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Friday, January 14, 2022


School stress explodes as COVID-19 cases soar
With winter break over and classes reopened, the current surge of COVID-19 is leading to soaring absenteeism — along with frustration and anxiety — in schools throughout Orange County. While student absences are problematic, schools also are hurt by big numbers of teachers and other staff calling in sick because they’ve got the virus or been exposed to it. The cascading problems have left educators scrambling to fill teaching vacancies and distribute test kits to families — all while trying to keep school as normal as possible.

Members of O.C. School Board could face bigger, more liberal electorate
A proposal to finalize Orange County Board of Education seats in the November general election, not a primary election, soon could be taken up by the California legislature. If approved, SB-286, backed by state Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, would force the five-member board to face a bigger and more liberal block of voters than they do now in order to keep their seats. In recent years, the board – which doesn’t oversee any school district but does carry the symbolic power of the name “Orange County” – has waged legal fights and held public hearings to promote conservative views on issues such as the pandemic and critical race theory.


Ocean View School District to demolish vacant Park View School
Board members said the school site, which closed in 1988, has become decrepit and a blight.


Saddleback Valley School District Angers Parents by Ending COVID Dashboard During Surge
Saddleback Valley Unified School District nixed its COVID-19 dashboard because officials can’t keep up with the high number of new cases, sparking another flashpoint in Orange County’s debate on how to teach children during the Omicron surge. “We regret to inform you that we have been unable to maintain accurate up-to-date reporting data,” reads the district website. “With a focus on our students, we have been funneling our District Office personnel resources to our school sites so that in-person student learning is not interrupted as we experience isolation periods of school staff members.”


S.F. school district, unions reach deal on COVID-19 safety measures
The San Francisco Unified School District and a number of unions reached a tentative agreement on Thursday over health and safety conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oakland Unified likely to push back student vaccine mandate to summer
More than 6,000 Oakland school district students are still not fully vaccinated despite a requirement that would remove them from in-person instruction at the end of the month.


About one-third of LAUSD students absent this week
The nation’s second-largest district, which welcomed students back to campuses on Tuesday, reported on Thursday, Jan. 13, that the average attendance rate for the first week of school was 66.8%, based on preliminary data.


California schools get off to a shaky start after holiday break
The return to California classrooms after the winter holiday break has been rocky, as Covid infection rates continue to climb, schools run out of substitutes to take over classrooms for ill and quarantined teachers, and district officials and staff wrangle over safety protocols. But lessons continue — although some are happening in merged classes held in auditoriums or gymnasiums — and teachers have adapted them with safety in mind.

Covid vaccination rates in children 5 to 11 lagging badly in California
The rate of children between ages 5 to 11 receiving covid vaccinations in California and across the nation is lagging badly, and doctors are concerned, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Only 17% of eligible children in the state were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, the news service reported. In contrast, Vermont’s rate for the same age group was 48 %. Experts are blaming disinformation as a leading cause of the lag.


California school officials revise comments on remote learning options
The California Department of Education issued a new statement Thursday saying that schools can’t temporarily switch to remote learning due to staff shortages after a POLITICO story quoting a state official prompted an influx of questions from local school districts.

COVID surge causes rash of teacher, student absences at SLO County schools
The surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant is hitting San Luis Obispo County schools hard, forcing teachers and students to stay home sick at high rates and for longer periods of time than normal illnesses.

Here’s where Oakland Unified could make $50 million in budget cuts
The Oakland Unified School District board has just a few weeks to decide how to slash nearly $50 million from its budget for the 2022-2023 school year. Additional pressure from the Alameda County Office of Education means that if the school board can’t come to a decision, their salaries, and the superintendent’s, could be withheld.

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