high school seniors who have been robbed of live commencement celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Obama’s speech was conspicuously non-political, although some of his remarks could easily be interpreted as a commentary on some of the practices and messaging of the Trump administration.

In another commencement address earlier in the day, also delivered virtually and directed at historically black colleges and universities, his language was similar but more explicitly a criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic — again without mentioning Trump by name. “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” he said. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

He reminded high school students that the nation has gone through tough times before — slavery, civil war, famine, disease, the Great Depression and 9/11. “And each time we came out stronger, usually because a new generation, young people like you, learned from past mistakes and figured out how to make things better,” he said.

And in dispensing advice to the graduates he delivered harsh criticism of what passes for leadership at the highest levels in the U.S. “Do what you think is right,” Obama told students. “Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up.”

The event was organized the  Oakland-based XQ Institute, which is underwritten by the multi-billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs.

The institute is directed by Russlyn Ali, who was an assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Dept. of Educaiton during the Obama administration.  The organization’s principal activity is to promote thinking about “the high school of the future,” and has awarded $10 million grants to several school districts and charter schools to implement innovative strategies toward that end. — Louis Freedberg 

Read Obama’s entire speech here


Friday, May 15, 7:45 p.m. Twitter CEO donates $10 million to Oakland fund to close the digital divide

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a Tweet that he would donate $10 million to the “Oakland Undivided” fund launched on Thursday to help close the digital divide for all current and future students in Oakland Unified and city charter schools.

The district and city initially raised $2 million toward its $12.5 million goal, which they expected would take years to achieve. Oakland Unified Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said the money is needed to provide Chromebooks and stable internet service to students who have been educated through distance learning since schools closed March 13 due to the coronavirus.

She said the district expects to offer summer school through distance learning and that students will likely need to learn remotely during the 2020-21 school year. Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city is supporting the effort because computers and internet access help families to connect with community resources, such as free food and other support. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, May 14, 2:50 p.m. Governor unveils education cuts, along with some new revenues, in May budget revision

Gov. Newsom unveiled a stark May budget revision for 2020-21 that included a $54 billion shortfall as the pandemic’s hit to the economy sharply reduced state revenues. The proposed budget showed a 13% reduction for public education, shrinking from $81.1 billion last year to $70.5 billion. “It’s a very challenging moment,” he said, adding that he hoped the federal government would provide more funding to the state to help alleviate some of the proposed cuts.

The revised budget, which may be amended before the legislature adopts the final budget in June, includes a 10% cut in local control funding for K-12 schools, as well as deferrals of payments that will likely force districts to borrow short-term throughout the year. However, Newsom promised no cuts to the state’s commitment for special education.

To help soften the budget blow, he said the state would allocate $4.4 billion from  federal CARES Act funds to public education in order to address several issues related to school closures from the coronavirus: learning loss, socioemotional challenges and trauma that families are facing, distance learning needs, as well as for summer school. The state will give districts flexibility to decide how best to use the funds “on a district by district basis,” with strategies that could include extending the school year, he said. “This will be discretionary money to address anxiety,” he added.

To help college students, including parents who may want to go back to school, Newsom said the proposed budget would not cut Cal Grants for higher education students.

He stressed that the cuts are not permanent, but added that they would require districts to make difficult decisions. He also said some cuts would be restored if the Congress passes the HEROES Act proposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which would give money to states to deal with issues created by the coronavirus.

Keely Bosler, director of the Department of Finance, said that if the HEROES Act does no pass, the state will cut base funding for University of California and Californai State University systems by 10%. She said community colleges would see a 10% reduction in student-centered funding, as well as payment deferrals similar to those that K-12 schools will experience.  — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, May 14, 1:40 p.m. Mostly good news for special education in revised state budget

In announcing his proposed budget revisions, Gov. Gavin Newsom kept intact a 15% increase in per-pupil spending for students enrolled in special education, and left most other special education funding streams unchanged, at least temporarily. In addition, the proposed budget includes $15 million in federal funds to pay for scholarships for those pursuing special education teaching credentials.

Money for pandemic-related expenses was also included: $7 million to help districts resolve disputes related to distance learning and special education, and $600,000 to adjust individual educational programs to account for distance learning. The only significant cut, so far, is a $250 million grant for special education preschools.

“The (revised budget) maintains the Administration’s commitment to increasing special education resources and improving special education financing, programs, and student outcomes,” the proposed budget reads. — Carolyn Jones


Wednesday, May 13, 1:45 p.m. Peralta Community College District fall classes will be offered primarily online 

The four colleges within the Peralta Community College District will mostly offer fall classes online. The decision applies to Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College.

“We are making every effort to minimize disruptions to the educational mission as we support student success in achieving desired certificates, degrees and transfer,” said Regina Stanback Stroud, the district’s chancellor. “We will continue to engage in the necessary discussions with faculty and staff to ensure the best decisions in service of our students and their goals.”  — Ashley A. Smith


Tuesday, May 12, 2:30 p.m. California State University trustees say they want to avoid raising tuition

The California State University system should avoid increasing tuition as a way to make up for revenue losses and higher costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic, several trustees said during a virtual meeting. The system is already facing more than $300 million in coronavirus-related losses.

“The message that it would send to raise tuition, under really almost any circumstances during this extremely sensitive time, I really caution against it,” said state Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who is a CSU trustee through the duties of her office.

Student trustee Maryana Khames as well as trustees Jack McGrory, Lateefah Simon and Peter Taylor also said they are opposed to increasing tuition.

Taylor was CFO of the system during the Great Recession, when the system raised tuition as it faced similar financial challenges. Taylor said he regrets raising tuition at that time, saying it hurt middle-class families.

“In hindsight, it was the wrong move,” he said. “And I just hope before we consider something like this, we uncover every rock to find every penny and every dime we can collect in order to avoid a tuition increase.” — Michael Burke


Tuesday, May 12, 10:45 a.m. More community college classes will be offered primarily online this fall

The four colleges in the Sacramento area’s Los Rios Community College District, the San Diego Community College District, and Shasta College in Redding have all joined an increasing number of community colleges to announce fall classes will be offered primarily online.

Constance Carroll, chancellor of the four colleges in the San Diego district, said it was important to make a decision about how fall classes would be offered to allow faculty and students time to prepare.

“Never in my years in higher education have I seen a crisis of this magnitude, certainly never in my 28 years in the San Diego Community College District,” Carroll said. “And the Board of Trustees and I have never been prouder of how faculty, staff, students, and alumni have responded. Their efforts have been extraordinary and have enabled the district to continue to meet the educational needs of students and the community.” — Ashley A. Smith


Monday, May 11, 1:55 p.m. Western states seek $1 trillion to help save jobs of teachers and other frontline workers, state distributes masks to educators and childcare workers, UCSF/UCLA trains 500 contact tracers, governor says

The Western States Pact that includes California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado has sent a letter to Congressional leaders seeking $1 trillion in aid to help save the jobs of educators and other frontline workers, Gov. Newsom announced during his daily news briefing. “Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions – like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders,” the letter said. “This aid would preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work.”

Newsom also said the state distributed half-a-million surgical masks to the California Department of Education on Friday, along with thousands more to child care workers, as part of its effort to meet criteria necessary to reopen the state. In addition, he said a new UCSF/UCLA program has trained 500 new “contact tracers” who will work with current contact tracers in counties to track and trace the contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus. This will bring the total number of contact tracers to about 3,500, with the goal of getting to 10,000 in the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, Newsom plans to give a presentation on testing capacity throughout the state and to unveil new criteria that would allow counties to reopen some businesses ahead of the state, if they can self-certify that they meet specific requirements. — Theresa Harrington


Sunday, May 10, 10:00 a.m. Many California students still lack technology for distance learning, two months into stay-at-home order

Nearly a third of California school districts said that “less than half” or “a small minority/none” of students have access to the internet at home, according to a recent survey of 270 districts and county offices of education by the California School Boards Association.

About 19% of districts said that cell phone service, which is required for mobile WiFi hotspots, is “poor or nonexistent” for their students, and about two-thirds of districts said that most of their students have laptops at home. — Sydney Johnson


Saturday, May 9, 3:45 p.m.  Placer County high school district will hold in-person graduation ceremonies for high school seniors

All seven high schools in the Placer Union High School District will have in-person graduation ceremonies in July,  according to The Sacramento Bee.

Ceremonies will be limited to 50 graduates at a time.

The article reports that the seniors overwhelmingly voted to have the ceremony in-person with fewer classmates in attendance at a time then to have an online celebration. – Diana Lambert


Saturday, May 9, 10 a.m. California Teachers Association launches digital ad campaign to thank teachers for work during pandemic

The California Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union, has started an ad campaign applauding teachers for their commitment to students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am so proud of how our educators have responded during this pandemic to continue reaching and teaching students,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “While we are all in this together, educators are going above and beyond to take care of their students during the statewide lockdown – from providing more office hours, visiting their students at a safe distance, or delivering meals to families in need. Educators have demonstrated that their hearts are and will always be with their students.”

The campaign, which includes television, print and digital advertisements, will run through May 19.  – Diana Lambert


Thursday, May 7, 9:30 a.m. New forecast from Gov. Newsom projects record deficit 

California’s state budget will face a $54 billion deficit by the end of next year, the biggest in its history, the Newsom administration disclosed in documents released Thursday. The coronavirus’ immediate and disastrous impact on the state’s economy will result in a $42 billion decline in state revenues in 2019-20 and 2020-21, bringing the General Fund to under $100 billion for the first time since the end of the Great Recession.

The Department of Finance is projecting that funding for Proposition 98, the formula that determines spending for K-12 and community colleges, will drop by a record $18.3  billion. However, that appears to include the effect on the current year, which Gov. Gavin Newsom had assured would be funded, so the impact may not be quite as severe. (Go here for a press release and here for slides.)


Tuesday, May 5, 2:40 p.m. California Department of Education offers Virtual Support Circle for Educators

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is hosting a forum on Facebook Live between 4 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday to offer support and encouragement to California teachers.

“The State Superintendent and California Department of Education understand that educators are feeling overwhelmed during this time of distance learning, and this virtual event will be an opportunity to share experiences, resources and encouragement as schools and families navigate next steps together,” according to a press release from the California Department of Education.

The even is the first of many planned for educator support. Participants will be announced as they are confirmed. Diana Lambert


Monday, May 4, 5:30 p.m. Digital divide task force asks internet providers to extend free service to California students

California needs at least 447,451 laptops and 340,202 Wi-Fi hotspots to connect every student to internet at home, according to the latest numbers provided by the California Department of Education. The figures, which are higher than an estimate provided last week, were shared at the second hearing for California’s new digital divide task force led by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Sen. Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino. 

At the hearing, state lawmakers pressed internet providers on what they are doing to help every student in California access the internet from home in order to participate in distance learning. Companies represented included AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. 

Each of the companies shared plans to reach more students during the pandemic, such as partnerships with school districts, mobile Wi-Fi school busses, and extending timelines for discount programs. But some lawmakers said they still have concerns about families unaware of free and discounted service programs, as well as ongoing challenges for rural communities to gain access to broadband infrastructure. Sydney Johnson


Monday, May 4, 2:05 p.m. New UCSF/UCLA training program for contact tracers; some retailers can reopen Friday; new guides coming to lift county stay at home orders, no mention of schools

UC San Francisco and UC Los Angeles are partnering on a new program that will train “contact tracers” who will help counties track people who test positive for the coronavirus, as well as those with whom they have come in contact, Gov. Newsom said Monday during his daily news briefing. The program is expected to train about 3,000 people a week so the state can reach a goal of 10,000 contact tracers in the next few weeks, followed by another 10,000 shortly after that, said Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health.

Because the state is flattening the curve of coronavirus cases and is increasing its testing and contact tracing capacity, Newsom announced that some retailers will be able to open as soon as Friday based on modifications to the statewide stay at home order he expects to release on Thursday. He also said counties may be able to lift some restrictions to the stay at home order if they can certify that they meet certain public health conditions that will be released later on Monday. Newsom did not address whether lifting the county stay at home orders would apply to schools.

The ability of some retailers to reopen marks the beginning of phase 2 of a four-part plan for reopening the state, Newsom said. However, he said that public health officials in some counties – such as those in the Bay Area – can continue to impose stricter restrictions on residents and businesses if they do not believe their communities are ready to reopen at the same pace as the rest of the state. — Theresa Harrington


Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m.  Several California community colleges extend online instruction through fall 2020 term

Over the last week, beginning on April 28, the Los Angeles Community College District, Santa Monica College, Sierra College whose main campus is in Rocklin, College of the Desert in Palm Desert, and Santa Rosa Junior College, have announced that most classes will be offered remotely in the fall.  The LA Community College District consists of nine campuses.  Depending on the college, a few classes may still be offered in person.  For example,
Santa Monica President Kathryn Jefferey said the college “is working to determine whether a few courses that may not be easily converted to a fully online format can be offered through a limited hybrid option.”   Santa Rose president Frank Chong said “There may be some courses that require in-person instruction, such as those that require hands-on labs and those offered at the Public Safety Training Center.”— Louis Freedberg


Friday, May 1, 12:30 p.m.: Modoc County eases stay-at-home rules for businesses, churches and schools

Officials in Modoc County announced a strategic plan this week to allow businesses, churches and schools to reopen if they are able to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between people.

However no school districts in Modoc County, which has less than 9,000 residents and no cases of the coronavirus so far, have said they will reopen yet. Districts and the county education office plan to work with the Modoc County Public Health Department on plans to reopen schools, but no dates have been set, according to an announcement from the Modoc County Office of Education in response to the restriction changes. — Sydney Johnson


Thursday, April 30, 1:25 p.m: Governor announces new child care website, closes beaches in Orange County, and says it’s OK “to play catch with my kids”

To help essential workers who are parents find high-quality child care, Gov. Newsom announced the state has launched a new portal on the covid19.ca.gov website with information about child care facilities throughout the state. The portal will also help other workers find high quality child care as the state begins to modify its stay at home order in the next few weeks, Newsom said. He noted that the state has provided $100 million for child care vouchers and facilities and said he expects to include more money for child care in the revised state budget, known as the “May revise,” which he will present on May 14.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Newsom said that beaches in Orange County will be closed this weekend, after crowds congregated on them last weekend and did not practice physical distancing. He said beaches in other areas of the state would remain open because people who visited them did adhere to the state’s requirement to stay 6 feet apart.

Newsom also said the state’s covid19.ca.gov website is updated regularly with information about the state’s requirements to answer questions, such as: “Can I play catch with my kids?” The answer, he said, is yes. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 29, 6:10 p.m: Families of children eligible for free or reduced-priced meals at school will get $5.70 for each day school has been canceled

A new federal program will give low-income California families money for groceries to feed their children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Pandemic Electronic Transfer program will pay each family $5.70 per child for each day school has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, up to $365 per child. The money is roughly equivalent to the cost of the meals the children would have received through the free or reduced-price meal program had they been in school.

“The Covid-19 crisis has placed additional economic strain on some of our families that were already struggling to put food on the table,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “This program provides critical food assistance so that our students who are economically challenged households can get the nutritious meals at home they need to thrive.”

The program will provide about $1.4 billion collectively to California families.

The California Department of Social Services will automatically issue electronic payment cards to families identified as being certified for the school meal program in early May. If families don’t receive a card they can apply online before June 30. The online application will launch in late May.

Students who are eligible for this program can still receive school meals at designated pick-up sites and can continue to receive CalFresh benefits if eligible. — Diana Lambert


Wednesday, April 29, 1:50 p.m: Newsom: New partnership to feed needy students and their families; concern that Bay Area plans to allow 12 children to congregate exceed state limits

To help feed students who normally qualify for free and reduced breakfasts and lunches, Gov. Newsom announced a new partnership between the state, farmers, ranchers, philanthropists and food banks to provide food boxes to needy students through local food banks.

He also said during his daily news briefing that he had spoken to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond that morning to discuss the idea of reopening schools in late July or early August to help combat the loss of learning many students are experiencing during school closures.

And while Newsom said he generally supports the ability of local public health officials to determine how and when to loosen restrictions in their own shelter in place orders, he expressed concerns about modifications announced by six Bay Area counties that would allow up to 12 children to congregate in childcare groups, which he said exceeds the state’s limit of 10 children. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 29, 1:20 p.m:  NCAA supports rule change allowing athletes to earn compensation, but advocates say athletes need more during pandemic

College athletes across the United States could soon be permitted to earn compensation under  a rule change being supported by the National College Athletic Association, the governing body for most college sports, but advocates for college athletes in California are calling on the NCAA to do more to help athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors is supporting a rule change that would allow college athletes for the first time to make money off their name, image and likeness. The change would take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year. 

The NCAA began considering the rule change after Gov. Newsom last year signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which defied NCAA rules by permitting college athletes in the state to make money from endorsements and other personal ventures. That law was scheduled to go into effect in 2023 but could now be moot since the NCAA’s rules seem poised to change.

Despite the likely rule change, the NCAA should be doing more to help college athletes during the coronavirus pandemic, said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the California-based National College Players Association. In a statement, Huma said college athletes are becoming increasingly vulnerable during the pandemic and called on the NCAA to implement its rule change immediately rather than waiting until fall 2021. Michael Burke


Tuesday, April 28, 7:03 p.m:  San Francisco School Board drops plan to give all students A’s for online courses

The San Francisco Board of Education Tuesday dropped plans to give all students A’s for online courses after learning that the practice is not legal under the state’s education code because teachers are required to determine a student’s grade.

District officials reporting on the grading policy recommended a credit/ no credit policy which the board unanimously adopted. Officials also told the board that they had learned that the state’s public university systems –  University of California and California State University – expressed signficant concern that giving all students A’s would not be an accurate assessment of student progress. The board decision will allow students who received a no credit grade to repeat the course for a credit grade before the next school year.— Ali Tadayon


Tuesday, April 28.  UCLA says it can’t guarantee housing in coming academic year. 

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block says the university has not made a decision on what the fall quarter will look like, but “at a minimum, since we know it might not be possible for some students to safely travel to campus, we plan to offer the option of remote learning at least for fall quarter, even if some classes are held in person.” He also said the university “at this point” could not guarantee housing to all students in the fall.  “In normal times, UCLA is able to offer housing to a majority of incoming and returning students,” he wrote in a detailed online message.  “At this point, it is unclear how the pandemic will impact our operations in student housing and residential life during the 2020–21 academic year and therefore we are unfortunately unable to provide a housing guarantee.— Louis Freedberg


Tuesday, April 28,  2 p.m.  Transcript:  what exactly did Gov. Newsom say about school opening in the fall

The following is what Gov. Newsom said at three points in his press conference on April 28.

The schools are shut down for remainder of the school year, and distance learning is going on. We recognize that there has been a learning loss.  We are concerned about this even into the summer.  So we are considering the prospect of an even earlier school year into the fall, late July or early August.  We have not made any decisions about that.  As a parent myself, and having talked to many other parents and educators, even the kids I think we might want to consider getting that school year moved up a little bit. We need to prepare for that, start preparing for the physical changes in the school and the environmental changes in the schools that are necessary to advance that conversation and make them more meaningful, and coordinate in the child care space itself. ..

