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Thursday, January 13, 2022


COVID-19 update: State releases updated K-12 guidance with revised recommendations for quarantines, contact tracing
The California Department of Public Health updated its COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools late Wednesday with revised quarantine recommendations and a modified approach to contact tracing. Here are a few early takeaways from the guidance, which became effective immediately:

It’s time to recognize your favorite school counselors and counseling advocates
The Orange County Department of Education is gathering nominations for its annual Counselor Recognition Program. Established in 2018, the awards program spotlights outstanding local school counselors and school counseling advocates who consistently go above and beyond to support students, staff, schools and families.

COVID-19 update: Governor signs executive order to address staffing shortages in California schools
Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed an executive order aimed at giving schools more flexibility when it comes to short-term staffing for in-person learning. The order, which takes effect immediately and expires on Mar. 31, will make it easier for schools and districts to hire and extend assignments to substitute teachers, while also eliminating hurdles retired teachers may face while returning to classrooms, according to the state.


Placentia-Yorba Linda school district returns to class — and clashes over masks
For much of the coronavirus pandemic, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District board meetings have been the scene of public health defiance, not compliance. Speakers at the podium routinely rail against masks in schools, vaccines and vaccine mandates. Often times, they find common cause with the board. The district provided masks in the lobby for people who arrived without one. Those who still refused to be masked were instructed to watch the school board meeting outside or online.


Classroom or Online Learning? Orange County Debates How to Teach Students During Omicron Spike
Spiking COVID-19 cases in Orange County and throughout California – driven by the Omicron variant – are raising questions about how local and state officials should handle schools as hospitalizations continue increasing.


Oakland schools brace for another teacher sickout as students threaten to walkout next week
Oakland schools are bracing for another teacher sickout less than a week after a group of teachers forced the closure of 12 campuses by calling in sick to protest working conditions during the region’s omicron surge.


Oakland schools announce ‘wellness day’ off on Friday, extend COVID leave for staff
The Oakland Unified School District has extended COVID-19 leave for thousands of employees and announced a “wellness day” off for teachers on Friday ahead of another planned “sickout” by some teachers and students, who are demanding better COVID safety measures. OUSD announced it reached an agreement with the Oakland Education Association last week to extend COVID leave, which affords supplemental sick days for staff related to COVID, through the end of the year, according to a Wednesday news release.


COVID surge creates challenge for LBUSD
The spring semester is off to a challenging start at the Long Beach Unified School District, with the current winter surge of the coronavirus — driven by the omicron variant — infecting swaths of students and faculty, leaving administrators scrambling to fill in for COVID-19-infected teachers and educators struggling to catch up sick children.


Children’s behavioral outcomes may be worse during remote learning, research shows
New Harvard research shows that educational instability, a hallmark of the pandemic that includes school shutdowns and switching between in-person, hybrid, and remote learning formats, negatively affects children’s social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. In an online survey of more than 400 families conducted between January to May last year, parents reported that when learning remotely or in a hybrid program, their children exhibited worse behavior and more maladaptive changes than when learning in-person.


COVID surge hits South Bay schools
Schools reckon with staffing shortages, student absences as virus surges.


Nearly 2,000 LAUSD Staff Members Got COVID-19 Vaccine Exemptions
The Los Angeles Unified School District, one of the largest employers in the county, issued a vaccine mandate last August, requiring all workers to get vaccinated or face being fired. The move came after Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated vaccines or weekly testing for all staff at California's public schools. Employees with religious objections or medical conditions preventing them from getting the shot could, the district said, “engage in an interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation exists." A public records request filed by LAist has revealed that more than 3,200 staff members made that request.


More than 1 million fewer students are in college, the lowest enrollment numbers in 50 years
More than 1 million fewer students are enrolled in college now than before the pandemic began. According to new data released Thursday, U.S. colleges and universities saw a drop of nearly 500,000 undergraduate students in the fall of 2021, continuing a historic decline that began the previous fall. "It's very frightening," says Doug Shapiro, who leads the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse, where the new data comes from. "Far from filling the hole of [2020's] enrollment declines, we are still digging it deeper."


California official: Schools can return to distance learning due to staff shortages
Schools faced with the prospect of closing due to Covid-related staffing shortages and student outbreaks can shift students to temporary remote learning programs, the California Department of Education said Wednesday.

Oster study finds learning loss far greater in districts that went fully remote
What are the consequences of closing virtually every American school and shifting to online education for months at a time? It’s a question that education experts have been asking since the emergence of COVID-19, and one whose answers are gradually becoming clearer. With federal sources reporting that 99 percent of students have now returned to classrooms, newly available data are showing how students were affected by spending long stretches of the last two school years at home. And the signs are not good.

20 LAUSD law enforcement employees sue over mandatory vaccine mandate
Twenty school law enforcement officers are suing Los Angeles Unified, alleging they were either wrongfully fired or face termination despite filing for exemptions to the district's mandatory employee coronavirus vaccination mandate.

Oakland schools are facing $50M in cuts. Here are some budget basics
With Oakland’s school board under pressure to make major reductions, we set out to answer questions about school finances, and provide resources for more digging.

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