California education news: What’s the latest?
Thursday, March 19, 2020, 3:50 pm
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, 2020, 3:10 pm
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, 2020, 1:30 pm
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, 2020, 6:30 pm
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, 2020, 5:30 pm
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, 2020, 4:00 pm
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, 2020, 3:30 pm
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, 2020, 7:00 pm
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, 2020, 2:30 pm
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, 2020, 1:00 pm
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, 2020, 12:30 pm
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, 2020, 4:00 pm
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, 2020, 2:15 pm
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, 2020, 12:20 pm
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, 2020, 9:00 am
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, 2020, 2:00 pm
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.—EdSource staff
Sunday, March 15, 2020, 11:00 am
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, 2020, 7:45 pm
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, 2020, 5:10 pm
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, 2020, 3:20 pm
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, 2020, 1:20 pm
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, 2020, 12:30 pm
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, 2020, 7:30 pm
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, 2020, 5:50 pm
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, 2020, 5:26 pm
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
Thursday, March 12, 2020, 6:45 pm
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, 2020, 5:31 pm
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, 2020, 12:53 pm
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, 2020, 4:33 pm
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, 2020, 4:00 pm
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, 2020, 3:53 pm
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.
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.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 2:46 pm
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, 2020, 2:15 pm
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.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 12:00 pm
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
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 12:00 pm
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.
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.
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
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 10:46 am
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
Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 3:20 pm
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, 2020, 1:22 pm
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, 2020, 12:00 pm
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, 2020, 8:00 am
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