As a father of four, that learning loss is very real. from a socioeconomic and racial justice frame, this is even more compounding and more challenging. So it is incumbent on us to think anew in respect to the school year, and I am looking forward   to those robust conversations about the prospect of an earlier school year that I do think is warranted considering the consequences of neglecting  next generation because of the inconvenience and realities of this virus … 

Our kids have lost a lot with this disruption. I am not naive. Some good work has been done on new wifi hotspots, on distance learning, the support of thousands, over 70,000 tablets and Chromebooks and other capacity to provide distance learning. It’s still inadequate to  the magnitude of 6 million children all throughout the state of California, in rural districts and in some urban districts that just simply don’t have the high quality download speed and capacity or anything to download into. So there’s been a learning loss and you can either just rollover and just accept that or you can do something about it.


Tuesday, April 28, 1:35 p.m:  Newsom announces new school year could start in July or early August, says expanding childcare is important as some businesses begin to reopen

Acknowledging the “learning loss” happening while schools have been closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Newsom announced today that campuses may reopen in July or August for the next year to help students get caught up academically.

“We recognize there’s been a learning loss because of this disruption,” he said. “We’re concerned about that learning loss even into the summer.”

Normally the new K-12 school year would start in August at the earliest.

Reopening schools early and expanding the availability of childcare are both part of the second phase of a four-part plan to reopen the state, said Newsom and Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health.

“As we open up schools, as we make sure that child care is more broadly available” Angell said, “it also makes it more possible for parents to go back to work.”

Newsom said the second phase of reopening could start in the next few weeks for “low risk” businesses such as for manufacturing and office workers. He said it would take longer to establish protocols for higher-risk businesses such as hair and nail salons, which involve close contact between people.

Finally, he said it would likely be “a while” before California would enter phase 4, which would include concerts, conventions, sporting events and other large gatherings. That phase is not likely to happen until the state reaches widespread immunity or a vaccine is developed, he said. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, April 27, 2 p.m:  Newsom Tuesday will address ability of schools and businesses to physical distance; Bay Area counties extend stay at home orders

Before he can loosen the statewide stay at the home order, Gov. Newsom said Monday he needs to consider the ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing.  Newsom said he will update progress on Tuesday.  Ability to physical distance is one of six indicators Newsom and a task force are working on before he will  loosen restrictions on the stay at home order.

Newsom said progress on flattening the curve and increasing testing throughout the state could enable him to begin modifying the stay at home order in the next few weeks, instead of months. But, he cautioned that residents must continue to practice social distancing to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases.

Public health officials in the six Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara announced that they intend to extend their shelter in place joint order on residents and businesses through the end of May, but will ease restrictions on some “lower-risk activities,” which were not specified. Solano County has also extended its shelter in place order through May 17 and Napa County has amended its shelter at home order so it is in effect indefinitely.

Meanwhile, elected officials in the six northern counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba sent a letter to Gov. Newsom asking to lift stay at home restrictions in their jurisdictions, based on a leveling off of coronavirus cases. Elected officials in Stanislaus County have sent a similar request.— Theresa Harrington


Monday, April 27, 11:24 a.m: LA Unified stresses need for help to pay for meals for students and families

Los Angeles Unified is continuing to seek financial help from federal, state and local government agencies to cover the cost of millions of meals that the district is providing to students and families during the coronavirus pandemic, Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.

LA Unified has provided about 13 million meals since schools closed for in-person instruction in mid-March. Beutner said last week that LA Unified is facing $200 million in unbudgeted costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic. About $78 million of those costs come from distributing the meals, which are available to any child or adult who shows up to one of the district’s dozens of grab-and-go centers.

Within the past week, the district has requested funding from the City of Los Angeles’ disaster relief fund and from LA County’s food stamps program to help cover those costs. LA Unified has also asked for emergency funding from the state and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Agriculture at the federal level.

I mentioned last week we are incurring costs in this effort we did not budget for,” Beutner said Monday in a televised speech. “We’re working at all levels of government to make sure a mass, community relief effort like this is supported by the funding that exists to pay for it.” — Michael Burke


Friday, April 24, 1:40 p.m. Governor announces partnership to expand wellness calls and meals for seniors

As Gov. Newsom looks toward potentially loosening stay at home orders in the next few weeks, he said he expects seniors who are age 65 or older will need to continue to remain in their homes. To help meet their physical and emotional needs, he announced a new “Social Bridging Project” in partnership with Sacramento State University gerontology students, the California Department of Aging and other organizations that will make daily check-in phone calls to senior citizens to connect with them and help provide resources to them.

Newsom also announced a new partnership with FEMA and local cities that will pay local restaurants to deliver three meals a day to eligible senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems, which he said would help boost city economies and provide more employment to restaurant workers.

Although he noted the weather is expected to be warm this weekend, he urged Californians to continue social distancing and hinted that he may be ready to begin announcing more modifications to the stay at home order starting next week if hospitalizations continue to remain flat. He said 93 people died and 5% more tested positive for the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, but hospitalizations were flat and the number of people in intensive care units rose slightly, by 1%, which he called “encouraging.” — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, April 23, 11 p.m. Governor issues order delaying deadline until Dec. 15  for 2020-21 Local Control and Accountability Plans

Gov. Gavin Newsom, as expected, released an executive order Thursday giving school districts more time to complete the annual  accountability document in which they set academic and spending priorities.

Districts will now have until Dec. 15 to pass their Local Control and Accountability Plan for the fiscal year 2020-21 that will start July 1. It made sense to push back the deadline, since the Legislature won’t set a final state budget, determining funding for K-12, until after July 15, the new deadline for Californians to file their income and capital gains taxes for 2019.

Although they won’t have to complete their LCAP by June 30, districts will have to report by then how they have spent money on the three areas that Newsom made conditional for  receiving  state funding while schools are closed because of the coronavirus. They are “high-quality” distance learning, meals for students who qualified for subsidized breakfast and lunch, and child care for the children of first responders and essential employees. The report should account for how districts met the needs of English learners and low-income, foster and homeless students — the groups that get additional state funding under the Local Control Funding Formula.

Because children are confined to their homes under shelter-in place requirements, the executive order also waives the annual instructional minutes for physical education that schools must provide. It also indefinitely suspends physical education tests for grades 5, 7, and 9.

Go here to read EdSource’s article earlier this week with background information on the order.   _________________________________________________________________

Thursday, April 23, 1:30 p.m. Governor announces student loan relief, praises UC doctors and nurses helping in New York City, and addresses K-12 education gaps

All but three of the  24 student loan servicers in California have agreed to a 90-day postponement on loan debt, which will affect 1.1 Californians, Gov. Newsom announced Thursday. The debt relief means that those with student loans will not have their credit impacted or be faced with fines or liens if they don’t make payments during this time, Newsom said, during his daily news briefing. He also announced that he signed an executive order preventing debt collectors from garnishing federal stimulus checks unless the debts are related to child support, spousal support or victim’s funds.

In addition, Newsom praised doctors and nurses, including several from UCSF, UC Davis and other California healthcare facilities, who went to New York City to help fight the virus. Newsom said their experiences will help inform the work that is being done in California.

And in response to questions regarding gaps in the distance learning that students are receiving while schools are closed, Newsom said he is working with officials including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to address the “summer slide,” when students usually lose some of what they have learned.  Newsom said that loss could be a “tsunami” backwards if students are not getting basic education now. In addition to working to get devices and internet access to students across the state, Newsom said education experts are talking about how to innovate in schools when they reopen, with less of a focus on testing, drills and lectures, and more emphasis on creativity, critical thinking and self-expression. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 22, 2:30 p.m. Governor lifts ban on scheduled surgeries in first modification of stay at home order

A flattening virus curve allows California to take its first signifcant step toward reopening the state, Gov. Newsom announced Wednesday. Newsom said hospitals can begin scheduling medically necessary elective surgeries, which were banned under the original stay at home order to make beds available for a potential surge in patients needing hospitalization. Although deaths rose 6.8% over the past 24 hours to 86, Newsom said hospitalizations were down 0.2% and the number of patients in intensive care units decreased by 1.8%.

Newsom had previously identified six indicators that would determine whether the state could loosen its stay at home restrictions. The ability of hospitals to accommodate a surge in patients is one of those indicators, he said.

He also announced expanded testing at 86 new sites throughout the state. They are focused in rural areas and urban areas in predominantly “black and brown” and low-income areas, which he said had been identified as “testing deserts.” He said President Trump agreed to send 100,000 swabs needed for testing to California this week, 250,000 next week and more the following week, which should help the state reach its goal of conducting 60,000 to 80,000 tests a day in the next few weeks. Currently, the state is conducting just over 14,000 tests daily.

Newsom said he hopes to announce more modifications to the stay at home order in the next days, weeks and months based on the six indicators, which also include the ability of businesses and schools to implement physical distancing. He said he could not announce a specific date when the order would be lifted. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, April 21, 1:30 p.m. Governor unveils new volunteering website, promises to update metrics Wednesday for reopening the state 

To make it easier for volunteers  to help others during the coronavirus stay at home order, Gov. Newsom unveiled a new website at californiansforall.ca.gov where people can match their interests to the needs in their communities. Josh Fryday, the state’s chief service officer, said examples include volunteering as tutors, at food banks and as 2-1-1 operators who refer callers to resources.

Newsom also announced that the numbers of coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations, patients in intensive care units and those testing positive all went up in the past 24 hours, indicating that “we are not out of the woods, yet.” He said there was a 7.4% increase in those testing positive, a 5% increase in deaths, a 3.8% increase in intensive care unit patients and a 3.3% increase in total hospitalizations in the state.

He promised to provide an update Wednesday on progress in each of the six metrics the state is monitoring before it can reopen, with an emphasis on increasing the numbers of tests available throughout California. Another of the metrics involves the ability of schools and businesses to implement social distancing. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, April 20, 1:35 p.m. Governor announces progress in closing digital divide for K-12 students 

With the help of California-based tech giant Google, the state next month will go a long way toward closing the digital divide, Gov. Newsom announced Monday.

Ever since schools throughout the state closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Newsom, first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Google and others have been working collaboratively to raise funding and technology to provide devices and internet access to students for distance learning.

Newsom, with his wife nearby and Thurmond joining by telephone, said 100,000 free wifi hotspots donated by Google would be rolled out during the first week in May. In addition, more than 70,000 laptops, Chromebooks and Ipads have been donated, and the CPUC is making $25 million available to help provide wifi hotspots, plus another $5 million to pay for devices.

Also, Sacramento City Unified is converting seven school buses into mobile wifi hotspots as a pilot project, Newsom said. If that is successful, more school bus hotspots may be created in other districts throughout the state.

Thurmond, who is co-chairing a recently formed Closing the Digital Divide Task Force that will meet at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live to discuss internet access, said the group plans to create a blueprint to end the inequitable access to technology for students that has existed in California for decades. Newsom agreed that it is important to address the digital divide both short-term and long-term. “Even though schools are closed,” he said, “distance learning must continue.” — Theresa Harrington


Saturday, April 18, 6 p.m. Districts propose 2-year suspension in increases for employee pensions 

Bracing for potential budget cuts to K-12 education, a half-dozen of the state’s largest school districts are asking the Legislature and Gov. Newsom to suspend scheduled increases in contributions to the two pension funds representing school employees. The projected savings for school districts statewide would be an estimated $1.3 billion in 2020-21 and less than half of that in 2021-22.

Since the Legislature passed a law in 2013 to save the pension funds from insolvency, school districts’ pension contributions have more than doubled for teachers through CalSTRS and for other employees lacking a teaching credential through CalPERS. Districts’ funding for CalSTRS alone would rise by $1 billion in 2020-21, the last of seven straight years of increases under the law, before plateauing.

CalSTRS “employer rate increases have posed serious challenges for us even during times of reliable income. Now, facing the prospects of less revenue growth, paying those increases places an additional burden on our resources, and directly impacts what we can do for our students,” San Francisco Unified Superintendent Vincent Matthews wrote in an April 13 letter to Assembly Budget Chairman Phil Ting. Superintendents from the Los Angeles, Sacramento City, San Diego, Corona-Norco and Long Beach school districts wrote a similar April 15 letter to Newsom.

“We’re trying to point out that if districts’ budgets next year are flat or reduced, they would have an inability to shoulder  more than $1 billion in new costs,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting company in Sacramento, who first floated the idea earlier this month.

A two-year suspension of pension fund increases could push back the statutory timetable for restoring solvency to the pension funds from 2046 to 2048. – John Fensterwald


Saturday, April 18, 4:40 p.m. Closing the Digital Divide Task Force to discuss internet access gaps Monday on Facebook Live

A new Closing the Digital Divide task force announced Thursday by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will hold a fact-finding hearing via videoconference at 4 p.m. Monday on the California Department of Education’s Facebook page.

The task force, co-chaired by state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, was established to address technology gaps for students who lack access to devices and the internet. Executives from internet providers throughout California are expected to speak during the hearing.

The California Department of Education has also created California Bridging the Digital Divide Fund in partnership with the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation to collect donations of funds and technology to provide digital supports such as devices and internet access to students in preschool through 12thgrade, as well as to their families and teachers. Individual contributions can be made through the GoFundMe campaign. Institutional and corporate donors are invited to contact Mary Nicely at mnicely@cde.ca.gov. — Theresa Harrington


Saturday, April 18, 2:30 p.m.  Motel 6 agrees to lease, possibly sell, 5,025 rooms for homeless

Two weeks ago, Gov. Newsom announced Project Roomkey, with the goal of leasing 15,000 hotel and motel rooms for homeless residents living on the streets, in shelters and in crowded encampments, where they risk spreading the coronavirus.

At his daily press conference, Newsom said that the state will more than meet the goal with an agreement with the Motel 6 corporation in California to free up 5,025 rooms. The state already had procured 10,974 room occupied so far by 4,211 homeless They will receive three meals daily from Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen.

There would now be about 16,000 rooms, which Newsom called “good news, real progress in just a few weeks.” Newsom also said the state is negotiating with Motel 6 to purchase the 47 motels, located in 19 counties, for permanent shelters for the homeless beyond the pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay 75% of the motel costs during the pandemic, with the state filling in the rest through money funded already. Buying the Motel 6 properties would require public-private partnerships, with participation by philanthropies, Newsom said.

Newsom made the announcement at a Motel  6 in Campbell, in Santa Clara County, which Newsom praised, along with Ventura, Riverside, Yolo, Merced and Los Angeles counties for their active efforts to address the homeless crisis. But he expressed “frustration” with city officials in other counties, without naming them, for blocking similar efforts to find properties. History will judge their “NIMBYism” (not-in-my-backyard attitude) during the pandemic, he said, adding, “Please consider the morality of those decisions.”

In a daily data update, Newsom said that 87 Californians died Friday of the coronavirus, bringing total deaths to 1,072. The hospitalization rate was up 1.3 %, with a 0.1% drop in patients under intensive care. The state is looking for consistent declines in those numbers before taking steps to ease shelter-in-place orders. – John Fensterwald and Theresa Harrington


Friday, April 17, 3 p.m. Oakland Unified announces two employees/volunteers tested positive for Covid-19

Two people who are Oakland Unified School District staff members or volunteers have tested positive for the coronavirus, the district announced. The individuals participated in the district’s food distribution program and technology device distribution more than a week ago, but the specific locations where they assisted were not disclosed to protect their privacy, according to the district.

In both cases, the individuals did not show any symptoms while they were at the school sites, but later developed symptoms, self-quarantined and tested positive. The district had protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus, including social distancing, the use of masks and gloves, and regular cleaning.

In addition, employees or volunteers showing symptoms are ordered to stay home according to CDC recommendations. The district has also created an internal Health and Safety Team that visits all food distribution sites and recommends improvements in safety practices.  Food inspectors from the Alameda County Health Department have inspected the district’s food safety practices, according to the district. — Theresa Harrington


Friday, April 17, 1:45 p.m. Governor names Tom Steyer to head new economic advisory council

To help guide the state’s plans to reopen businesses and boost the economy, Gov. Newsom announced the formation of an economic advisory council headed by Tom Steyer. The council will also include California’s four former governors Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown.

Newsom also said that every Wednesday he will give weekly updates on the work of six task forces formed to track progress in meeting the goals he set for loosening restrictions on the stay at home order – including the ability of businesses and schools to practice social distancing.

He also noted that the state is continuing to bend and even flatten the curve of the coronavirus – with a slight decrease of 1.4 % in the number of patients in intensive care units over the last 24 hours, but an increase in hospitalizations of 1.2%. Yet, he said the state recorded a record high 95 deaths during that same period, bringing the total deaths so far statewide to 985 –  very close to 1,000 –  “which we never wanted to see.” — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, April 16, 2:05 p.m. Governor says states will decide when to reopen, not the president, announces new sick leave benefit, hints at flattening of curve

As Califorinia is beginning to see a flattening of the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus, Gov. Newsom said  President Trump has assured him and other governors that states will be able to decide for themselves when to lift stay at home orders based on their individual circumstances. During his daily news briefing on Thursday, Newsom said he had just gotten off a call with the president, who told him he intends to make a nationwide announcement later this afternoon about how and when businesses will begin to reopen throughout the country.

Stressing that the state needs to flatten the curve before we can “get back to normalcy,” Newsom said a decline of 0.9% in the number of hospitalizations over 24 hours to 3,141 people showed that the state is beginning to do that. However, he noted that the total number of people in intensive care units grew over the last 24 hours by 1.4% to 1,191 people. The state has seen 890 deaths from the virus, with 69 passing away in the past 24 hours, one of the highest numbers so far.

“We’re not out out the woods,” he said, adding that the state needs to get more certainty of trends over a longer period of time before it can make any decisions about loosening restrictions.

Newsom also announced that he signed an executive order that will provide two weeks of supplemental sick leave to workers in the food distribution chain – from those picking produce on farms to those delivering food to stores and those ringing up customers – to ensure that they will be able to take time off if they have been exposed to the coronavirus, need to quarantine, or have tested positive. On Friday, Newsom said he expects to discuss economic development. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 15, 1:40 p.m. Governor announces new $125 million fund for undocumented families; college campuses being set up as surge sites

California has set up a $125 million fund to help undocumented families who will not benefit from unemployment benefits. The state has teamed up with several philanthropic organizations to set up the fund which will give $500 grants to individuals and up to $1,000 to families, Gov. Newsom announced during his Wednesday briefing.  Although California is processing a record number of unemployment checks for workers who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus shutdowns, Newsom said those who are undocumented have so far been unable to receive these benefits to help care for their families.

He also said that alternative care sites being established at campuses such as Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, which has 900 beds, to prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus cases in the next few weeks. Although that surge may not occur, Newsom said it is prudent for  California to be ready, especially since cases could rise as the state and counties begin easing some of the stay at home restrictions that have helped bend the curve.

