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September 2, 2020
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In this Issue

COVID-19 update: CA releases new standards for reopening schools and economy; key meal waivers extended

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new classification system Aug. 28 for measuring COVID-19 risk and reopening the economy in the state’s counties. The “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” places each of the state’s counties in one of four color-coded categories — purple, red, orange or yellow — in order from highest to lowest risk. Purple counties, which are essentially counties that were on the state “monitoring list,” are considered at highest risk and have the most restrictions. As counties move toward the yellow classification, which has the fewest constraints, additional categories of businesses can reopen and more activities become permissible. Conversely, a county can be demoted to a more restrictive tier if it falls short of the criteria for its current tier for two consecutive weeks, or if it experiences a dramatic rise in COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

The new guidance regarding schools is largely the same as what was presented in the California Department of Public Health’s July 17 School Reopening Framework, except that Tier 1 (Purple tier) is now substituted for monitoring list status. In order to reopen schools for in-person instruction, counties must not only move into the red tier (second-most restrictive), but also remain there for at least two weeks in order to welcome students back to campus. That means a county must effectively have a test positivity rate under 8 percent and fewer than seven new cases per 100,000 residents for at least a month to reopen schools. Purple tier counties can still apply for elementary school reopening waivers but may not reopen secondary schools until their status is upgraded to the red tier. Learn more »

In other COVID-19 developments:
  • In a win for local educational agencies and students throughout California, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Aug. 31 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will extend several flexibilities that allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children through as late as Dec. 31, 2020. CSBA was among a number of organizations that wrote the USDA and Congressional leaders in support of extending the waivers. Specifically, the waivers: allow school meals to be served in all areas at no cost; permit meals to be served outside of the typically required group settings and meal times; waive meal pattern requirements as necessary; and allow parents/guardians to pick up meals for their child. Learn more »
  • The California Department of Education has transitioned the assessment used to determine a student’s English proficiency to an online format. The Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) serves as the state’s English language proficiency assessment to identify students as English learners. The test is administered to all students whose primary or home language is not English. Same-day results will be available in the top four non-English languages for California: Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin or Cantonese, and Filipino. Learn more »
  • EL RISE! (English Learner Roadmap Implementation for Systemic Excellence), a new collaboration to support the needs of English learners in California, hosted an Aug. 18 webinar providing guidance on how to center equitable opportunities for ELs in the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, required to be submitted by LEAs by Sept. 30. Recommendations include specifying intentional Integrated and Designated English Language Development time; emphasizing live, interactive instruction; addressing the digital divide; providing proactive support for family collaboration; and focusing on socio-emotional supports. Read more about the collaboration’s goals and more tips for centering the needs of ELs »

Legislative update: Ethnic studies bill passes; broadband infrastructure bills fail; COVID-19 liability remains unresolved

Legislators raced the clock Monday night to tackle California’s biggest challenges amid the COVID-19 crisis before the conclusion of the 2019–20 legislative session. Gov. Gavin Newsom must sign or veto bills by Sept. 30. Highlights from the past week include:

  • Assembly Bill 331 (Medina, D–Riverside), which would add the completion of a one-semester course in ethnic studies to the high school graduation requirements, was passed by both houses Monday night and heads now to the Governor’s desk.
  • Legislators also approved Senate Bill 820, the education budget trailer bill that covered key issues to schools, including: funding for LEAs with growing enrollment, the timeline for spending and reporting learning loss mitigation funds, reporting requirements for the new Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan template and clarifying distance learning requirements related to synchronous and asynchronous learning and recording. The bill now moves to the Governor for approval.
  • AB 570 (Aguiar-Curry, D–Winters) and SB 1130 (Gonzalez, D–Long Beach), two bills that sought to support distance learning amid COVID-19 and address the digital divide by improving the state’s broadband infrastructure, failed to pass.
  • The issue of COVID-19 liability remains unresolved as Legislative leadership declined to take up AB 1384 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) before the session adjourned. Legislators also approved SB 1159 (Hill, D-San Mateo), which would add COVID-19-related illness or death to the list of on-the-job injuries covered by worker’s compensation until Jan. 1, 2024, and create a disputable presumption that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment. SB 1159 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Governor now has 30 days to act on legislation sent to him. After that deadline, CSBA will compile the new laws relevant to education in “What’s New for 2021.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memo directs agency to reject any new DACA applications

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision in University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Court’s decision was based on narrow administrative grounds and did not determine the legitimacy of the DACA program. On July 28, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security issued a memo limiting the DACA program, and on Aug. 21, a follow up implementation memo from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow was published. Among other provisions, the memo provides guidance to USCIS as follows:

  • USCIS will reject any new DACA applications from undocumented immigrants who have never before received a grant of DACA.
  • USCIS will continue to decide DACA renewal applications, but will only grant requests for DACA and associated employment authorization for a period of no more than one year.
  • USCIS will allow previous two-year grants of DACA and associated employment authorization to remain undisturbed during their existing two-year validity periods.

CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance joined two amicus briefs in the consolidated court cases against the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA and will continue to monitor the status of the DACA program, including whether this new round of regulatory limitations will be subject to legal challenge. Read more on the CSBA blog »

Nominate a CSBA Director-at-Large

Nominations for CSBA Directors-at-Large for Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic are now being accepted through Friday, October 2. Directors-at-Large must be nominated by a CSBA member board and nominees must be a member of a member board. All candidates must submit a completed nomination form, a completed candidate form and two letters of recommendation. The candidate form and letters of recommendation will be published in the Delegate Assembly agenda packet exactly as submitted; it is the responsibility of the nominee to ensure these documents have been submitted to CSBA by the due date. Learn more and apply »

SI&A offers focus for September Attendance Awareness Month

September is national Attendance Awareness Month and SI&A is laser focused on student attendance and participation. As a valued strategic partner of CSBA, SI&A provides the support district need to track participation levels for effective interventions and to find missing kids. SI&A is giving direct and immediate support by assisting districts with identifying and implementing remote learning codes, tracking student participation levels for effective interventions and providing data so districts can make informed decisions. Learn more »

COVID-19 resources

Stay up to date with the latest news and resources related to COVID-19 on CSBA's dedicated webpage and with articles frequently posted on the CSBA blog.


Virtual events

2020 CCBE Annual Conference
Sept. 11-12 | Register here

2020 Annual Education Conference
Dec. 3-4 | Register here

*All September in-person events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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