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California education news: What’s the latest?

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 5:00 pm

Link copied.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.

Read Obama’s entire speech here

Louis Freedberg

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 12:00 pm

Link copied.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

Friday, May 15, 2020, 7:45 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:50 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:40 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:45 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 10:45 am

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:55 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 10:00 am

Link copied.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, 2020, 3:45 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 10:00 am

Link copied.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, 2020, 9:30 am

Link copied.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.)

EdSource staff

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 2:40 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 5:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:05 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 12:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:25 pm

Link copied.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 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 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, 2020, 6:10 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:50 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:20 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 7:03 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.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.

EdSource staff

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 1:35 pm

Link copied.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

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 12:00 pm

Link copied.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

Monday, April 27, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 11:24 am

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:40 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 11:00 pm

Link copied.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.

EdSource staff

Thursday, April 23, 2020, 1:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:30 pm

Link copied.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 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, 2020, 1:35 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 6:00 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 4:40 pm

Link copied.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

Theresa Harrington

Saturday, April 18, 2020, 2:30 pm

Link copied.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

Friday, April 17, 2020, 3:00 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:45 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:05 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:40 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 11:15 am

Link copied.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, 2020, 1:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:10 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 7:00 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 2:20 pm

Link copied.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 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, 2020, 1:30 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 9:40 pm

Link copied.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, 2020, 5:00 pm

Link copied.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