Newsom also said the state Legislature intends to begin holding budget hearings on Thursday and that he has been in daily contact with leaders of the state Assembly and Senate, as he prepares to unveil his revised budget next month. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 15, 11:15 a.m. SAT and ACT could be offered on-line and at home if crisis persists 

The SAT and its rival ACT, the nation’s most important college admissions exams, could be offered on-line, at home  later this year in an unprecedented move that will require massive amounts of digital proctoring to prevent cheating, officials announced Wednesday. Those emergency backup plans are being developed if schools remain closed in the fall and prevent the usual in-school testing.

Meanwhile, the College Board, the organization that sponsors the SAT, has suspended all its usual spring testing days because of the health emergency but will try to come back with more frequent in-school testing than usual in the late summer and fall.  They will add a September date to the already scheduled August 29 , October 3, November 7 and December 5.  It also will be working to offer fall testing for individual school districts across the country that canceled spring testings that they normally use as an accountability measurement or graduation requirement, College Board leaders said.

If the Coronavirus crisis persists, the College Board said it is preparing for an online, at-home offering of the SAT that would implement technology that could monitor movement and sound of possible cheating activities and also lock down access to other sites on the Internet. The College Board already has shifted its Advanced Placement exams, which can earn students college credit, to an on-line format, with administrations of those tests at homes next month.

The ACT also said it will offer an online, at-home version and said more details about its availability and usage will be announced in a few weeks. The ACT is less popular in California than the SAT although either usually fulfills colleges’ application mandates.

Because of the health emergency, the University of California dropped the SAT and the ACT as application requirements for current high school juniors who will seek fall 2021 admissions. The university is debating whether to keep standardized testing as a requirement beyond that one-year suspension. Meanwhile, the California State University is considering what to do with its testing requirements.

College Board officials said Wednesday that they do not know what the impact of UC’s decisions will be on the number of California students who may take the SAT in the fall. Many private colleges still require it.   – Larry Gordon


Tuesday, April 14, 1:30 p.m. Newsom lays out possible changes for schools as he lays out parameters for loosening stay at home order

While Gov. Newsom said it’s too early to say when stay at home orders can be lifted throughout the state, he described a vision for the future when schools and businesses may reopen.

Comparing the end of restrictions to a “dimmer switch,” Newsom said he anticipated changes would have to be made in schools and businesses to prevent new surges of the coronavirus in the future. For example, he said schools may need to stagger start and end times for specific groups of students, to limit the numbers of students eating meals together or attending assemblies, and to ensure physical distance of 6 feet apart between students during activities such as physical education classes and recess.

He stressed during his daily news briefing that he has been having conversations with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and others about new protocols and procedures that may be put into place when children return to schools in the summer or fall. He noted that Californians are flattening the curve by staying at home and said that if current progress continues, he may be able to talk in two weeks about how the state could begin to loosen stay at home restrictions.

He said school districts would need to work with their unions to figure out how to meet physical distancing goals and to possibly expand distance learning opportunities. Newsom also said schools, playgrounds and parks would need to be deep-cleaned, including common areas such as swings and benches, to ensure that students don’t come home and infect their grandmas and grandpas with the coronavirus. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, April 13, 2:10 p.m. Newsom says state is ramping up efforts to help foster youth, needy families 

California is devoting $42 million to improving services for families during the coronavirus stay at home order, Gov. Newsom said Monday during his daily briefing.  The money would be used to better track about 86,500 children monitored by social services agencies, including 59,000 who are in the foster care system.

Nearly $28 million would pay for $200 in monthly payments to more than 25,000 “at risk” families, and an additional $1.7 million would provide additional money to those who are caring for foster youth. The state will spend $313,000 to provide laptops and cell phones to foster youth to use for distance learning during school closures.

Newsom said millions of dollars will be used to extend the time frame for the emancipation of foster youth so they can stay with their current caregivers to receive food and other necessities.

Kim Johnson, director of state’s department of social services, said $6.8 million would be used to pay for additional social workers, $3 million would support family resource centers and expand the 211 system and hotlines.

On Tuesday, Newsom said he will announce how the state plans to transition back to work. He plans to speak  on Thursday about revisions to the state budget. — Theresa Harrington


Friday, April 10, 7 p.m. Newsom releases $100 million for child care for essential workers, supplies for providers

Gov. Newsom announced the release of $50 million to pay for free child care for about 20,000 children of essential workers during the pandemic and shelter-in-place order. He also announced an additional $50 million to reimburse child care providers for supplies for health and safety, such as gloves, masks, and cleaning supplies.

— Zaidee Stavely


Friday, April 10, 2 p.m. Newsom: funds being distributed for childcare for frontline workers; beds identified, if needed, at UC and CSU campuses

While it’s too early to say when he may be ready to lift the statewide stay at home order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus,  Gpv. Newsom said he expects to release details soon about how the state will make that determination.

In the meantime, Newsom announced that the state is beginning to distribute a $50 million emergency appropriation to help fund childcare for frontline workers “to make sure they’re taking care of their families as they’re taking care of our families.” In some parts of the state, he said the funding would help pay for temporary childcare facilities.

Newsom also said the state is continuing to identify additional beds outside of hospital settings that could be used as alternative care centers if there is a surge in coronavirus cases late next month. In addition to sites such as the Sleep Train Pavilion in Sacramento, he said the state has identified beds at several University of California and California State University campuses, including some in the Sacramento region. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, April 9, 2:20 p.m. Governor says state may provide more support for student technology and summer programs, stresses help for LGBTQ youth 

Gov. Newsom said he is considering a budget request from department of education to purchase technology for online learning and provide summer support to prepare students for their return to schools in the fall. Newsom said he’s in talks with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.  He reiterated that Google is providing 100,000 WiFi hotspots, as well as thousands of Chromebooks. “But that’s not enough,” Newsom said. “There are gaps.” He said Thurmond requested more money to fill the gaps, as well as to help “make up for time lost,” including potential “summer support and preparing kids for the fall school year.”

“We are deeply focused on that,” Newsom said. “And over the next coming days and weeks, we should have a lot more to say on this subject.”

Newsom also addressed the needs of LGBTQ youth and young adults, especially those who are homeless. He said LGBTQ homeless youth are disproportionately represented in Los Angeles County, which has been a leader in focusing on this issue.

He reminded the public that the state has established a teen crisis help line and an LBGBTQ help line, among others, at covid19.ca.gov and pledged to “do everything in our power” to support nonprofit organizations and community centers as the state recovers from this crisis, noting that they will be “bearing the brunt” of dealing with vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ homeless youth. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, April 9, 1:30 p.m. New guidelines for child care centers and family child care homes

The California Department of Education and the California Department of Social Services have published new guidelines for child care centers, preschools, and family child care homes that are still open. Under the new guidelines, all children in child care must be kept in small groups of under 10, and stay with the same teacher every day. Child care providers are encouraged to keep children 6 feet apart as much as possible, by arranging play spaces and furniture, or using yarn or masking tape to create individual spaces for children to play alone or in small groups.

Child care programs that contract with the Department of Education to serve low-income children should notify current families that they are to stay home unless they are classified as an essential worker, or at-risk populations as defined below. New children can be enrolled in subsidy programs if all parents or caregivers are essential workers and cannot complete their work remotely and have assets under $1 million dollars. They can also be enrolled if they have disabilities or special health care needs, are homeless, in foster care or under the care of child protective services, or have been deemed at risk of being neglected or abused.

Guidelines from the California Department of Social Services for all early learning programs are here, and guidelines for those programs that receive funding from the California Department of Education to serve low-income children are here: The guidelines are in place until June 30.

— Zaidee Stavely


Wednesday, April 8, 9:40 p.m. United Teachers Los Angeles reaches deal with LA Unified

Teachers in Los Angeles will have the flexibility to create their own work schedules and will not be mandated to teach classes via live video under an agreement the Los Angeles Unified School District reached with the district’s teachers’ union, the union announced.

The union, United Teachers Los Angeles, reached the tentative agreement with California’s largest school district after weeks of bargaining, including 30 hours of negotiations this week. Prior to the agreement, major points of conflict included whether teachers should be required to teach over a live video platform and whether teachers should be able to set their own schedules or if those schedules should be set by schools.

In the end, the two sides agreed that using live video “is encouraged, but not required,” the agreement states. Meanwhile, teachers will get to set their own schedules but will be required to “create, share and follow a regular weekly schedule” that includes instruction, student support and three office hours each week.

Among many other provisions in the deal, the two sides also agreed that teachers will teach or provide student support for 240 minutes daily.

“The agreement reflects the extraordinary times we are in, when educators are doing a complete reset of our practice while dealing with the stress and uncertainty of a global pandemic that has upended our lives,” the union said in a statement.  “Our focus is on supporting our students and delivering instruction as equitably as possible given the extreme circumstances we are in and the needs of our own families and loved ones.”

The full agreement can be found here. Michael Burke


Wednesday, April 8, 5 p.m. State releases partial demographic data on coronavirus cases 

Gov. Newsom released partial state health department demographic data for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and those who have died, saying they essentially mirror the state’s population.  But, the data only reflects 37 percent of those infected and 39 percent of those who died. He said work continues to collect all of the data. Newsom said 16,957 people have tested positive, 2,714 are hospitalized, 1,154 are intensive care units and 442 people have died. Of those positive cases, 30 percent were Latino, 37 percent were white, 6 percent were African American, 14 percent were Asian, 2.5 percent were multiracial, 0.2 percent were American Indian or Alaska Natives, 1.6 percent were Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islander, and 9 percent were other races or ethnicities.

Of the deaths, 29 percent were Latino, 43 percent were white, 3 percent were African American, 16 percent were Asian, 2 percent were multiracial, 0.6 percent were American Indian or Alaska Natives, 1 percent were Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, and 5 percent were other races or ethnicities. Statewide, 39 percent of Californians are Latino, 37 percent are white, 6 percent are African American, 15 percent are Asian, 2 percent are multiracial, 0.5 percent are American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 0.3 percent are Native Hawaiians for Pacific Islanders.

Newsom also explained his decision to share ventilators with other states that the state’s health systems don’t need right now but expect to have returned to them when they do need them.   Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 8, 4 p.m. Three webinars on distance learning scheduled for tomorrow.

The California Department of Education will hold three webinars on April 9 on distance learning during school closures.

Instructional Strategies and English Learner Support will be the topic of a 12:30 p.m. session and highlight the work of Glendale Unified, Natomas Unified, and the education department’s English Learner Support Division resources. To attend by Facebook Live, go here or call using audio only at 669-900-6833, with meeting ID 182 060 732 and the password 180832.

The first of three sessions on providing social-emotional supports for students, Providing Tools for the Challenging Times, will run from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.  It will highlight practices, programs, and policies to strengthen student mental health supports. California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris will give the opening talk. To register through a co-sponsor, the nonprofit Wellness Together, go here. Other sessions will be held April 16 and 23.

Distance Learning Innovations for Special Education –Engaging Families, the second in a series, will begin at 3 p.m. Go here for the department website, where captioning will be available or here for Facebook Live. For audio only, call 669-900-6833 with meeting ID 578 443 966 and the password 180803. — John Fensterwald


Wednesday, April 8, 11:15 a.m.  Alternate care site for coronavirus patients established at Sonoma State University 

Sonoma County has partnered with Sonoma State University and the Petaluma Health Center to establish an alternate care site on the campus for coronavirus patients in response to the pandemic. The alternate care site will enable local hospitals to respond to patients with more acute hospital care needs, according to a news release.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that thousands of beds may be made available in similar alternate care sites on state-owned property, including dorms on university of California and California State University campuses. Sonoma State expects to accommodate up to 580 patients in its recreation center and in a portion of its on campus residential housing.

Patients testing positive for the coronavirus with mild- to moderate symptoms will be placed in the gymnasium of the recreation center while those awaiting test results will be placed in the residential units. People over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions, who are most vulnerable to the virus, will be placed in a separate residential housing complex. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, April 7.  Dr. Tony Fauci expects schools to be open in fall 

In the daily briefing at the White House, Dr. Tony Fauci said he expects schools to be open in the fall, but perhaps with some controls in place that weren’t in place previously “It’s going to be different, because this is not going to disappear.”   He suggested that the summer campus would still be affected by the epidemic.

These are his complete remarks from the White House transcript:

Well, my daughter is a schoolteacher, so she asked me the same question.  You know, it is unpredictable, but you can get a feel for — if we start talking about the things where the curve goes down, and we really have minimum — how we respond and what kind of a rebound we see or don’t see, I think, is going to have a lot of influence probably more immediately on things like summer camps than it does in the fall.

I fully expect — though I’m humble enough to know that I can’t accurately predict — that by the time we get to the fall, that we will have this under control enough that it certainly will not be the way it is now, where people are shutting schools.  My optimistic side tells me that we’ll be able to renew, to a certain extent.  But it’s going to be different, remember now, because this is not going to disappear.  So we’re going to have to have in place the capability of doing the things that we talk about all the time on this stage: to identify, to isolate, to contact trace — number one.

Number two, by that time, we’ll have a better feel with the antibody test, about what the actual penetrance of this infection was in society.  How many people have actually been infected?  Who is protected?  If you have antibody, it’s very likely that you’re protected.  Who’s vulnerable?  Do you treat vulnerables different than you treat the people who are protected?  All of these things are going to go into the decision of just how much back to the original way we’d like it to be in fall.

The bottom line is: No absolute prediction, but I think we’re going to be in good shape. — Louis Freedberg

Tuesday, April 7, 2:25 p.m. Six Bay Area counties agree to extend school campus closures through the end of the school year  

After consulting with their county public health officials, the Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco County Superintendents of Schools jointly announced that they have agreed to extend all campus closures through the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. However, students will continue to receive instruction through “distance learning,” many campuses will continue to distribute school meals, and some may provide childcare, as needed.

The school leaders had previously announced school closures through May 1. They agreed to extend that time frame after Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recently said that California’s students would not likely be able to return to schools before the summer break begins due to the need to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. — Theresa Harrington

Tuesday, April 7, 1:55 p.m. Governor announces new stress guidance for adults, caregivers and children 

To help families deal with stress, fear and anxieties related to the spread of the coronavirus, the statewide stay at home order and mass school closures, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during his daily news briefing that California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris has created “Stress Playbooks” for adults, caregivers. The guidance, available at covid19.ca.gov, includes checklists, resources and chat lines in up to 170 languages for domestic violence, child abuse, teens in crisis, LGBTQ issues, as well as substance abuse and other topics, he said.

Burke Harris said stress can affect people’s appetites and cause headaches, abdominal pain, increases in blood sugar, exacerbate asthma, and affect moods, causing depression or anger that can result in family violence. She said people with a history of trauma or adversity can be at greater risk of these responses to stress.

Stable, nurturing relationships help alleviate stress, Burke Harris said. She recommended that people eat nutritious meals, exercise, practice mindfulness or meditation, get plenty of sleep and stay connected to others who can provide social and spiritual supports.

Newsom said 15,865 people in the state had tested positive for the coronavirus so far, a 10.7% increase from the previous day, with 2,611 hospitalized and 1,108 in intensive care units. He said 374 people in California have died.

In response to a question about whether the virus was disproportionately affecting African-Americans, as has been reported in some other states, Newsom said he expects to be able to report racial and ethnic breakdowns in the next few days. Burke Harris said some people in African-American communities don’t trust the healthcare system and that it is important for “trusted elders” to deliver the “life-saving message that we need to stay home.” — Theresa Harrington

Monday, April 6, 1:50 p.m. Governor says it’s too early to tell whether school closures may extend into fall

When asked whether the coronavirus may ebb and flow based on the seasons and if school closures may extend into the fall if there’s a rebound, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during his daily news briefing that it’s too early to tell. He noted that he has heard speculation about the “seasonality” of the virus, but has seen no data based on what is happening in California that he considers reliable.

“There are no patterns that exist within the state that would lead us to conclude that is the case,” he said, adding that decisions about when students should go back to school or when employees should go back to work must be made based on “facts on the ground.”

Newsom said 14,336 people had tested positive for the virus as of the morning of April 6, with 2,509 hospitalized and 1,085 in intensive care units — a 4.6 percent increase in hospitalizations since the previous day and a 4.3 percent increase in ICU patients from the previous day. He said 343 people have died. Based on this, he said the state continues to predict that cases will peak in mid-May in California.

He noted that Californians have been doing a good job of physical distancing, but warned that if they get “cabin fever” and start to congregate as the weather gets warmer this week, the virus could spread more quickly. “I remind everybody to continue to double down on what has been working here in the state,” he said. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, April 6, 9 a.m. Legislative Analyst’s Office examines budget reserves, federal aid

The Legislative Analyst’s Office released two reports April 5 on the revenue and budget implications on California of the coronavirus pandemic. One examines the impact of the three congressional coronavirus relief acts on state, county and local governments and on education. This includes the biggest appropriation, the CARES Act, which will provide to California $1.6 billion to K-12, $1.7 to higher education and $355 million to government institutions at any level.

The second analysis examines existing budget reserves at the state and local school district levels that would  be available to dampen the impact of likely cuts in state revenue this year and in 2020-21. The size of local reserves vary widely, but “few districts have enough to maintain current service levels for an extended period if revenues were to decline significantly,” the LAO concludes. — John Fensterwald


Friday, April 3, 1:50 p.m. Governor calls staying home a “civic duty,” encourages people to volunteer to help others

Stressing that California anticipates its peak surge in coronavirus cases to come during the first two weeks of May, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his daily news briefing that he considers staying home to be a “civic duty” that will save lives. He said there were 10,710 cases of the virus in the state so far, with 2,188 hospitalized and 901 in intensive care units – a 10.4 % increase from the previous day. About 237 people have died.

Newsom urged people who want to volunteer to help others in their communities to visit serve.ca.gov, which links to a California volunteers website that includes information about food banks and other organizations. — Theresa Harrington

Friday, April 3, 10:30 am. Advanced Placement exams move online in May with anti-cheating measures 

In response to the coronavirus crisis, much-shortened versions of Advanced Placement exams will be administered online — accessible even on iPhones — from May 11-22.  The tests, which will be reduced from 3 hours to 45 minutes, will be open-book and will include only written responses, no multiple choice questions, according to the an announcement Friday by the College Board, the tests’ sponsor.

Security measures will be implemented to discourage cheating, as the tests are moved from schools to homes, according to the announcement. Among them are anti-plagiarism software plus a very human element: High school AP teachers will receive copies of test answers and will review them to spot inconsistencies with students’ previous known work, the College Board said. Cheaters face harsh sanctions, including notification to colleges to which they applied for possible admissions revocation.

AP test takers can earn college credit if they score high enough on the AP exams, which are offered in 38 subjects such as biology, U.S. history and Spanish. Good scores also help boost college applicant’s chances at competitive schools. Last year, 2.8 million students – including 423,000 Californians – took the exams and many took at least two.

