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Friday, July 24, 2020


State education rules could let some back to class, and some O.C. schools want in
The governor’s recent demand for online education in most of California includes an opt-out that could let some elementary schools re-open with in-person instruction – and Orange County schools are checking into it. How this waiver would work, and what data would determine public safety, are still being ironed out. Some health experts have said in-class instruction could further the spread of coronavirus.

Newport-Mesa Unified plan for learning subjects in blocks met with parent protest
Just a day after Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials voted to teach courses for middle and high school students in longer blocks, but split over the two semesters of the upcoming school year, more than 1,500 parents had signed an online petition opposing the move. Instead of the traditional teaching method of studying subjects throughout the year, the school board on Tuesday, July 21, supported a block-style curriculum where students will complete half their courses in the fall and half in the spring.


Schools may soon apply for waivers to reopen — but only with union support
School districts, charters and private schools in L.A. County may begin applying within days for waivers that would allow them to reopen elementary schools in person — but public schools will have to show they have union support, county public health officials said Thursday. The requirement to show union support will likely give some charters and private schools — most of whose teachers are not unionized — an advantage in qualifying for a waiver, potentially exacerbating the divide between well-off students and their more disadvantaged peers, which has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

L.A. County could use parks, libraries as learning sites amid school closures
Los Angeles County is considering using parks and libraries as alternative learning sites for students as most schools remain shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support a proposal by Supervisor Janice Hahn to allow children to use spaces at libraries and parks in unincorporated areas while school campuses are closed. The vote comes less than two weeks after L.A. Unified School District announced that in-person classes would not resume in August as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the county and across California.


Poll: Most San Diegans agree with mandated school closures
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to keep schools closed in counties with high coronavirus case numbers provoked disappointment from parents and schools, and even a lawsuit. But a new poll of San Diego County shows that most adults agree with the controversial order. About 58 percent of county adults surveyed agree with Newsom’s order that all public and private schools in most of the state’s counties must stay closed until the county stays off the state’s COVID-19 watch list for two weeks, according to results of a SurveyUSA poll released Thursday.


‘Learning hubs’ opening across SF to help 6,000 kids in need with distance education
San Francisco officials are readying an unprecedented educational assistance program for the fall meant to help up to 6,000 children with their distance-learning needs, as parents and students confront the reality of starting the school year without classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in September, dozens of recreation facilities, libraries and community centers across the city will be transformed into “learning hubs,” spaces where young students who may struggle with remote instruction can go each day to access their digital classwork and the social interactions that virtual schooling cannot provide.


CDC COVID-19 advice tells schools to wash hands, wear masks, don't touch. But not when to close
Parent check-list for back-to-school: Label your child's face mask with permanent marker. Have them practice putting on and taking off their mask without touching the cloth. Make a labeled, resealable plastic bag to store their mask during lunch time.  Those are among the suggestions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for school administrators and parents as families prepare for school to resume in the fall.


California school districts brace for an online back-to-school season
Most California schools are preparing for a new reality of entirely remote classes this fall, after Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced that schools cannot offer in-person instruction if they are in counties the state is closely monitoring for coronavirus spread. That means it is back to the drawing board for the many districts that were previously planning on offering a variety of options to students and parents, ranging from in-person classes and online instruction to hybrid approaches that involve a blend of both.

School police give way to more counselors in California districts as demands grow for reform
Faced with a soaring budget deficit and a growing fear of school shootings, Fontana Unified took a drastic step in the early 2010s: First, the board laid off the district’s entire staff of 69 counselors. And then it bought its police department 14 automatic rifles. The San Bernardino County district was not unusual.

Quick Guide: How has the pandemic altered California’s school accountability reforms?
Over the last decade, California adopted a range of landmark reforms to hold schools — and students — accountable for improving academic performance. These included administering new standardized tests aligned with the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards, requiring schools to draw up a Local Control and Accountability Plan, setting new priorities for measuring success and creating the California School Dashboard. But the coronavirus pandemic has upended this painstakingly instituted accountability system. This guide outlines where things stand in California.

TEACHER VOICES Yearning for my pre-pandemic classroom with all its challenges
I’m not gonna lie: Sometime at the beginning of March as I began to hear about school closures in some districts around the country — as I trudged along in my still-open seventh-grade classroom, negotiating the Common Core curriculum, field-trip permission slips and the occasional student meltdown — I was envious. Our spring break was a few weeks away and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to get an extra week off from school? Maybe two extra weeks in addition to spring break?”


Virtual Learning Vs. Homeschooling: San Diego Parents Choose Between Models Of Learning
With in-class learning in brick-and-mortar schools on pause because of COVID-19, school-aged children will be learning at home in the fall. But virtual learning and homeschooling are two very different options for parents to consider. Ramona resident Claire Roush Bennett taught high school in the public school system and now works as an administrator for JCS Family charter schools. She also homeschools her two children. She says many parents she’s talked to feel their kids don't do well in the virtual learning environment.

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