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Thursday, September 10, 2020


Q&A: OC Children’s Book Festival director inspires families to find joy in reading
As reported in the OCDE Newsroom last month, the 17th annual Orange County Children’s Book Festival kicks off virtually on Monday, Sept. 14, featuring a pretty impressive line-up of popular authors, illustrators, storytellers and entertainers. While nothing can replace an in-person event, Pat Burns, Orange County Children’s Book Festival co-founder and executive director, recently told the Daily Pilot that she’s happy that the festival will be continuing, even in a virtual form.


California Supreme Court denies O.C. Board of Education petition to reopen campuses
The Orange County Board of Education’s bid to force California to re-open school campuses for in-person learning ended Wednesday when the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Board of Education President Ken Williams expressed disappointment with the ruling. “I am sorry that the state Supreme Court did not view that Governor Newsom has abused his emergency powers that are given to governors under a real healthcare crisis. Our families and children are suffering from not going to school.”

Orange County families rally for schools to reopen soon, parents’ choice
They came with family members, colorful signs and a desire to reopen schools as soon as possible. A crowd of about 50 parents, students and advocates rallied outside Beckman High School in Irvine on Tuesday, Sept. 8, for the swift reopening of schools for an array of educational, economic and social reasons.


Chapman University moves closer to restoring historic schoolhouse that played critical role in desegregation
Chapman University moves closer to restoring historic schoolhouse that played critical role in desegregation Chapman University just got one step closer to restoring the former Lydia D. Killefer School building, which was the first school to desegregate in Orange County in 1944. The Killefer school desegregated three years before the landmark Méndez vs. Westminster case forced the county’s schools to integrate. According to the Old Towne Preservation Assn., it is believed to be the first school in California to desegregate.


How Bay Area schools plan to conduct coronavirus testing for students and staff
Starting Thursday, about 300 students and staff at Synapse School, a private elementary and middle school in Menlo Park, will start the new school year with a new routine. Everyone will get tested once a week for the coronavirus. In a tent in the school parking lot, each student and staff member will get their nostrils swabbed. They will get results back by the weekend, and they must test negative to come to school the following Monday for in-person instruction, slated to begin Sept 14.


The next big hurdle: California schools grapple with how, when or if to reopen campuses
Just as students and teachers across California are adjusting to distance learning, many districts are bracing for a new challenge, one that may be even more daunting: How — and when — to re-open campuses safely. Although the coronavirus continues to spread in California, some districts have reopened for in-person classes, and others may be able to welcome students back to campus as soon as this month. Those in areas with the highest infection rates will stay closed for the foreseeable future.

California superintendents navigate how to reopen campuses while keeping students, teachers safe
No issues are vexing superintendents more this fall than decisions about distance learning and reopening school campuses for in-person instruction. Each must weigh a complicated set of high-risk, competing factors, with the lives and health of students, staff and their families at stake. California health officials have provided guidelines for school districts, but teachers’ unions, parents and local health officials also have a say. Some districts are grappling with unique conditions that affect reopening plans, such as large numbers of students who take the bus to school, or remote geography with weak or no internet access.


The Pandemic Has Researchers Worried About Teen Suicide
Teen and youth anxiety and depression are getting worse since COVID lockdowns began in March, early studies suggest, and many experts say they fear a corresponding increase in youth suicide. At the end of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed almost 10,000 Americans on their mental health. They found symptoms of anxiety and depression were up sharply across the board between March and June, compared with the same time the previous year. And young people seemed to be the hardest-hit of any group.


New data suggest pandemic may not just be leaving low-income students behind, it may be propelling wealthier ones even further ahead
The pandemic may be exacerbating achievement gaps not only by leaving some students behind but by propelling more privileged children even farther ahead academically, new data suggest. Participation and mastery rates in Zearn Math, an online math program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, offer a glimpse into the crisis: When schools shut down in mid-March, participation and progress dropped off for students from low- and middle-income communities but rose to levels higher than before the shutdown for those from high-income areas.

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