A series of free online prep classes will be available and help is available for students who do not have the technology or internet service needed for the tests. – Larry Gordon

Thursday, April 2, 4:30 p.m. State hosts first in a new series of webinars on special education 

Communication, collaboration and regular routines are among the keys to successful online education for students in special education, according to a webinar hosted by the California Department of Education April 2. Led by Director of Special Education Kristin Wright, the hour-long webinar included tips and resources from special education teachers around the state on how to reach families and maintain connections with students during school closures.

The department will host free, publicly accessible weekly webinars on special education to help teachers, administrators and families serve students with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic. The webinars will be streamed on the department’s Facebook page, with more information available on the department’s website. Anyone with ideas or questions about special education and online education can email sedinfo@cde.ca.gov.  — Carolyn Jones


Thursday, April 2, 2 p.m. State is assessing where to deploy free Wi-Fi and Chromebooks

On April 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Google is donating 4,000 Chromebooks and 100,000 WiFi hot spots to students in rural areas to support distance learning. But it is still unclear exactly how the California Department of Education will distribute the Chromebooks and Wi-Fi devices. State education officials are now in the process of collecting and analyzing data about where students lack access to the internet and devices, according to Kindra Britt, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education. “Once we have the data, we can begin to make decisions about distribution,” she said. —  Sydney Johnson


Thursday, April 2, 2 p.m. Governor reiterates need to close schools through end of school year

Gov. Gavin Newsom reiterated during his daily news briefing that “kids are not going to go back” to their school campuses this school year. They are, however, going to continue working at home through distance learning, he said, adding that it is appropriate for the state to meet this moment by shutting down schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“I can’t be more clear about this,” he said, adding that it would not make sense to send more than 6 million children back to school at a time when they could come home and infect their grandparents. Current estimates predict the peak surge in coronavirus cases in California will occur in mid-May.

Newsom said schools must now focus on strengthening their approaches to distance learning, distributing meals to those who need them, and making sure kids are working at home “despite the deep anxiety and stress” their families are feeling.

He also warned that as the state responds to the coronavirus, its budget is being greatly impacted, which will affect the so-called May revise. “I think we should be prepared for substantial adjustments in our budget,” he said. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, April 2, 12:55 p.m. California education systems issue statement on helping students through admissions challenges

California’s leading higher education and K-12 systems issued a joint statement highlighting their efforts to help high school and community college students face admissions challenges that have arisen during the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement was issued by the California State Board of Education, California Department of Education, California State University, University of California, California Community Colleges, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.

In the statement, they noted that the higher education systems will accept “credit” grades rather than traditional letter grades for any of the required A-G high school courses completed in winter, spring or summer 2020. Community college students can also use “credit” grades for prerequisite courses when attempting to transfer to a four-year university this fall, the statement notes.

The higher education systems are also offering flexibility for when students have to submit their official transcripts and will re-evaluate eligibility for financial aid for families “whose circumstances have changed,” the systems said in the statement. Michael Burke


Thursday, April 2, 12:30 p.m. UTLA attacks “rogue onerous directives” from principals 

In a sign of rising tensions on the teacher-administrator front, UTLA’s president Alex Caputo-Pearl said teachers are not going to stand “for ridiculous micro management, onerous directives, time-wasting regimens” that he said some principals are trying to impose. The union launched a campaign on its website against what it calls “onerous directives.” — Louis Freedberg


Wednesday, April 1, 5:30 p.m. Guidance issued on grades and graduation requirements 

School districts are free to offer classes for credit/no credit, pass/fail or a modified A-D grading system.  That is just one of the many issues outlined in detailed guidance from the California Department of Education on grading and graduation requirements. It explains, for example, that UC and CSU are willing to accept credit/no credit grades in lieu of letter grades for all courses, including A-G courses completed in winter/spring/summer 2020 for all students.


Wednesday, April 1, 5:30 p.m. Emergency bill provides $100 million for schools

California school districts will share $100 million to help clean schools, provide meals for students, keep staff safe and to offer distance learning infrastructure, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced April 1.

The money was authorized by Senate Bill 117, one of two COVID-19 emergency bills passed by the California Legislature on March 17.

“I am very grateful to the members of the state Legislature for their rapid response in providing this essential funding to assist LEAs during this very challenging time,” Thurmond said.

School districts will receive $17.37 for each average day of daily attendance at their schools in 2019-20, according to a press release from the California Department of Education. The money will be dispersed within the next four days. — Diana Lambert


Wednesday, April 1, 3:15 p.m. Governor discusses state’s education plans

Gov. Gavin Newsom was joined in his daily news briefing by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Linda Darling, president of the State Board of Education, who spoke via phone about plans for distance learning, meal distribution and childcare during school closures. Newsom announced that the state has received a federal waiver that will allow it to provide free meals to more students in high-poverty schools and that Google has agreed to provide 100,000 “points of access” for free Internet service for a minimum of three months to those who don’t have it, along with thousands of Chromebooks.

Newsom also said the state has been working with districts and higher education institutions to resolve issues around grades, tests, and graduation and college admissions requirements.

Thurmond said schools should plan to provide distance learning through the end of the school year. He said the state is surveying districts about their needs and working with philanthropies to help provide devices and internet access.

Darling-Hammond said 20 percent of students lacked internet connectivity when schools first closed, but that is now down to about 10 percent and the state is working to close that gap. She said the state is working with both public and private nonprofit colleges and universities on flexibilities for payments, transcripts, and the need for financial aid based on new circumstances families may be experiencing.

Newsom said he would sign new executive orders in the next couple of days that would lay out some of the guidelines referenced by Thurmond and Darling-Hammond. He said there have been 171 deaths related to the coronavirus in California as of this morning and reminded the public to stay at home to “bend the curve.” — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, April 1, 12:55 p.m.

Google will provide Chromebook laptops and more than 100,000 WiFi hot spots across California for free for a minimum of three months to help students who will need to continue with schoolwork via distance learning, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced April 1. More details to come. — Anne Vasquez


Tuesday, March 31, 6:21 p.m.

Affirming a prediction that Gov. Gavin Newsom made exactly two weeks ago, California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is recommending that the state’s public schools plan to provide distance learning to students through the end of their school year.

“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year,” Thurmond wrote in a letter sent to the state’s 58 county superintendents of schools on Tuesday morning.

Thurmond stressed that health concerns are paramount in determining when schools should be reopen.  “The need for safety through social distancing warrants that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic,” he said. — Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald 

Tuesday, March 31, 5:30 p.m. Legislators want accountability for delivering meals, distance learning

Concerned about an “uneven” rollout of free meals and distance learning across the state, two dozen legislators called on Gov. Gavin Newsom this week to work with the Legislature to hold school districts and charter schools accountable for meeting their responsibilities.

The letter, written by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, noted that Newsom’s March 13 executive order on providing nutrition and high-quality learning during school closures lacked financial penalties for non-compliance. While some districts have made extraordinary efforts, others appear to have insufficient plans or none at all. In an interview, O’Donnell said that weeks into the closure, districts should be transitioning from enrichment to more organized learning. “These are extraordinary times. I understand the predicament,” he said. “But I’m hoping to see districts having programs up and running on the state standards.” The Legislature adjourned earlier this month and at this point plans to return to Sacramento in mid-April. — John Fensterwald


Tuesday, March 31, 4 p.m. California universities and colleges could provide hospital space if needed

During a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said if a coronavirus surge happens and there is a need for more hospital beds, the state could tap into about 5,000 beds identified in the University of California and California State University systems.

The state is currently adding up to 50,000 hospital beds to add to an existing 75,000 beds and has been looking at convention centers, hotels and fairgrounds to fill the need. If more beds are needed, which Newsom described as phase two, the state could turn to colleges and universities. A spokesman for the California Community Colleges said of their 11 residential halls, about 300 beds were identified.

“Our hope is that a second stage will not be needed because Californians will continue to stay at home to save lives,” said Kate Folmar, a spokeswoman for the California Health and Human Services Agency. — Ashley A. Smith


Monday, March 30, 5:30 p.m. Sacramento union proposes buying Chromebooks with health insurance savings

The Sacramento City Unified teachers union is asking the district to use the $1.7 million in savings from lower employee health insurance costs to purchase Chromebooks for all of the 40,000 students needing them. The one-time money, the result of union negotiations, has not been spent. The state’s 13th-largest district is scheduled to launch districtwide distance learning on April 13, but protracted negotiations on what the shift to online learning would involve has slowed the process.

The Chromebook purchase, announced at a press conference March 30, is one element of the union’s proposed four-page memorandum of understanding that includes additional pay for training days. The district had not yet commented on whether it would agree to all or parts of the document. But district spokeswoman Tara Gallegos said after the press conference that the district has already placed a $5.1 million order for 20,000 Chromebooks, using money from a school construction bond, which should cover the need.

Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher also said the union was working to see if internet providers like Comcast would provide free WiFi for students and possibly staff through the end of the school year.


Monday, March 30, 12:30 p.m. California nursing and medical students can apply for temporary licenses 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a new initiative March 30 that would increase the number of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in the workforce to help fight the coronavirus. The California Health Corps will give state licensing boards the flexibility to award temporary licenses and expand the scope of practice to health care professionals through June 30.

“Individuals who may have retired in the last five years or are in the process of getting licensed or are licensed, people in nursing schools and nearing completion, we encourage them to get on this platform,” Newsom said.  Medical and nursing students can join the new California Health Corps at healthcorps.ca.gov.

Those who participate in the corps will be paid and given malpractice insurance coverage and deployed based on their skills, experience, interest and location preferences. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will provide stipends to Health Corps workers through a $25 million donation to cover transportation, child care support and hotel rooms. — Ashley A. Smith


Sunday, March 29, 11 p.m.  Most of  California’s largest districts will be closed until at least May 1. 

Large numbers of school districts have set May 1 as the date until when they will be closed.  According to an EdSource review, 20 the state’s largest 30 districts have said they will be closed for in-class instruction through May 1.  Another two will be closed through April 30.  Two have not set any date. One (Elk Grove) will offer online instruction through the end of its school year. With Pres. Trump’s statement on Sunday that he will extend federal guidance for social distancing until April 30, all other districts will presumably also extend their closure dates at least until the end of April or May 1.


Sunday, March 29 5: 24 p.m. Gov. Newsom to announce initiative to strengthen health care workforce

California Governor Gavin Newsom will announce a “major initiative to surge the health care workforce to fight COVID-19” at noon Monday, according to an advisory issued Sunday by the Governor’s Office. Newsom has said it was a priority to get nursing students nearing graduation licensed and to quickly get medical students through graduation and working. The announcement follows calls from others  for the governor to ease regulations affecting nurses and medical students.  CSU Chancellor Tim White is among those who urged the governor to ease the state’s nurse training requirements so that 14,000 student nurses can get to work to help slow the pandemic. –– Ali Tadayon


Friday, March 27, 4:30 p.m. Number of confirmed Covid-19 cases increases to seven at UC Berkeley

Four UC Berkeley students who recently returned from study abroad in Spain have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the university. The students are self-isolating. One student is being treated by University Health Services. University of California Education Abroad officials have sent letters to program participants and advised them to contact their health provider if they develop symptoms.

As of Wednesday, there are seven known cases of Covid-19 within the UC Berkeley community but no known on-campus exposures. — Ashley A. Smith


Friday, March 27, 4:20 p.m. California gets preliminary OK to waive standardized tests

With unusual speed, the U.S. Department of Education has given preliminary approval to California’s request to waive standardized testing for this school year and the requirement to include the test data that would have been produced in the state’s school accountability system, the California School Dashboard. The waived tests will include the Smarter Balanced math and science tests, the assessment on the Next Generation Science Standards and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California for English learners.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Friday that he had received notification. It was not unexpected, since President Donald Trump already had said he would suspend tests nationwide. Nonetheless, final approval awaits the end of a public comment period on April 15. For information on where to submit comments, go here. — John Fensterwald


Friday, March 27, 3:30 p.m. Governor touches on education-related issues in daily briefing

During a press conference in Los Angeles, Gov. Gavin Newsom reiterated that the state is working to help get fourth-year medical students into the workforce more quickly than they might have anticipated through temporary licensing to meet the demand on healthcare systems expected as coronavirus cases surge throughout California over the next few weeks.

He praised the work being done at medical centers statewide to help come up with new treatments and tests, including UC medical centers, Stanford University and the University of Southern California. One such effort, he said, involves the creation of swabs for tests using 3D printing technology.

Newsom said the new federal stimulus package will provide more money for higher education and K-12 education in California, but he warned that the overall package would not be enough to meet all of the state’s needs and said more will be necessary. State officials, he said, are reassessing California’s budget and will make adjustments to spending plans due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Out of 88,400 tests conducted in the state so far, Newsom said tens of thousands are still waiting for results. As of 10 a.m., he said there were 3,801 positive tests for coronavirus, a 26 percent increase from the previous day. “So I caution people, as it relates to numbers, to consider the magnitude of tests that haven’t come back yet,” he said.

As Californians head into the second weekend since Newsom issued a statewide order to stay home, he reminded the public that parking lots in 98 state parks have been shut down, primarily along the coast, “to reduce what we experienced last weekend,” when people did not practice social distancing. “We’ll see what happens this weekend,” he said, adding that the state is prepared to “ratchet up” efforts to minimize gatherings if necessary. — Theresa Harrington


Friday, March 27, 2:45 p.m. Sacramento County school closures extended through May 1

All 13 Sacramento County school districts and the Sacramento County Office of Education will be closed through May 1 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according a press release from the county office of education.

The extension means most schools will be closed for seven weeks, instead of the two to three weeks initially planned.

Elk Grove Unified has indicated that it will continue distance learning through May 29, the end of the school year.

“Our primary concern is the well-being of our students, staff, and families,” said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon. “It is absolutely crucial we all work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must follow stay-at-home orders and continue to support learning at home.”

The decision came after school officials consulted with the Sacramento County Department of Public Health. — Diana Lambert


Friday, March 27, 1:45 p.m. Grading policies changed at California community colleges

Several changes are being made to grading policies for California’s community colleges, the system’s chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley announced March 27. Students at the colleges will be allowed to retake any class attempted during the coronavirus crisis and, if they do, grades from their first attempt will not count toward their grade point averages. The system is also waiving the deadline for students to select a pass/no pass grading option instead of a traditional letter grade. Additionally, any “no pass” grades received by students will not be considered as part of probation and dismissal decisions. Typically, students can be put on academic probation or even be dismissed from their colleges if they don’t meet minimum grade point average requirements. — Michael Burke


Thursday, March 26, 3:28 p.m. Financial aid reform ‘put on pause’ amid pandemic

A state effort to significantly boost financial aid to cover non-tuition costs for community college students “will be put on pause for now,” said Marlene Garcia, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, during a commission meeting March 26. The commission, which is a state agency, in February proposed a reform of California’s financial aid system that would have resulted in more than 300,000 community college students becoming newly eligible for Cal Grants, state awards that students don’t have to pay back, to cover non-tuition costs. The maximum grants available to students also would have more than tripled from $1,672 to $6,000.

Implementing the reform would cost between $1.1 and $1.6 billion annually. Garcia said that “the guidance from the state is don’t expect any new funding” amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, Garcia added that students’ basic needs should be a “key investment” of any funding that becomes available through federal or state emergency stimulus packages. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 25, 5:55 p.m. UC Davis-led online learning project gets $1 million grant

With most teaching going online because of the coronavirus, a $1 million grant from the state of California will help bring personalized learning to students, according to a press release from UC Davis.

The grant will help LibreTexts, a national consortium led by the university, develop, test and distribute a new adaptive learning platform that complements its library of virtual textbooks and other resources.

“Adaptive learning is like having a virtual tutor that responds to the performance and needs of individual students,” said UC Professor Delmar Larson, who launched the project in 2008 to create online resources to replace textbooks.

The Libretext website allows instructors to assemble information for their classes and for college students to access textbooks and other materials for free. — Diana Lambert


Wednesday, March 25, 3:55 p.m. Gov. Gavin Newsom reiterates help for schools during closures

During his daily Facebook briefing, Gov. Gavin Newsom said schools are getting $100 million in aid from the state Legislature to help pay for protective gear if employees are going to schools to conduct distance learning or food distribution, but added that the state budget released in January will need to be adjusted since the anticipated surplus may no longer be available.

He stressed that one size does not fit all when it comes to the way schools are dealing with the coronavirus, noting that the learning environment in rural areas such as Tulare County are different from those in more urban areas. Newsom warned that families participating in distance learning and other online activities should be careful of phishing or hacking attempts and reiterated that the state has released detailed guidance to schools about how to continue instruction during school closures, as well as food distribution.

He cautioned that we are not close to lifting the stay-at-home order, saying we are not even a week or two away and everyone needs to continue to stay home to “bend the curve.” As of 10 a.m., he said 2,535 individuals have tested positive in the state, a 17 percent increase from the previous day, with more than 40 lives lost, including a 17-year-old, whose death is still being investigated.

Of those testing positive:
37: under 18
1,278: 18-49
638: 50-64
562 : 65 or older
20: ages unknown. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 25, 3:20 p.m. Senate bill still includes special education provision

Congressional leaders were still haggling over details in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, but a provision that could affect special education in the U.S. remains in the bill. The act orders Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, within 30 days, to draw up recommendations for waivers to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the law which ensures students with disabilities a free public education.

Her recommendations could also affects students with 504 plans, which allow students with learning disabilities certain accommodations in the classroom, such as extra time on tests. Advocates have said the provision empowers DeVos to make significant, and possibly permanent, changes to the 45-year-old law. Some school board officials have said waivers are necessary to ensure districts are in compliance with special education regulations, as schools shift to online learning to stem the spread of the coronavirus. — Carolyn Jones


Wednesday, March 25, 11:30 a.m. California counties, districts extend school closures

Many California districts and entire county offices of education are extending their temporary school closure dates days after Gov. Gavin Newsom said he suspects schools could remained shut until summer. Districts and counties are also warning families that reopen dates could again shift depending on how the coronavirus situation develops. See EdSource’s updated list of California school closures here.

Public health officers in six Bay Area counties, in collaboration with the county superintendents, announced a regional decision to extend all school closures through May 1 in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The decision was made to protect students, staff and the community from the spread of the coronavirus.

Some school facilities may remain open during this time to provide “essential” services such as meal distribution, distance learning and childcare, where possible. If health officials and school leaders decide to extend closures beyond May 1, a new announcement will be made in the future.

Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest district, said earlier this week that its schools will remain closed until at least May 1. Riverside County schools will also remain closed until at least  May 1. Long Beach Unified will now remain closed through May 4 and Elk Grove Unified will transition to online learning through the end of its school year, May 29. — Theresa Harrington, Sydney Johnson


Wednesday, March 25, 9:55 a.m. Stanford University coronavirus cases

Stanford University reported that one student living on campus has tested positive for coronavirus and is being quarantined. Twenty-four other people with ties to the campus, including students, faculty, staff or temporary researchers with doctorate degrees, known as “postdocs,” have tested positive, but are self-isolating in their communities in the Bay Area and beyond, seeking medical treatment as needed. These figures also include Stanford School of Medicine employees.

The university said it could not provide additional details about the cases, due to privacy concerns. However, it plans to update information related to coronavirus cases regularly online here. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m. Gov. Newsom on young people’s vulnerability to the virus 

In his March 24 Facebook appearance, Gov. Newsom, referring to the death of the  teenager in Lancaster, said the “tragic loss of a young life underscores the enormity of the challenge in front of us, and how it can affect anybody and everybody.”

He went on to say the following:

“Young people can and will be impacted by this virus. In fact, young people disproportionately are the ones testing positive in the state of California – 50 percent of the 2,102 individuals that have tested positive, 50 percent are between the age of 18 and 49. I’ll repeat that. Half of those tested positive to date in the state of California, are 18 to 49 years old. This disease impacts everybody. The question is the acuity and the hospitalization rate that, yes, does skew on the side of older populations, but with this tragic new death, it is a reminder to everybody to take this seriously. It’s a health crisis. It needs to be met first and foremost head on as such.

That’s why it is incumbent upon young Californians to continue to take our stay at home order seriously,  to continue to do the kind of social distancing that common sense dictates, and to heed the warnings we advanced yesterday to stay out of settings like beaches and parks where you’re coming into close contact with others. Practice social distancing.  We had to step up our enforcement yesterday as it relates to shutting down those parking facilities, the consequences of which remind people of the seriousness of it. But what more evidence do you need than the loss of a young person’s life?

I just cannot impress upon young people out there more the seriousness of this moment and how critical they are to ultimately getting us on the other side, by practicing that social distancing that we all are accustomed to hearing about but not in every case advancing individually.”

In that same live-streamed Facebook media appearance, Newsom shared the following:

On the role of community colleges:

In a Facebook appearance, Newsom praised the state’s community college system for providing 60 ventilators to the state and called it the backbone of our state’s emergency workforce, saying some estimate that up to 70 percent of first responders have been trained in the community college system.

Latest statistics

Newsom also shared the latest statistics as of 10 a.m. March 24: 40 people in the state have died from the coronavirus out of 2,102 people who have tested positive – a 17.5 percent increase from the previous day.

When asked if the state’s order to stay at home might be lifted in April, Newsom said he did not believe that would be possible, based on the estimates he has seen related to the likely spread of the virus over the next eight to 12 weeks.

“Let us not have to once again announce that a teenager lost their life because we didn’t take this moment seriously,” he said.

Louis Freedberg 


Tuesday, March 24, 1:35 p.m.  Death of teenager

Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health reported its first death of a person under 18 from the coronavirus. The individual lived in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles. No other details were released.


Tuesday, March 24, 1:35 p.m.  Latest statistics as of 2 p.m. March 22 

Statewide, as of 2 p.m. March 22, there were 1,733 positive cases of coronavirus and 27 deaths.

Ages of all confirmed positive cases:

Age 0-17: 25 cases
Age 18-49: 837 cases
Age 50-64: 442 cases
Age 65+: 415 cases
Unknown: 14 cases

 Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 24, 1:10 p.m.   Students test positive 

Two students at Cal State Long Beach have tested positive for the coronavirus, the university announced Tuesday. Both students are isolated off campus. One of the two students has not been on campus for two weeks. For the other student, “there was no opportunity for on-campus exposure,” said Kimberly Fodran, the university’s co-director of student health services, in a message to the campus.

“While it was to be expected that The Beach family eventually would be affected by this pandemic, we were saddened to hear this news,” Fodran said.


Tuesday, March 24, 12:15 p.m.  Surgeon-general issues a video on Twitter 

State surgeon general Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris has released a 1-minute video on Twitter to help parents and caregivers talk to children about coronavirus.

Burke-Harris urges adults to approach the conversation in a calm way, ask what children have heard and allow them to share their fears, correct any misinformation, reassure them, and remind them about the importance proper hygiene, healthy eating and exercise.

In addition, Burke-Harris stresses the need for adults to take care of themselves. She urges the public to visit www.covid19.ca.gov for coronavirus information and resources, which are updated regularly. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 6:35 p.m. Getting medical students into the workforce

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is working to get fourth-year medical students into the workforce as quickly as possible, along with those in licensed nursing degree programs, to help meet the anticipated surge in coronavirus cases expected over the next eight to 12 weeks. Newsom made the comments during an early evening news conference, stressing that that there is currently no end date to his statewide “stay at home” order.

To better enforce social distancing, Newsom said parking lots for state parks are being closed immediately and that many state parks will also close, after they were overrun by crowds last weekend. Saying he does not want to close all big, beautiful open spaces, Newsom stressed the importance of maintaining social distancing and “not lingering” while enjoying them. A current list of closed parks and park facilities is at parks.ca.gov.

“For the next week or two we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’re going to have to get very, very serious and lean in and hit this moment head-on.”

Referring to a statement he made a few days ago about his estimate that schools may be closed through the end of the school year, Newsom said: “I’ve been very honest with you about the school system, and my estimation of what we’re going to be faced with over the next eight weeks.” He added that as soon as he has more clarity, he will share it with the public, just as he shares it with his wife and children. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 5:15 p.m. Excused withdrawals at community colleges 

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley signed an executive order Friday ensuring that students who drop a class while campuses are closed due to the Coronavirus will not be academically or financially penalized. The order allows students to drop classes as an “excused withdrawal,” which will not count against them. It also allows students to be refunded enrollment fees for those classes, according to a California Community Colleges news release.

The order also ensures that teaching and learning will continue at the 115 California community colleges, the news release said, by allowing all in-person classes — including labs — to be moved online. — Ali Tadayon


Monday, March 23, 1:35 p.m.  $20 billion education fund debated in Congress 

A $20 billion Education Stabilization Fund to provide relief for states appears assured of passing – if Senate Democrats and Republicans can settle their differences on the bigger pieces of a $1.6 trillion coronavirus relief fund that, for now, is stalled in Congress.

Education advocacy groups are hoping the $20-plus billion in relief is a down payment toward the $100 billion that the federal government provided in 2009 to combat shrinking state revenues during the Great Recession. That package included $53.6 billion to states to cover school expenses over two years.

According to Politico, the current bill for $20 billion would be broken down as follows (assume roughly 10 percent in each category would go to California):

  • $12 billion for K-12, primarily distributed based on a state’s population of low-income students, for a wide range of purposes, including teacher training, planning for long-term school shutdowns and technology.
  • $6 billion for higher ed, distributed primarily based on Pell Grant recipients; half of the money would to emergency grants to students “for expenses directly related to coronavirus and the disruption of campus operations.”
  • $2 billion in discretionary education dollars for governors.

A separate section of the bill would provide “immediate assistance” to child care providers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program and $250 million for Head Start for coronavirus-related costs. – John Fensterwald


Monday, March 23, 1:15 p.m.  CDC issues tips for children to stay health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new tips to help keep children healthy while school is out. The tips include information about children’s overall low risk of contracting coronavirus, noting that mild symptoms tend to include coughing, runny nose, sneezing and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

The guidance also reminds families about the importance of proper hygiene and sanitizing, as well as social distancing. In addition, it includes suggested routines for continuing children’s education at home. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 11:35 a.m.  Verizon to offer internet access to LA Unified

Los Angeles Unified, in partnership with Verizon, plans to spend $100 million to provide internet access to all students in the district who don’t already have that access at home, district Superintendent Austin Beutner announced March 23. The district, which is the largest in the state, enrolls more than 600,000 students and estimates that 25 percent of those students don’t have internet at home. As part of the $100 million investment, the district will also provide devices to all students who need them. Further details on how the district will distribute those devices and set up internet access will be provided shortly, Beutner said.

Meanwhile, L.A. Unified and San Diego Unified, the second-biggest district in the state, in a joint letter on March 23 asked the state Legislature to consider emergency state funding for school districts to help with distance learning and other challenges. They asked for a minimum of $500 per student, saying that they were facing severe fiscal challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Said simply, our budgets will not balance for the current fiscal year because of the extraordinary costs associated with responding to the global pandemic. We request an additional emergency appropriation to address these unforeseen costs,” Beutner and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten wrote in the letter. — Michael Burke


Monday, March 23, 11:15 a.m.  Advanced Placement tests to be offered online 

The College Board has announced that it is moving Advanced Placement testing online during coronavirus school closures. Students will be able to take 45-minute online exams at home using a computer, tablet or smart phone. Photos of written work may also be allowed.

Each testing subject will have two different dates, which will be announced April 3. Tests will focus on material covered through early March.

Starting March 25, free online study review courses will be available here. In addition, any students who have already registered for exams can cancel at no charge.

Support for AP teachers can be found here. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 9:15 a.m.  L.A. Unified to stay closed until May 1 — at least

Schools at California’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, will stay closed until at least May 1, superintendent Austin Beutner said in a statement Monday morning. Schools in the district, which enroll more than 600,000 students, have been closed since March 16. Beutner’s announcement Monday comes after L.A. County Superintendent Debra Duardo said Friday she was recommending all public schools in the county stay closed through May 5. The county has 80 school districts.

“I wish I could tell you it will all be back to normal sometime soon but it does not look like that will the case,” Beutner said in the statement Monday. Beutner will give a “more complete update” at 11 a.m. Monday, he said. – Michael Burke

Sunday, March 22, 8:00 a.m.  Governor warns young people to stay home

Gov. Gavin Newsom, during comments late Saturday on how Californians need to use “common sense” to ward off the spread of the coronavirus, had pointed words for young people who may be taking the stay at home and social distancing orders lightly. “Those young people that are still out there on the beaches thinking this is a party? Time to grow up. Time to wake up. Time to recognize it’s not just about the old folks. It’s about your impact on their lives. Don’t be selfish. Recognize you have responsibility to meet this moment as well.” Newsom’s order allows only essential trips for food or prescriptions. Outdoor walking or exercising is allowed as long as people stay six feet apart.

Saturday, March 21,  10:34 p.m.  School staff member tests positive in Sacramento

A member of the Riverview STEM Academy school staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. The employee was not a teacher at the Rancho Cordova school and worked with a small number of students, according to information released by the district. The school employee last worked on March 12, began experiencing symptoms the next day and did not return to work. The employee has been isolated and is recovering, according to the district. The school district was informed of the illness by Sacramento Public Health late on March 20. The school district, along with all Sacramento County schools, closed its schools on March 16. – Diana Lambert


Saturday, March 21, 4 p.m.  California Department of Education issues guidance for school districts

On Friday, the California Department of Education issued new guidelines for districts on how to handle special education during the corona virus crisis. Among other things, the guidance says that school districts could “consider providing classroom-based instruction to small groups of students with disabilities that have extensive support needs, despite the fact that the school site has closed, consistent with federal, state, and local health directives related to Covid-19.”   CDE also notes that as of now the federal government has not waived the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. —  Louis Freedberg


Saturday, March 21, 10:30 a.m.  College commencement plans in flux

UCLA has partially reversed its plan to replace this year’s commencement with an on-line graduation ceremony. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block apologized to students for not consulting them and pledged to work with student leadership to come up with an alternative, which may include a postponement of a face-to-face event.

USC is postponing is postponing its commencement ceremonies this year. The California State University system also announced earlier this week that graduation day ceremonies would likely be postponed as part of the system’s push to eliminate gatherings and large events. UC Merced has also postponed its ceremony, which was scheduled for May.


Friday, March 20, 2:05 p.m.  Oakland Unified school board meets online

Based on guidance in an executive order signed March 17 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Oakland Unified school board held an entirely virtual meeting on March 19, which it believes was one of the first in the state.  The board unanimously declared a state of emergency due to coronavirus and authorized Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell to enter into contracts related to the virus of up to $500,000 each through May 27, due to school closures.

More than 100 community members logged onto Zoom to watch the meeting, including several who contributed public comments by using the “raise your hand” feature. The board used the “share your screen” option to show amendments to the resolution.

Boards can use teleconferencing technology to conduct meetings online “only during the period in which state or local public health officials have imposed or recommended social distancing measures,” according to the executive order. — Theresa Harrington


Friday, March 20, 11:40 a.m.  CSU chancellor delays retirement

California State University Chancellor Tim White will delay his retirement amid the coronavirus crisis and stay in the role through the fall, the university system announced Friday. 

The search for White’s successor, which was nearing a conclusion, will also be put on hold and resume later this year.

White announced his retirement last year and said he wanted to leave the system by this summer but would be willing to stay as late as December, depending on the progress of the search for his successor. Now, there is no specific date scheduled for him to step down. 

CSU system officials were preparing for the selection of a new chancellor, with a likely announcement during the March 24 meeting of the system’s trustees. The search committee had been working for months and reportedly was focusing on finalists. But the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the final selection and the introduction of a new chancellor. Travel restrictions also would restrict any candidates from being interviewed in-person by the trustees.

Perhaps more important, the CSU leaders decided that stability is needed for the next stretch of time, with veteran administrators like White remaining on hand.

“As the world faces an unprecedented crisis, now more than ever, it is crucially important for stable and experienced hands to provide thoughtful guidance on all areas affecting the operations of the university,” CSU Board of Trustees Chairman Adam Day said in a statement.

Michael Burke and Larry Gordon


Friday, March 20, 10:30 a.m.  U.S. Department of Education announces relief on student loans

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Friday that the Federal Student Aid office will provide student loan relief to millions of borrowers because of the impact of the coronavirus.

All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have interest rates set at 0 percent for at least 60 days. Borrowers also have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months without worrying about accruing interest.

“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” DeVos said.  “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need.”

Borrowers should contact their loan servicer online or by phone to request a forbearance.  DeVos also approved the automatic suspension of payments for any borrower who is more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent. — Ashley A. Smith


Friday, March 20, 9:45 a.m.  President suspends national testing requirements

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the federal government would suspend national testing requirements this year because of the impact of the coronavirus, granting the waiver that Gov. Gavin Newsom and other governors had said they’d seek.

Trump made the announcement at his daily press conference. The decision grants a one-year suspension from testing mandates under the Every Student Succeeds Act. In California, that applies to the Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts, the new science tests and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California for English learners

On Wednesday, Newsom issued an executive order suspending state testing. In a statement he said, “This time is stressful enough for students, families and educators without the additional burden of annual testing.”

Several states, including Texas, Florida and Washington also had suspended testing, and others were considering it. The Council of Chief State School Officers had lobbied for the nationwide suspension and praised Trump and the U.S. Department of Education for granting it.

The test data are a key element in the state’s school accountability system. It’s unclear what the impact of the suspension would have on the state’s system of measuring school and district progress, the California School Dashboard. — John Fensterwald


Thursday, March 19, 7:50 p.m.

Asking everyone to do more to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to stay at home. The order which impacts the state’s 40 million people represents the highest escalation in efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The order came as Newsom asked for federal help to fight the pandemic, which has killed 19 and infected 958. In his letter to Congress, Newsom said he expects the virus will infect more than half of the state’s residents, or 25.5 million people. It follows orders that have directed residents of the Bay Area and Sacramento County to shelter in place and other orders limiting activities in Los Angeles County. “It’s time for all of us to recognize, as individuals and as a community, we need to do more,” Newsom said. — Rose Ciotta


Thursday, March 19, 3:50 p.m.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in California rose to 675 and the number of deaths was 16, according to California Department of Public Health data as of 6 p.m. March 18. The number of cases in children ages 0-17 remained unchanged from the previous day at 13, in adults 18-64 it climbed to 448, and in adults 65 or over it was 209. There are five cases reported in which age is unknown.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, Gov. Gavin Newsom projected that 25.5 million people in the state could be infected with the virus over the next eight weeks. In a separate letter  to leaders of Congress, Newsom requested $1 billion in federal aid, in part to help schools and universities deliver high-quality education during closures.  — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 19, 3:10 p.m.

The state has created a “one-stop” coronavirus website at www.covid19.ca.gov with updates on public health, education and other issues. The education page includes links to guidance for K-12 schools and colleges and universities, as well as links to other resources for families and educators. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 19, 1:30 p.m.

The University of California should switch from letter grades to pass/no pass grading system for the rest of the school year because of difficulties involving the switch to online courses during the health emergency, student leaders say.

Varsha Sarveshwar, president of the UC Student Association, made the request Thursday to the UC Board of regents, citing the personal stress many students are feeling and their problems adapting to remote teaching and learning. “It doesn’t make sense to continue with the traditional A to F letter grade system, she said. “Collective systemwide action should be taken to ensure that students are focused on their health and loved ones, not their grades.”

The Academic Senate of the ten-campus UC system, which controls issues of grading, said it needs time to consider the proposal. “The Senate appreciates the request on pass/fail grading and will assess the various input it receives to navigate this challenging period and do what is best for the University,” a statement said.

A spokesman for the 23-campus California State University said the grading changes are being discussed among many other operational issues during the health crisis but that nothing has been decided. — Larry Gordon


Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 p.m.

In a Facebook live message to update the public on the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he has made official his directive to school districts to offer or other curriculum materials so students can continue to be educated during the coronavirus school closures which he noted are likely to continue through the school year. He said the state is providing districts and the public with lists of online resources they can use. In addition, he said he signed an executive order that would eliminate standardized testing for students in grades 3-8 and 11 this spring. “Kids don’t deserve to be put through the anxiety of testing,” he said, adding that he also clarified rules for open meetings for elected official such as school boards that may need to be held via teleconference.

Newsom said the state is preparing for scenarios in which up to 56 percent of California’s population that is not sheltered at home could be infected with the virus over the next eight weeks and require a surge in hospital bed capacity. As of March 17, the state registered 598 positive cases, a 21 percent jump in one day. And although 12,600 people have been tested so far, Newsom said 3,215 test results have not yet come back. Newsom stressed that the state is working to increase its capacity for testing and for returning results more quickly.

He noted that the entire state has not been ordered to shelter in place, but said that each county health department is instructing the public about restricted movements based on the local spread of the virus. However, Newsom said he expects more counties to direct residents to stay home unless they are engaged in essential activities such as grocery shopping or working in jobs such as healthcare. Statewide, he said bars are and movie theaters are closed and restaurants have been ordered to only provide take out or delivery options to comply with social distancing requirements. Public gatherings are prohibited, but families and close friends are still allowed to gather in homes, unless otherwise directed by their health departments. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 18, 5:30 p.m.

UC Merced is postponing it commencement ceremonies, which were scheduled for May 16 and 17.  No replacement date has been chosen yet.  UC Merced and UC Berkeley are the only UC campuses on the semester calendar system.  Their graduations usually are a month or so before the ceremonies at the nine UC schools on the quarter term calendar.

“We are incredibly disappointed but the health and safety of our graduates and guests must take precedence,” UC Merced interim chancellor Nathan Brostrom said in a statement.

Meanwhile UC Berkeley has not decided about its May 16 commencement, although ticket sales have been postponed pending a decision. — Larry Gordon


Wednesday, March 18, 4 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order to waive all state testing for the current academic year, a move that would first need federal approval. At least one district, Palo Alto Unified, already decided to delay its annual state assessments. There are more than 6 million students in California’s K-12 schools, although standardized tests in math, English language arts and science are not required for each grade. — Sydney Johnson


Wednesday, March 18, 3:30 p.m.

Updated data released by the state’s Department of Public Health shows the number of positive coronavirus cases in California has climbed to 598 and the number of deaths is 13, as of as of 6 p.m. March 17. The number of cases in children ages 0-17 is 13, in adults 18-64 it’s 392, and in adults 65 or over it’s 188. There are five cases reported in which age is unknown. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 17, 7 p.m.

Sonoma County’s Public Health Department joined seven other Bay Area counties in ordering residents to shelter in place effective at midnight on March 18 in the wake of four recent coronavirus cases reported in the county. Like the other counties that have already released similar orders — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz — Sonoma County’s order ends April 7 and limits residents to “essential” activities to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Sacramento County’s Pubic Health Department stopped short of ordering residents to shelter in place, but instead directed businesses to allow employees to telecommute and said only those conducting “essential” business should be required to physically report to work. The directive also said that people ages 65 or older and those at higher risk of contracting the virus should stay home or maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others. It said those at lower risk should stay home to the maximum extent possible and prohibited social gatherings outside the home, noting that all schools in the county are closed.

During a news conference on March 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he anticipated other counties would soon announce similar orders restricting residents’ movements outside their homes. He also warned that schools may remain closed until the end of the school year, but said child care centers may remain open if they adhere to social distancing and other requirements. Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 17, 2:30 p.m.

California school districts and preschools could be getting more federal aid that they can use for a range of coronavirus-related school costs and mental health support. Both the U.S. House and Senate have introduced bills to provide $3 billion in grants to districts and preschool programs throughout the U.S. This would include $1.2 billion for student meals, cleaning schools, buying laptops for distance learning and teacher training in online education. It would also include $600 million for early education programs to use for emergency staffing, training and cleaning, according to the news site Education Dive, which said that President Donald Trump has indicated he’d sign the legislation.

As a rule of thumb, California can expect an estimated 10 percent of the total. On Monday, the state Legislature approved $100 million for schools and child care centers to buy safety equipment and disinfect schools. — John Fensterwald


Tuesday, March 17, 1 p.m.

The state’s Department of Public Health released updated data related to coronavirus cases as of 6 p.m. March 16. The number of positive cases in California is 472 and the number of deaths is 11. The number of cases in children ages 0-17 is seven, in adults 18-64 it’s 300, and in adults 65 or over it’s 160. There are five cases reported in people whose age is unknown. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 17, 12:30 p.m.

Students from four high schools will discuss how school closures are affecting them in a web conference on Zoom that the nonprofit student advocacy organization Californians for Justice has scheduled for 4 p.m. March 18.

“This moment of crisis has illuminated how essential public goods are to young people and families, and how fragile our public infrastructure is to support young people and their families during an unprecedented moment in California history,” they stated in the announcement. The students are from Long Beach Unified, East Side Union High School District in San Jose, Oakland Unified and Fresno Unified. To access the video conference go here. — John Fensterwald


Monday, March 16, 4 p.m.

A substitute teacher who worked in the Sacramento City Unified District has died from complications from coronavirus, according to a joint press release from the district, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher. The Sacramento Bee is reporting the teacher worked at Sutterville Elementary School.

“Today the Sacramento City Unified School District was deeply saddened to learn that the individual who worked as a temporary volunteer and substitute teacher in our district has passed away,” said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “We join the family, friends, colleagues and students in grieving this tragic loss. This death underscores the seriousness of this current public health emergency. Sac City Unified will continue to implement any and all measures recommended by public health leaders to protect the health and safety of our students, our staff, and our community.”

The substitute teacher tested positive earlier this month and parents at Sutterville Elementary were notified in a letter March 11. The district told parents they would not be closing the school at that time after conferring with Sacramento County Public Health Department officials. Instead, the school was given a deep cleaning.

All Sacramento City Unified Schools are closed for two weeks beginning today, including Sutterville Elementary School. — Diana Lambert


Monday, March 16, 2:15 p.m

The public health directors of seven Bay Area counties — Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Cruz — have ordered all residents to shelter in place beginning at 12:01 a.m. March 17 except for those that are conducting essential business. The order, which was issued to slow the spread of coronavirus throughout the Bay Area region, last for three weeks through April 7.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said during the March 16 press conference that school distribution of lunches is included in essential business. Public health officials said residents may travel by foot, car or public transit to conduct essential business such as buying food or visiting doctors, but that they must adhere to social distancing requirements by keeping at least 6 feet between people, including those standing in lines or on public transit. School meals must be provided on a pick-up-and-go basis and cannot be eaten on site. More information is expected be released in the coming days. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 16, 12:30 p.m.

ACT has rescheduled the April 4 national ACT test date to June 13, 2020 due to  concerns about the coronavirus. All registered students will receive an email with instructions for next steps. Additional test dates and other information is available at www.ACT.org.

The College Board is canceling the May 2 SAT administration, as well as makeup exams for the March 14 administration scheduled March 28. Registered students will receive refunds and the College Board will provide additional SAT testing opportunities “as feasible in place of canceled administrations,” according to a news release. It has not yet canceled the June 6 test and advises students to access free online resources at https://www.khanacademy.org/sat. – Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 16, 9:00 a.m.

The city of San Francisco is offering emergency child care for the children of health care workers and other first responders, and children from low-income families, from March 16 to March 31. The emergency child care will be offered at recreation centers and libraries, which have closed to the public. More information is available here. — Zaidee Stavely


Sunday, March 15, 2 p.m.

Zoom, the San Jose-based teleconferencing company, is providing schools in the United States  affected by closures due to the coronavirus  unlimited, free use of its software to provide online instruction. The company already provides free basic service for up to 40 minutes. The new policy extends the time limit without charge. Teachers and schools can learn more about the offer and how to sign up and use Zoom by going here.


Sunday, March 15, 11:00 a.m.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, UC Irvine has cancelled its traditional spring graduation ceremony, according to a message sent to students Friday.

Though University officials are looking into alternatives to the ceremony, they advised families not to make arrangements to come to the campus for the celebration. Graduating students will receive a message from the university’s commencement office with more information once an alternative is determined. — Ali Tadayon


Saturday, March 14, 7:45 p.m.

UC Berkeley officials on Saturday confirmed that a graduate student has contracted COVID-19. The student does not live on campus or in the city of Berkeley and has self-isolated at home. The individual is in good condition and has no serious symptoms, according to the university.

“We understand that this news is unsettling, but we want to assure you that your health and safety remain our number one priority,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher and Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Health Services Guy Nicolette in an email to the university community on Saturday. On March 13, the university announced that remote instruction will continue through the end of the semester. — Anne Vasquez


Saturday, March 14, 5:10 p.m.

Most California public colleges and universities — the University of California, California State University and community college systems — have now suspended in-person courses. Some colleges are moving to remote instruction for the remainder of the academic year, while others are holding out hope they will be able to resume face-to-face classes in the spring. Go here for the full list of colleges that are transitioning to online classes. — Michael Burke


Saturday, March 14, 3:20 p.m.

Pleasanton Unified School District has announced it will dismiss classes beginning Tuesday, March 17.

Officials in El Dorado County, east of Sacramento, have announced the closure of all schools for a week starting Monday, March 16, according to the Sacramento Bee. — Smita Patel


Saturday, March 14, 1:20 p.m.

Stanford University has asked students to move out of dorms and leave the university by Wednesday, after an undergraduate has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a letter published Friday by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. He said that a small number of students “who have no other option than to be here” will be allowed to stay in Stanford’s on-campus housing. Those include international students who cannot travel home, as well as those with underlying health issues or who are homeless. — Anne Vasquez


Saturday, March 14, 12:30 p.m.

Several more California county offices of education have closed all schools, including Madera, Riverside, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Solano. All the countys’ schools are closing as of Monday, March 16, except Santa Barbara, which begins its closure March 18. Check the EdSource list of school closures, which will be updated with additional information, as it becomes available.  — Daniel J. Willis


Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order saying closed schools could still receive state funding, but only if they meet a series of conditions, including providing students with “high quality educational opportunities” through distance learning or independent, continuing to provide school meals, and “to the extent practicable arranging for the supervision of students during school hours.”   It is unclear how school districts will be able to satisfy those conditions. — Louis Freedberg


Friday, March 13, 5:50 p.m.

All classes at the three colleges in the San Diego Community College District are canceled for the week beginning March 16. Classes at those colleges — which include San Diego City, San Diego Mesa and San Diego Miramar colleges — will resume in online formats on March 23. “Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. We also must ensure the continuation of instruction and operations. This is a challenging time but if we keep these two priorities in mind, we will manage it well,” Constance Carroll, the district’s chancellor, said in a statement. — Michael Burke


Friday, March 13, 5:26 p.m.

Several county superintendents in California have recommended that all schools in their counties close due to coronavirus. So far, those counties include Alameda; El Dorado; Los Angeles, which includes 80 districts; Marin; Orange; Placer; Riverside; Sacramento; San Diego; San Francisco;  San Mateo; San Joaquin; Sonoma; and Santa Clara. In most cases the decision was made in conjunction with the county public health offices.

Al Mijares, superintendent of schools for Orange County, said, “We got a ton of calls from parents wanting their schools closed.” The tipping point toward closing was the advisory from Gov. Gavin Newsom banning groups of gatherings of more than 250 people. Many high schools have several thousand students in close contact. “There was a consensus among our superintendents that we should find a common period for closing to avoid confusion and settle the reaction of some people who felt districts were not cautious enough and others who felt they were being too cautious.” — John Fensterwald and Carolyn Jones


Thursday, March 12, 6:45 p.m.

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified is closing all schools to students March 13-16, but teachers and staff will report to work to plan for possible extended school closures starting March 17. The district will thoroughly clean schools because a community member with children in district schools was exposed to the virus and the district was experiencing a high rate of absenteeism. Officials will announce on March 17 whether the closures will continue. – Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 12, 5:31 p.m.

West Contra Costa Unified is closing all schools for three weeks starting March 16 due to concerns over contact between students and staff members with others who may have coronavirus. It moved spring break from the week of April 6 to the week of March 30, with classes resuming April 6. The district will continue to provide instruction via laptops and tablets using online tools, while younger students will take packets of work to take home. Meals will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at several schools during the first two weeks of the closure.

San Francisco Unified is closing all schools in the district March 16 through April 3 due to concerns about the spread of the virus. It plans to provide meals to students who rely on them and advises parents to avoid leaving children with elderly care givers, since they are most susceptible to the virus.

Natomas Unified is closing all schools in the district March 13-16 because a medically fragile student at Natomas High came to school with symptoms of the virus. The school will be deep-cleaned and district officials will announce Sunday whether schools will remain closed Tuesday.

Sacramento State University announced it would begin transitioning to online courses for the remainder of the spring semester starting March 16. – Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 12, 12:53 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said schools do not fall under his  executive order to cancel non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people until at least the end of March. He said schools are considered “essential” and local officials should consult guidance sent out Saturday before deciding whether to close. In making his decision, Newsom said he considered the impact of school closures on low-income students who rely on school meals and students whose parents may be on the front lines of fighting the virus like law enforcement and medical professionals who would not be able to assist the community if they were home caring for their children. To distance students from each other, Newsom suggested that schools stagger P.E. classes, cancel assemblies and provide meals in classrooms or other isolated settings. He also recommended “common sense” sanitization practices.  While some K-12 schools and colleges have turned to online learning, Newsom said they must consider educational equity because a lot of students may not have access to laptops or wi-fi. “It’s a point of real concern,” he said. “Those that can, do. And those that can’t, are unable.” When asked if his own kids are still in school, Newsom said, “They are.” Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 11, 4:33 p.m.

K-12 Schools 
Parlier Unified announced on March 9 that it would close two of its schools — Parlier High and Mathew J. Brletic Elementary — March 10-13 for deep cleaning after the Fresno County Department of Health determined that a district student recently traveled to an area at risk for the virus. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 11, 4:00 p.m.

K-12 Schools 

The Oakland Unified School District announced on March 11 that two students — one from Oakland Technical High School and the other from Oakland High School — may have been exposed to a person at another location who has tested positive for the coronavirus. The students show no symptoms but agreed to self-quarantine at home. The high schools remain open. The district declined to identify where the students may have been exposed. The district also cancelled most activities through April 5, the end of spring break. — Ali Tadayon


Wednesday, March 11, 3:53 p.m.

California Community Colleges
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s community college system, on March 11 told presidents of the state’s 114 community colleges with face-to-face classes that they have the green light to move classes online. Colleges typically need to get approval from the state chancellor’s office to do that, but Oakley told the presidents that they can convert classes online as soon as they deem it necessary and get the administrative approval later.

So far, more than a dozen community colleges across the state have announced plans to move classes online, including all nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, the largest community college district in the state. — Michael Burke

California State University
Cal State Fullerton will move all classes online effective March 25 and continuing until April 26. From March 12 through March 20, faculty will be encouraged but not mandated to teach classes online, except for on March 17 and 18, when virtual teaching will be mandatory for a two-day trial period. All classes will be canceled on March 23 and March 24 to allow faculty to make final adjustments before online teaching becomes mandatory. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 11, 2:46 p.m. 

The California Department of Public Health issued the latest tallies of positive COVID-19 cases in California. Of the 157 confirmed cases, two are children in the 0-17 age group, 91 are in the 18-64 age range, and 60 are 65 or older. Four are of unknown age. Eighteen public health labs in California are testing for the virus. — Louis Freedberg


Wednesday, March 11, 2:15 p.m.

California State University
Cal State Northridge announced it would cancel classes March 12 through March 15. The university will be on spring break next week, but classes will resume online on March 23 and continue to be held virtually through April 19. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 11, 10:46 a.m.

California State University
Cal State Long Beach became the latest university to suspend in-person classes. The university canceled those classes from March 12 through March 17 to allow faculty time to prepare for remote instruction. Courses will resume online beginning March 18. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 11, 12 a.m.

K-12 Schools 
The Los Angeles Unified school board voted March 10 to declare a state of emergency across the district, authorizing superintendent Austin Beutner to take “any and all actions necessary” in response to the coronavirus. No immediate actions were taken March 10 but Beutner now has the ability to unilaterally relocate students or take any other steps he deems necessary. The emergency powers also allow him to enter into any contract for any dollar amount without going through the usual approval process. — Michael Burke

California Community Colleges
The San Jose Evergreen Community College District suspended in-person classes at San José City College, Evergreen Valley College, and the Milpitas College Extension from March 11 until March 16. When classes resume on March 16, they will be offered in an online or other distance learning format, to the extent possible, and remain in this alternate mode of delivery through at least April 6.

Mission College in Santa Clara is suspending in-person classes starting March 11 and continuing into April. Classes will resume in waves on March 16, March 23, and April 6 as online courses or with alterations. Lists of classes will be published on the college website and through direct communications from instructors. — Smita Patel

University of California
Most University of California campuses have announced plans to suspend in-person courses. UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara became the latest to move classes online, joining UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego. UC Merced also said the campus would begin “moving toward remote learning.”

UC Davis, meanwhile, says it is “strongly encouraging faculty to go online with their teaching” and has canceled in-person final exams for next week.

The only other UC campus, UCSF, the medical school which offers only graduate courses, has not suspended in-person classes but has canceled large events on campuses. — Michael Burke

California State University
San Diego State plans to move most classes online. From now until the end of spring break on April 3, moving classes online is voluntary and up to each individual instructor. Beginning April 6, the policy will be mandatory, with minor exceptions, such as small lab courses that will continue to meet face-to-face.

San Francisco State has canceled all in-person classes for the remainder of this week. They will resume on March 16 and be held online or through other remote methods until April 5.

Sacramento State faculty have the option of moving their classes online but it is not mandatory. In-person classes will continue for courses whose instructors do not choose to move them online.

CSU East Bay is canceling all in-person lecture, discussion and seminar courses online for all three East Bay campuses beginning March 11. Instruction will resume on March 16 at the regularly scheduled date and time. Courses currently offered online will continue as scheduled. — Michael Burke


Tuesday, March 10, 3:20 p.m.

K-12 Schools 

A student who attends a private, Catholic school operated by the San Francisco Archdiocese has tested positive for the virus, Superintendent Pamela Lyons announced March 10. All 90 schools operated by the archdiocese will close from March 12-25. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 10, 1:22 p.m.

University of California
UC Santa Cruz on March 10 became the latest university to suspend in-person classes. Chancellor Cynthia Larive said in a message to the campus that, through April 3, most courses would be offered through alternate methods, but added that some lab courses would continue to meet in person. — Michael Burke


Tuesday, March 10, 12 p.m.

K-12 Schools 
Gov. Gavin Newsom met with State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and county superintendents on March 9 to hear their concerns about coronavirus and how it could impact schools. Kindra Britt, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education, said the California Department of Public Health is the lead agency working with districts to help them determine if school closures are necessary. She said the state Department of Education wants districts to act the best interests of their students and staff and said that funding questions can be worked out later on a case by case basis. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 10, 8 a.m.

UC and CSU
On March 9 UC San Diego, San Jose State University, San Francisco State, Santa Clara University and University of San Francisco’s School of Law joined UC Berkeley and Stanford University in moving to online-only instruction, on varying timelines. More colleges are expected to follow. — Michael Burke


Read more:

The coronavirus is having an impact on schools and colleges across California and nationally. See below for the latest developments compiled by EdSource staff. Click here for the latest in-depth EdSource reports.

Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m. Gov. Newsom on young people’s vulnerability to the virus 

In his Facebook appearance, Gov. Newsom, referring to the death of the  teenager in Lancaster, said the “tragic loss of a young life underscores the enormity of the challenge in front of us, and how it can affect anybody and everybody.”

He went on to say the following:

“Young people can and will be impacted by this virus. In fact, young people disproportionately are the ones testing positive in the state of California – 50% of the 2,102 individuals that have tested positive, 50% are between the age of 18 and 49. I’ll repeat that. Half of those tested positive to date in the state of California, are 18 to 49 years old. This disease impacts everybody. The question is the acuity and the hospitalization rate that, yes, does skew on the side of older populations, but with this tragic new death, it is a reminder to everybody to take this seriously. It’s a health crisis. It needs to be met first and foremost head on as such.

That’s why it is incumbent upon young Californians to continue to take our stay at home order seriously,  to continue to do the kind of social distancing that common sense dictates, and to heed the warnings we advanced yesterday to stay out of settings like beaches and parks where you’re coming into close contact with others. Practice social distancing.  We had to step up our enforcement yesterday as it relates to shutting down those parking facilities, the consequences of which remind people of the seriousness of it. But what more evidence do you need than the loss of a young person’s life?

I just cannot impress upon young people out there more the seriousness of this moment and how critical they are to ultimately getting us on the other side, by practicing that social distancing that we all are accustomed to hearing about but not in every case advancing individually.” — Louis Freedberg 


Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.  Role of community colleges 

In a Facebook appearance, Newsom praised the state’s community college system for providing 60 ventilators to the state and called it the backbone of our state’s emergency workforce, saying some estimate that up to 70 percent of first responders have been trained in the community college system.


Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m. Latest statistics as of 10 a.m. March 24 

He also gave the latest statistics as of 10 a.m. March 24, Newsom said 40 people in the state have died from the coronavirus out of 2,102 people who have tested positive – a 17.5 percent increase from the previous day.

When asked if the state’s order to stay at home might be lifted in April, Newsom said he did not believe that would be possible, based on the estimates he has seen related to the likely spread of the virus over the next eight to 12 weeks.

“Let us not have to once again announce that a teenager lost their life because we didn’t take this moment seriously,” he said.


Tuesday, March 24, 1:35 p.m.  Death of teenager

Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health reported its first death of a person under 18 from the coronavirus. The individual lived in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles. No other details were released.


Tuesday, March 24, 1:35 p.m.  Latest statistics as of 2 p.m. March 22 

The department has identified 662 cases of the virus across the county, including 11 deaths. Of the total cases, 10 were in people 0-17, 268 were people 18-40  250 were in people 41 to 65 and 107 were in people over 65.

Statewide, as of 2 p.m. March 22, there were 1,733 positive cases of coronavirus reported and 27 deaths. Of the positive cases, 25 were in people ages 0-17, 837 were in adults 18-49, 442 were in adults 50-64, 415 were in seniors 65 or older and 14 were in people whose ages were not known. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 24, 1:10 p.m.   Students test positive 

Two students at Cal State Long Beach have tested positive for the coronavirus, the university announced Tuesday. Both students are isolated off campus. One of the two students has not been on campus for two weeks. For the other student, “there was no opportunity for on-campus exposure,” said Kimberly Fodran, the university’s co-director of student health services, in a message to the campus.

“While it was to be expected that The Beach family eventually would be affected by this pandemic, we were saddened to hear this news,” Fodran said.


Tuesday, March 24, 12:15 p.m.  Surgeon-general issues a video on Twitter 

State surgeon general Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris has released a 1-minute video on Twitter to help parents and caregivers talk to children about coronavirus.

Burke-Harris urges adults to approach the conversation in a calm way, ask what children have heard and allow them to share their fears, correct any misinformation, reassure them, and remind them about the importance proper hygiene, healthy eating and exercise.

In addition, Burke-Harris stresses the need for adults to take care of themselves. She urges the public to visit www.covid19.ca.gov for coronavirus information and resources, which are updated regularly. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 6:35 p.m. Getting medical students into the workforce

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is working to get fourth-year medical students into the workforce as quickly as possible, along with those in licensed nursing degree programs, to help meet the anticipated surge in coronavirus cases expected over the next eight to 12 weeks. Newsom made the comments during an early evening news conference, stressing that that there is currently no end date to his statewide “stay at home” order.

To better enforce social distancing, Newsom said parking lots for state parks are being closed immediately and that many state parks will also close, after they were overrun by crowds last weekend. Saying he does not want to close all big, beautiful open spaces, Newsom stressed the importance of maintaining social distancing and “not lingering” while enjoying them. A current list of closed parks and park facilities is at parks.ca.gov.

“For the next week or two we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’re going to have to get very, very serious and lean in and hit this moment head-on.”

Referring to a statement he made a few days ago about his estimate that schools may be closed through the end of the school year, Newsom said: “I’ve been very honest with you about the school system, and my estimation of what we’re going to be faced with over the next eight weeks.” He added that as soon as he has more clarity, he will share it with the public, just as he shares it with his wife and children. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 5:15 p.m. Excused withdrawals at community colleges 

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley signed an executive order Friday ensuring that students who drop a class while campuses are closed due to the Coronavirus will not be academically or financially penalized. The order allows students to drop classes as an “excused withdrawal,” which will not count against them. It also allows students to be refunded enrollment fees for those classes, according to a California Community Colleges news release.

The order also ensures that teaching and learning will continue at the 115 California community colleges, the news release said, by allowing all in-person classes — including labs — to be moved online. — Ali Tadayon


Monday, March 23, 1:35 p.m.  $20 billion education fund debated in Congress 

A $20 billion Education Stabilization Fund to provide relief for states appears assured of passing – if Senate Democrats and Republicans can settle their differences on the bigger pieces of a $1.6 trillion coronavirus relief fund that, for now, is stalled in Congress.

Education advocacy groups are hoping the $20-plus billion in relief is a down payment toward the $100 billion that the federal government provided in 2009 to combat shrinking state revenues during the Great Recession. That package included $53.6 billion to states to cover school expenses over two years.

According to Politico, the current bill for $20 billion would be broken down as follows (assume roughly 10 percent in each category would go to California):

  • $12 billion for K-12, primarily distributed based on a state’s population of low-income students, for a wide range of purposes, including teacher training, planning for long-term school shutdowns and technology.
  • $6 billion for higher ed, distributed primarily based on Pell Grant recipients; half of the money would to emergency grants to students “for expenses directly related to coronavirus and the disruption of campus operations.”
  • $2 billion in discretionary education dollars for governors.

A separate section of the bill would provide “immediate assistance” to child care providers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program and $250 million for Head Start for coronavirus-related costs. – John Fensterwald


Monday, March 23, 1:15 p.m.  CDC issues tips for children to stay health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new tips to help keep children healthy while school is out. The tips include information about children’s overall low risk of contracting coronavirus, noting that mild symptoms tend to include coughing, runny nose, sneezing and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

The guidance also reminds families about the importance of proper hygiene and sanitizing, as well as social distancing. In addition, it includes suggested routines for continuing children’s education at home. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 11:35 a.m.  Verizon to offer internet access to LA Unified

Los Angeles Unified, in partnership with Verizon, plans to spend $100 million to provide internet access to all students in the district who don’t already have that access at home, district Superintendent Austin Beutner announced March 23. The district, which is the largest in the state, enrolls more than 600,000 students and estimates that 25 percent of those students don’t have internet at home. As part of the $100 million investment, the district will also provide devices to all students who need them. Further details on how the district will distribute those devices and set up internet access will be provided shortly, Beutner said.

Meanwhile, L.A. Unified and San Diego Unified, the second-biggest district in the state, in a joint letter on March 23 asked the state Legislature to consider emergency state funding for school districts to help with distance learning and other challenges. They asked for a minimum of $500 per student, saying that they were facing severe fiscal challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Said simply, our budgets will not balance for the current fiscal year because of the extraordinary costs associated with responding to the global pandemic. We request an additional emergency appropriation to address these unforeseen costs,” Beutner and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten wrote in the letter. — Michael Burke


Monday, March 23, 11:15 a.m.  Advanced Placement tests to be offered online 

The College Board has announced that it is moving Advanced Placement testing online during coronavirus school closures. Students will be able to take 45-minute online exams at home using a computer, tablet or smart phone. Photos of written work may also be allowed.

Each testing subject will have two different dates, which will be announced April 3. Tests will focus on material covered through early March.

Starting March 25, free online study review courses will be available here. In addition, any students who have already registered for exams can cancel at no charge.

Support for AP teachers can be found here. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 23, 9:15 a.m. L.A. Unified to stay closed until May 1 — at least

Schools at California’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, will stay closed until at least May 1, superintendent Austin Beutner said in a statement Monday morning. Schools in the district, which enroll more than 600,000 students, have been closed since March 16. Beutner’s announcement Monday comes after L.A. County Superintendent Debra Duardo said Friday she was recommending all public schools in the county stay closed through May 5. The county has 80 school districts.

“I wish I could tell you it will all be back to normal sometime soon but it does not look like that will the case,” Beutner said in the statement Monday. Beutner will give a “more complete update” at 11 a.m. Monday, he said. – Michael Burke

Sunday, March 22, 8:00 a.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, during comments late Saturday on how Californians need to use “common sense” to ward off the spread of the coronavirus, had pointed words for young people who may be taking the stay at home and social distancing orders lightly. “Those young people that are still out there on the beaches thinking this is a party? Time to grow up. Time to wake up. Time to recognize it’s not just about the old folks. It’s about your impact on their lives. Don’t be selfish. Recognize you have responsibility to meet this moment as well.” Newsom’s order allows only essential trips for food or prescriptions. Outdoor walking or exercising is allowed as long as people stay six feet apart.

Saturday, March 21,  10:34 p.m.

A member of the Riverview STEM Academy school staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. The employee was not a teacher at the Rancho Cordova school and worked with a small number of students, according to information released by the district. The school employee last worked on March 12, began experiencing symptoms the next day and did not return to work. The employee has been isolated and is recovering, according to the district. The school district was informed of the illness by Sacramento Public Health late on March 20. The school district, along with all Sacramento County schools, closed its schools on March 16. – Diana Lambert


Saturday, March 21,  4 p.m.

On Friday, the California Department of Education issued new guidelines for districts on how to handle special education during the corona virus crisis. Among other things, the guidance says that school districts could “consider providing classroom-based instruction to small groups of students with disabilities that have extensive support needs, despite the fact that the school site has closed, consistent with federal, state, and local health directives related to Covid-19.”   CDE also notes that as of now the federal government has not waived the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. —  Louis Freedberg


Saturday, March 21, 10:30 a.m.

UCLA has partially reversed its plan to replace this year’s commencement with an on-line graduation ceremony. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block apologized to students for not consulting them and pledged to work with student leadership to come up with an alternative, which may include a postponement of a face-to-face event.

USC is postponing is postponing its commencement ceremonies this year. The California State University system also announced earlier this week that graduation day ceremonies would likely be postponed as part of the system’s push to eliminate gatherings and large events. UC Merced has also postponed its ceremony, which was scheduled for May.


Friday, March 20, 2:05 p.m.

Based on guidance in an executive order signed March 17 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Oakland Unified school board held an entirely virtual meeting on March 19, which it believes was one of the first in the state.  The board unanimously declared a state of emergency due to coronavirus and authorized Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell to enter into contracts related to the virus of up to $500,000 each through May 27, due to school closures.

More than 100 community members logged onto Zoom to watch the meeting, including several who contributed public comments by using the “raise your hand” feature. The board used the “share your screen” option to show amendments to the resolution.

Boards can use teleconferencing technology to conduct meetings online “only during the period in which state or local public health officials have imposed or recommended social distancing measures,” according to the executive order. — Theresa Harrington


Friday, March 20, 11:40 a.m.

California State University Chancellor Tim White will delay his retirement amid the coronavirus crisis and stay in the role through the fall, the university system announced Friday. 

The search for White’s successor, which was nearing a conclusion, will also be put on hold and resume later this year.

White announced his retirement last year and said he wanted to leave the system by this summer but would be willing to stay as late as December, depending on the progress of the search for his successor. Now, there is no specific date scheduled for him to step down. 

CSU system officials were preparing for the selection of a new chancellor, with a likely announcement during the March 24 meeting of the system’s trustees. The search committee had been working for months and reportedly was focusing on finalists. But the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the final selection and the introduction of a new chancellor. Travel restrictions also would restrict any candidates from being interviewed in-person by the trustees.

Perhaps more important, the CSU leaders decided that stability is needed for the next stretch of time, with veteran administrators like White remaining on hand.

“As the world faces an unprecedented crisis, now more than ever, it is crucially important for stable and experienced hands to provide thoughtful guidance on all areas affecting the operations of the university,” CSU Board of Trustees Chairman Adam Day said in a statement.

Michael Burke and Larry Gordon


Friday, March 20, 10:30 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Friday that the Federal Student Aid office will provide student loan relief to millions of borrowers because of the impact of the coronavirus.

All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have interest rates set at 0 percent for at least 60 days. Borrowers also have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months without worrying about accruing interest.

“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” DeVos said.  “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need.”

Borrowers should contact their loan servicer online or by phone to request a forbearance.  DeVos also approved the automatic suspension of payments for any borrower who is more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent. — Ashley A. Smith


Friday, March 20, 9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the federal government would suspend national testing requirements this year because of the impact of the coronavirus, granting the waiver that Gov. Gavin Newsom and other governors had said they’d seek.

Trump made the announcement at his daily press conference. The decision grants a one-year suspension from testing mandates under the Every Student Succeeds Act. In California, that applies to the Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts, the new science tests and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California for English learners

On Wednesday, Newsom issued an executive order suspending state testing. In a statement he said, “This time is stressful enough for students, families and educators without the additional burden of annual testing.”

Several states, including Texas, Florida and Washington also had suspended testing, and others were considering it. The Council of Chief State School Officers had lobbied for the nationwide suspension and praised Trump and the U.S. Department of Education for granting it.

The test data are a key element in the state’s school accountability system. It’s unclear what the impact of the suspension would have on the state’s system of measuring school and district progress, the California School Dashboard. — John Fensterwald


Thursday, March 19, 7:50 p.m.

Asking everyone to do more to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to stay at home. The order which impacts the state’s 40 million people represents the highest escalation in efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The order came as Newsom asked for federal help to fight the pandemic, which has killed 19 and infected 958. In his letter to Congress, Newsom said he expects the virus will infect more than half of the state’s residents, or 25.5 million people. It follows orders that have directed residents of the Bay Area and Sacramento County to shelter in place and other orders limiting activities in Los Angeles County. “It’s time for all of us to recognize, as individuals and as a community, we need to do more,” Newsom said. — Rose Ciotta


Thursday, March 19, 3:50 p.m.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in California rose to 675 and the number of deaths was 16, according to California Department of Public Health data as of 6 p.m. March 18. The number of cases in children ages 0-17 remained unchanged from the previous day at 13, in adults 18-64 it climbed to 448, and in adults 65 or over it was 209. There are five cases reported in which age is unknown.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, Gov. Gavin Newsom projected that 25.5 million people in the state could be infected with the virus over the next eight weeks. In a separate letter  to leaders of Congress, Newsom requested $1 billion in federal aid, in part to help schools and universities deliver high-quality education during closures.  — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 19, 3:10 p.m.

The state has created a “one-stop” coronavirus website at www.covid19.ca.gov with updates on public health, education and other issues. The education page includes links to guidance for K-12 schools and colleges and universities, as well as links to other resources for families and educators. — Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 19, 1:30 p.m.

The University of California should switch from letter grades to pass/no pass grading system for the rest of the school year because of difficulties involving the switch to online courses during the health emergency, student leaders say.

Varsha Sarveshwar, president of the UC Student Association, made the request Thursday to the UC Board of regents, citing the personal stress many students are feeling and their problems adapting to remote teaching and learning. “It doesn’t make sense to continue with the traditional A to F letter grade system, she said. “Collective systemwide action should be taken to ensure that students are focused on their health and loved ones, not their grades.”

The Academic Senate of the ten-campus UC system, which controls issues of grading, said it needs time to consider the proposal. “The Senate appreciates the request on pass/fail grading and will assess the various input it receives to navigate this challenging period and do what is best for the University,” a statement said.

A spokesman for the 23-campus California State University said the grading changes are being discussed among many other operational issues during the health crisis but that nothing has been decided. — Larry Gordon


Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 p.m.

In a Facebook live message to update the public on the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he has made official his directive to school districts to offer or other curriculum materials so students can continue to be educated during the coronavirus school closures which he noted are likely to continue through the school year. He said the state is providing districts and the public with lists of online resources they can use. In addition, he said he signed an executive order that would eliminate standardized testing for students in grades 3-8 and 11 this spring. “Kids don’t deserve to be put through the anxiety of testing,” he said, adding that he also clarified rules for open meetings for elected official such as school boards that may need to be held via teleconference.

Newsom said the state is preparing for scenarios in which up to 56 percent of California’s population that is not sheltered at home could be infected with the virus over the next eight weeks and require a surge in hospital bed capacity. As of March 17, the state registered 598 positive cases, a 21 percent jump in one day. And although 12,600 people have been tested so far, Newsom said 3,215 test results have not yet come back. Newsom stressed that the state is working to increase its capacity for testing and for returning results more quickly.

He noted that the entire state has not been ordered to shelter in place, but said that each county health department is instructing the public about restricted movements based on the local spread of the virus. However, Newsom said he expects more counties to direct residents to stay home unless they are engaged in essential activities such as grocery shopping or working in jobs such as healthcare. Statewide, he said bars are and movie theaters are closed and restaurants have been ordered to only provide take out or delivery options to comply with social distancing requirements. Public gatherings are prohibited, but families and close friends are still allowed to gather in homes, unless otherwise directed by their health departments. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 18, 5:30 p.m.

UC Merced is postponing it commencement ceremonies, which were scheduled for May 16 and 17.  No replacement date has been chosen yet.  UC Merced and UC Berkeley are the only UC campuses on the semester calendar system.  Their graduations usually are a month or so before the ceremonies at the nine UC schools on the quarter term calendar.

“We are incredibly disappointed but the health and safety of our graduates and guests must take precedence,” UC Merced interim chancellor Nathan Brostrom said in a statement.

Meanwhile UC Berkeley has not decided about its May 16 commencement, although ticket sales have been postponed pending a decision. — Larry Gordon


Wednesday, March 18, 4 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order to waive all state testing for the current academic year, a move that would first need federal approval. At least one district, Palo Alto Unified, already decided to delay its annual state assessments. There are more than 6 million students in California’s K-12 schools, although standardized tests in math, English language arts and science are not required for each grade. — Sydney Johnson


Wednesday, March 18, 3:30 p.m.

Updated data released by the state’s Department of Public Health shows the number of positive coronavirus cases in California has climbed to 598 and the number of deaths is 13, as of as of 6 p.m. March 17. The number of cases in children ages 0-17 is 13, in adults 18-64 it’s 392, and in adults 65 or over it’s 188. There are five cases reported in which age is unknown. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 17, 7 p.m.

Sonoma County’s Public Health Department joined seven other Bay Area counties in ordering residents to shelter in place effective at midnight on March 18 in the wake of four recent coronavirus cases reported in the county. Like the other counties that have already released similar orders — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz — Sonoma County’s order ends April 7 and limits residents to “essential” activities to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Sacramento County’s Pubic Health Department stopped short of ordering residents to shelter in place, but instead directed businesses to allow employees to telecommute and said only those conducting “essential” business should be required to physically report to work. The directive also said that people ages 65 or older and those at higher risk of contracting the virus should stay home or maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others. It said those at lower risk should stay home to the maximum extent possible and prohibited social gatherings outside the home, noting that all schools in the county are closed.

During a news conference on March 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he anticipated other counties would soon announce similar orders restricting residents’ movements outside their homes. He also warned that schools may remain closed until the end of the school year, but said child care centers may remain open if they adhere to social distancing and other requirements. Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 17, 2:30 p.m.

California school districts and preschools could be getting more federal aid that they can use for a range of coronavirus-related school costs and mental health support. Both the U.S. House and Senate have introduced bills to provide $3 billion in grants to districts and preschool programs throughout the U.S. This would include $1.2 billion for student meals, cleaning schools, buying laptops for distance learning and teacher training in online education. It would also include $600 million for early education programs to use for emergency staffing, training and cleaning, according to the news site Education Dive, which said that President Donald Trump has indicated he’d sign the legislation.

As a rule of thumb, California can expect an estimated 10 percent of the total. On Monday, the state Legislature approved $100 million for schools and child care centers to buy safety equipment and disinfect schools. — John Fensterwald


Tuesday, March 17, 1 p.m.

The state’s Department of Public Health released updated data related to coronavirus cases as of 6 p.m. March 16. The number of positive cases in California is 472 and the number of deaths is 11. The number of cases in children ages 0-17 is seven, in adults 18-64 it’s 300, and in adults 65 or over it’s 160. There are five cases reported in people whose age is unknown. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 17, 12:30 p.m.

Students from four high schools will discuss how school closures are affecting them in a web conference on Zoom that the nonprofit student advocacy organization Californians for Justice has scheduled for 4 p.m. March 18.

“This moment of crisis has illuminated how essential public goods are to young people and families, and how fragile our public infrastructure is to support young people and their families during an unprecedented moment in California history,” they stated in the announcement. The students are from Long Beach Unified, East Side Union High School District in San Jose, Oakland Unified and Fresno Unified. To access the video conference go here. — John Fensterwald


Monday, March 16, 4 p.m.

A substitute teacher who worked in the Sacramento City Unified District has died from complications from coronavirus, according to a joint press release from the district, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher. The Sacramento Bee is reporting the teacher worked at Sutterville Elementary School.

“Today the Sacramento City Unified School District was deeply saddened to learn that the individual who worked as a temporary volunteer and substitute teacher in our district has passed away,” said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “We join the family, friends, colleagues and students in grieving this tragic loss. This death underscores the seriousness of this current public health emergency. Sac City Unified will continue to implement any and all measures recommended by public health leaders to protect the health and safety of our students, our staff, and our community.”

The substitute teacher tested positive earlier this month and parents at Sutterville Elementary were notified in a letter March 11. The district told parents they would not be closing the school at that time after conferring with Sacramento County Public Health Department officials. Instead, the school was given a deep cleaning.

All Sacramento City Unified Schools are closed for two weeks beginning today, including Sutterville Elementary School. — Diana Lambert


Monday, March 16, 2:15 p.m

The public health directors of seven Bay Area counties — Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Cruz — have ordered all residents to shelter in place beginning at 12:01 a.m. March 17 except for those that are conducting essential business. The order, which was issued to slow the spread of coronavirus throughout the Bay Area region, last for three weeks through April 7.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said during the March 16 press conference that school distribution of lunches is included in essential business. Public health officials said residents may travel by foot, car or public transit to conduct essential business such as buying food or visiting doctors, but that they must adhere to social distancing requirements by keeping at least 6 feet between people, including those standing in lines or on public transit. School meals must be provided on a pick-up-and-go basis and cannot be eaten on site. More information is expected be released in the coming days. — Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 16, 12:30 p.m.

ACT has rescheduled the April 4 national ACT test date to June 13, 2020 due to  concerns about the coronavirus. All registered students will receive an email with instructions for next steps. Additional test dates and other information is available at www.ACT.org.

The College Board is canceling the May 2 SAT administration, as well as makeup exams for the March 14 administration scheduled March 28. Registered students will receive refunds and the College Board will provide additional SAT testing opportunities “as feasible in place of canceled administrations,” according to a news release. It has not yet canceled the June 6 test and advises students to access free online resources at https://www.khanacademy.org/sat. – Theresa Harrington


Monday, March 16, 9:00 a.m.

The city of San Francisco is offering emergency child care for the children of health care workers and other first responders, and children from low-income families, from March 16 to March 31. The emergency child care will be offered at recreation centers and libraries, which have closed to the public. More information is available here. — Zaidee Stavely


Sunday, March 15, 2 p.m.

Zoom, the San Jose-based teleconferencing company, is providing schools in the United States  affected by closures due to the coronavirus  unlimited, free use of its software to provide online instruction. The company already provides free basic service for up to 40 minutes. The new policy extends the time limit without charge. Teachers and schools can learn more about the offer and how to sign up and use Zoom by going here.


Sunday, March 15, 11:00 a.m.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, UC Irvine has cancelled its traditional spring graduation ceremony, according to a message sent to students Friday.

Though University officials are looking into alternatives to the ceremony, they advised families not to make arrangements to come to the campus for the celebration. Graduating students will receive a message from the university’s commencement office with more information once an alternative is determined. — Ali Tadayon


Saturday, March 14, 7:45 p.m.

UC Berkeley officials on Saturday confirmed that a graduate student has contracted COVID-19. The student does not live on campus or in the city of Berkeley and has self-isolated at home. The individual is in good condition and has no serious symptoms, according to the university.

“We understand that this news is unsettling, but we want to assure you that your health and safety remain our number one priority,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher and Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Health Services Guy Nicolette in an email to the university community on Saturday. On March 13, the university announced that remote instruction will continue through the end of the semester. — Anne Vasquez


Saturday, March 14, 5:10 p.m.

Most California public colleges and universities — the University of California, California State University and community college systems — have now suspended in-person courses. Some colleges are moving to remote instruction for the remainder of the academic year, while others are holding out hope they will be able to resume face-to-face classes in the spring. Go here for the full list of colleges that are transitioning to online classes. — Michael Burke


Saturday, March 14, 3:20 p.m.

Pleasanton Unified School District has announced it will dismiss classes beginning Tuesday, March 17.

Officials in El Dorado County, east of Sacramento, have announced the closure of all schools for a week starting Monday, March 16, according to the Sacramento Bee. — Smita Patel


Saturday, March 14, 1:20 p.m.

Stanford University has asked students to move out of dorms and leave the university by Wednesday, after an undergraduate has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a letter published Friday by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. He said that a small number of students “who have no other option than to be here” will be allowed to stay in Stanford’s on-campus housing. Those include international students who cannot travel home, as well as those with underlying health issues or who are homeless. — Anne Vasquez


Saturday, March 14, 12:30 p.m.

Several more California county offices of education have closed all schools, including Madera, Riverside, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Solano. All the countys’ schools are closing as of Monday, March 16, except Santa Barbara, which begins its closure March 18. Check the EdSource list of school closures, which will be updated with additional information, as it becomes available.  — Daniel J. Willis


Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order saying closed schools could still receive state funding, but only if they meet a series of conditions, including providing students with “high quality educational opportunities” through distance learning or independent, continuing to provide school meals, and “to the extent practicable arranging for the supervision of students during school hours.”   It is unclear how school districts will be able to satisfy those conditions. — Louis Freedberg


Friday, March 13, 5:50 p.m.

All classes at the three colleges in the San Diego Community College District are canceled for the week beginning March 16. Classes at those colleges — which include San Diego City, San Diego Mesa and San Diego Miramar colleges — will resume in online formats on March 23. “Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. We also must ensure the continuation of instruction and operations. This is a challenging time but if we keep these two priorities in mind, we will manage it well,” Constance Carroll, the district’s chancellor, said in a statement. — Michael Burke


Friday, March 13, 5:26 p.m.

Several county superintendents in California have recommended that all schools in their counties close due to coronavirus. So far, those counties include Alameda; El Dorado; Los Angeles, which includes 80 districts; Marin; Orange; Placer; Riverside; Sacramento; San Diego; San Francisco;  San Mateo; San Joaquin; Sonoma; and Santa Clara. In most cases the decision was made in conjunction with the county public health offices.

Al Mijares, superintendent of schools for Orange County, said, “We got a ton of calls from parents wanting their schools closed.” The tipping point toward closing was the advisory from Gov. Gavin Newsom banning groups of gatherings of more than 250 people. Many high schools have several thousand students in close contact. “There was a consensus among our superintendents that we should find a common period for closing to avoid confusion and settle the reaction of some people who felt districts were not cautious enough and others who felt they were being too cautious.” — John Fensterwald and Carolyn Jones


Thursday, March 12, 6:45 p.m.

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified is closing all schools to students March 13-16, but teachers and staff will report to work to plan for possible extended school closures starting March 17. The district will thoroughly clean schools because a community member with children in district schools was exposed to the virus and the district was experiencing a high rate of absenteeism. Officials will announce on March 17 whether the closures will continue. – Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 12, 5:31 p.m.

West Contra Costa Unified is closing all schools for three weeks starting March 16 due to concerns over contact between students and staff members with others who may have coronavirus. It moved spring break from the week of April 6 to the week of March 30, with classes resuming April 6. The district will continue to provide instruction via laptops and tablets using online tools, while younger students will take packets of work to take home. Meals will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at several schools during the first two weeks of the closure.

San Francisco Unified is closing all schools in the district March 16 through April 3 due to concerns about the spread of the virus. It plans to provide meals to students who rely on them and advises parents to avoid leaving children with elderly care givers, since they are most susceptible to the virus.

Natomas Unified is closing all schools in the district March 13-16 because a medically fragile student at Natomas High came to school with symptoms of the virus. The school will be deep-cleaned and district officials will announce Sunday whether schools will remain closed Tuesday.

Sacramento State University announced it would begin transitioning to online courses for the remainder of the spring semester starting March 16. – Theresa Harrington


Thursday, March 12, 12:53 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said schools do not fall under his  executive order to cancel non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people until at least the end of March. He said schools are considered “essential” and local officials should consult guidance sent out Saturday before deciding whether to close. In making his decision, Newsom said he considered the impact of school closures on low-income students who rely on school meals and students whose parents may be on the front lines of fighting the virus like law enforcement and medical professionals who would not be able to assist the community if they were home caring for their children. To distance students from each other, Newsom suggested that schools stagger P.E. classes, cancel assemblies and provide meals in classrooms or other isolated settings. He also recommended “common sense” sanitization practices.  While some K-12 schools and colleges have turned to online learning, Newsom said they must consider educational equity because a lot of students may not have access to laptops or wi-fi. “It’s a point of real concern,” he said. “Those that can, do. And those that can’t, are unable.” When asked if his own kids are still in school, Newsom said, “They are.” Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 11, 4:33 p.m.

K-12 Schools 
Parlier Unified announced on March 9 that it would close two of its schools — Parlier High and Mathew J. Brletic Elementary — March 10-13 for deep cleaning after the Fresno County Department of Health determined that a district student recently traveled to an area at risk for the virus. — Theresa Harrington


Wednesday, March 11, 4:00 p.m.

K-12 Schools 

The Oakland Unified School District announced on March 11 that two students — one from Oakland Technical High School and the other from Oakland High School — may have been exposed to a person at another location who has tested positive for the coronavirus. The students show no symptoms but agreed to self-quarantine at home. The high schools remain open. The district declined to identify where the students may have been exposed. The district also cancelled most activities through April 5, the end of spring break. — Ali Tadayon


Wednesday, March 11, 3:53 p.m.

California Community Colleges
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s community college system, on March 11 told presidents of the state’s 114 community colleges with face-to-face classes that they have the green light to move classes online. Colleges typically need to get approval from the state chancellor’s office to do that, but Oakley told the presidents that they can convert classes online as soon as they deem it necessary and get the administrative approval later.

So far, more than a dozen community colleges across the state have announced plans to move classes online, including all nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, the largest community college district in the state. — Michael Burke

California State University
Cal State Fullerton will move all classes online effective March 25 and continuing until April 26. From March 12 through March 20, faculty will be encouraged but not mandated to teach classes online, except for on March 17 and 18, when virtual teaching will be mandatory for a two-day trial period. All classes will be canceled on March 23 and March 24 to allow faculty to make final adjustments before online teaching becomes mandatory. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 11, 2:46 p.m. 

The California Department of Public Health issued the latest tallies of positive COVID-19 cases in California. Of the 157 confirmed cases, two are children in the 0-17 age group, 91 are in the 18-64 age range, and 60 are 65 or older. Four are of unknown age. Eighteen public health labs in California are testing for the virus. — Louis Freedberg


Wednesday, March 11, 2:15 p.m.

California State University
Cal State Northridge announced it would cancel classes March 12 through March 15. The university will be on spring break next week, but classes will resume online on March 23 and continue to be held virtually through April 19. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 11, 10:46 a.m.

California State University
Cal State Long Beach became the latest university to suspend in-person classes. The university canceled those classes from March 12 through March 17 to allow faculty time to prepare for remote instruction. Courses will resume online beginning March 18. — Michael Burke


Wednesday, March 11, 12 a.m.

K-12 Schools 
The Los Angeles Unified school board voted March 10 to declare a state of emergency across the district, authorizing superintendent Austin Beutner to take “any and all actions necessary” in response to the coronavirus. No immediate actions were taken March 10 but Beutner now has the ability to unilaterally relocate students or take any other steps he deems necessary. The emergency powers also allow him to enter into any contract for any dollar amount without going through the usual approval process. — Michael Burke

California Community Colleges
The San Jose Evergreen Community College District suspended in-person classes at San José City College, Evergreen Valley College, and the Milpitas College Extension from March 11 until March 16. When classes resume on March 16, they will be offered in an online or other distance learning format, to the extent possible, and remain in this alternate mode of delivery through at least April 6.

Mission College in Santa Clara is suspending in-person classes starting March 11 and continuing into April. Classes will resume in waves on March 16, March 23, and April 6 as online courses or with alterations. Lists of classes will be published on the college website and through direct communications from instructors. — Smita Patel

University of California
Most University of California campuses have announced plans to suspend in-person courses. UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara became the latest to move classes online, joining UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego. UC Merced also said the campus would begin “moving toward remote learning.”

UC Davis, meanwhile, says it is “strongly encouraging faculty to go online with their teaching” and has canceled in-person final exams for next week.

The only other UC campus, UCSF, the medical school which offers only graduate courses, has not suspended in-person classes but has canceled large events on campuses. — Michael Burke

California State University
San Diego State plans to move most classes online. From now until the end of spring break on April 3, moving classes online is voluntary and up to each individual instructor. Beginning April 6, the policy will be mandatory, with minor exceptions, such as small lab courses that will continue to meet face-to-face.

San Francisco State has canceled all in-person classes for the remainder of this week. They will resume on March 16 and be held online or through other remote methods until April 5.

Sacramento State faculty have the option of moving their classes online but it is not mandatory. In-person classes will continue for courses whose instructors do not choose to move them online.

CSU East Bay is canceling all in-person lecture, discussion and seminar courses online for all three East Bay campuses beginning March 11. Instruction will resume on March 16 at the regularly scheduled date and time. Courses currently offered online will continue as scheduled. — Michael Burke


Tuesday, March 10, 3:20 p.m.

K-12 Schools 

A student who attends a private, Catholic school operated by the San Francisco Archdiocese has tested positive for the virus, Superintendent Pamela Lyons announced March 10. All 90 schools operated by the archdiocese will close from March 12-25. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 10, 1:22 p.m.

University of California
UC Santa Cruz on March 10 became the latest university to suspend in-person classes. Chancellor Cynthia Larive said in a message to the campus that, through April 3, most courses would be offered through alternate methods, but added that some lab courses would continue to meet in person. — Michael Burke


Tuesday, March 10, 12 p.m.

K-12 Schools 
Gov. Gavin Newsom met with State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and county superintendents on March 9 to hear their concerns about coronavirus and how it could impact schools. Kindra Britt, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education, said the California Department of Public Health is the lead agency working with districts to help them determine if school closures are necessary. She said the state Department of Education wants districts to act the best interests of their students and staff and said that funding questions can be worked out later on a case by case basis. — Theresa Harrington


Tuesday, March 10, 8 a.m.

UC and CSU
On March 9 UC San Diego, San Jose State University, San Francisco State, Santa Clara University and University of San Francisco’s School of Law joined UC Berkeley and Stanford University in moving to online-only instruction, on varying timelines. More colleges are expected to follow. — Michael Burke


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  1. Guillermo Hatfield 1 week ago1 week ago

    Although the coronavirus closure is challenging, students will probably learn more, on average, than students did during closures past. Today’s students have a couple of advantages over previous generations. One is technology. Today teachers can communicate and collect lessons and assignments using email, websites, cloud storage, and videoconferencing software. Students can form study groups using the same technologies. There is a wide variety of educational software and games, all of which are getting what amounts … Read More

    Although the coronavirus closure is challenging, students will probably learn more, on average, than students did during closures past. Today’s students have a couple of advantages over previous generations. One is technology. Today teachers can communicate and collect lessons and assignments using email, websites, cloud storage, and videoconferencing software. Students can form study groups using the same technologies. There is a wide variety of educational software and games, all of which are getting what amounts to a once-in-a-generation stress test.

    The other buffer that children have is their parents. Because so many parents are working remotely or out of work, children have more access to their parents today than they’ve had during previous closures. When teachers struck a generation ago, some married mothers were able to stay home. Today fathers are home as well. And children have fewer siblings today to compete for their parents’ attention.

    When school resumes in the fall – if it does resume in the fall – almost all children will be behind where they would have been had school stayed in session. Score gaps between the children of more and less educated parents will have grown. What do you think about that?

  2. Joe Kardol 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    I am a teacher with two of my own kids in elementary. I am doing a great job managing my own class and helping my own kids along during this time. The current talk is half day for kids. Teachers will have two cohorts - an AM class and a PM class. I will not be able to keep my own family safe. There has got to be other teachers out there with the … Read More

    I am a teacher with two of my own kids in elementary. I am doing a great job managing my own class and helping my own kids along during this time. The current talk is half day for kids. Teachers will have two cohorts – an AM class and a PM class. I will not be able to keep my own family safe. There has got to be other teachers out there with the same problem. Not sure I will go back if this is the case.

    Will there be staffing to cover all the classes that might lose teachers? Not including all the teachers with underlying medical issues and will not be able to return until there is a vaccine.

    We need to go all in to Distance Learning – make a choice and do it great Staff and families need training and a proven online platform to teach with. Spend money on technology and support to get everyone on board – not on disposable PPE for schools and classrooms.

  3. danielle 1 month ago1 month ago

    How is my 6 year old going to handle the transition of going from half-day kindergarten to full-day school after being out since mid-March and from being with me all day and night, she is also an only child. I’m so worried.

  4. Lashell Myers 2 months ago2 months ago

    So when will our kids go back to school? Is the date May 4th permanent?

  5. William Morales 2 months ago2 months ago

    We shouldn’t go back to school till there’s a cure.

  6. Olivia 2 months ago2 months ago

    It’s the scariest situation for the whole world. Every parent should take care of their children by making them stay home. Tell them it is the responsibility of every individual in this crisis situation. Make the children stay at home and learn things by watching online videos

  7. Pooja 2 months ago2 months ago

    No one is deprived of the effect of Covid- 19. It’s harming the health of children as well as adults. All the sectors are equally affected by this epidemic. I owe full respect to the governing bodies who are trying their best to save each individual from it. The prime step is in the field of education where students are told to shift to e-learning. People are locked down. Hope this phase of life passes soon.