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Monday, February 22, 2021


You’re invited: Black History Month virtual forum will examine equity, opportunity and inclusion
Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares will host a virtual forum this Thursday, Feb. 25 in recognition of Black History Month, with featured speakers set to discuss African American experiences and strategies for ensuring equity, opportunity and inclusion. Leveraging the theme “Know My Name, Face and Story,” the OCDE-organized event will be streamed live from 3:25 p.m. to 5 p.m. Teachers, counselors, administrators and others who educate and support students are encouraged to register to attend.

COVID-19 update: New state guidance for youth sports allows outdoor athletics to resume 
The California Department of Public Health on Friday released new updates to its guidance for youth and high school sports, allowing play to resume across many parts of California if certain health and safety protocols are met. The updated guidance will now allow outdoor, high-contact sports in counties in the more restrictive purple and red tiers of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system to commence if they meet the case rate requirements.


Orange County will expand vaccination eligibility to educators, food and agriculture sectors next week
Starting next week, Orange County will devote about a third of new coronavirus vaccine shipments to those working in education, child care and food and agriculture sectors – a gear shift into the county’s next phase of mass immunization. But short-term plans will be at the mercy of recent extreme winter weather, which has frozen supply lines of an already logistically scarce vaccine.

Union for Capistrano Unified teachers wants district to make more COVID-19 safety changes
The union representing teachers in Capistrano Unified wants district leaders to address concerns about a lack of enough social distancing in classrooms and contact tracing of coronavirus cases, local and state union leaders said. The Capistrano Unified Educators Association has sent a demand later to district officials alerting them a complaint could be filed with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the California Teacher Association said in a press release this week.

Teacher turns walk to school into fun reading experience
An elementary school teacher has come up with a way to encourage reading, outdoor exercise and family time, all done in a manner that keeps everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic. In September, when teaching and learning were only taking place virtually in the Tustin Unified School District, Jesse Holmes, a fourth-grade teacher at Hicks Canyon Elementary School in Irvine, devised the Storybook Walk.


No quick path to reopening L.A. Unified is emerging as school year slips away
Gov. Gavin Newsom sought to hasten schools’ reopening with his vaccine allocation plan, but the L.A. teachers union remains opposed to reopening until community infection rates drop further and vaccines take full effect.


LAUSD teachers’ union contemplating a refusal to return to in-person work
Faced with mounting pressure by some elected officials, parents and others who want schools to reopen, the union representing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers announced Friday, Feb. 19, that its members will soon take a vote on whether they should refuse to return to campus if in-person instruction becomes mandatory. More than 900 chapter chairs voted on this question earlier this week, with 93% electing to “organize around a refusal to return for a full or hybrid physical reopening of schools” until certain safety conditions are met, union President Cecily Myart-Cruz said during her weekly update.


S.F. school board is pausing renaming of 44 schools after coming under fire
Facing intense pressure on multiple fronts, San Francisco’s school board president has signaled that its members are pausing controversial efforts to rename 44 district schools.

Effort launched to recall three S.F. school board members
More than 1,200 city residents have so far signed a petition that started circulating Friday to recall three members of the San Francisco Board of Education.

Confusion over S.F. schools’ fall return underscores parents’ anxiety
A principal’s missive to parents — with wrong information about what schools will look like in the fall — leads to viral outrage on social media, fueled by ongoing confusion and anxiety about a return to in-person learning.


Judge grants San Diego County youth athletes restraining order to compete
High school athletes in San Diego secured a second victory on Friday, Feb. 19 as a court granted a temporary restraining order requested by two football players seeking an immediate return to competition under the same coronavirus protocols as players in the college and professional ranks. San Diego Superior Court Judge Earl H. Maas issued the order against Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines for youth and high school sports hours after Newsom announced restrictions for outdoor, high-contact sports such as football would be loosened to allow competition starting Feb. 26 if certain coronavirus metrics and testing criteria were met.

Entire Oakley school board resigns over embarrassing hot mic moment during public meeting
It started with profanity, jokes about parents just wanting a babysitter or to smoke pot in their homes, and then came the horrible realization by the elected officials making these remarks that they were on a live video stream being broadcast to the public. And now, the three-day saga that has garnered national attention and widespread condemnation has resulted in the resignation of the entire Oakley Union Elementary School District Board, according to a letter  Friday from the district’s superintendent, Greg Hetrick. He wrote that county education board members will replace the board in an interim capacity.

FAQ: What do California’s new youth, high school sports rules mean for me?
California's new youth, prep sports guidelines: Here's everything you need to know.


San Bernardino County elementary schools cleared to reopen Monday
San Bernardino County elementary schools can reopen Monday, Feb. 22, if they want to and have an approved reopening plan. Steadily improving coronavirus case numbers reached the level Friday, Feb. 19, needed to allow districts to reopen schools from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade on the next school day. Specifically, the county’s adjusted case rate — the number of new coronavirus per 100,000 people, adjusted for how many people in the county have been tested — has been below 25 for five consecutive days, starting Monday, Feb. 15.


Financial aid applications lag among California high school seniors
With just a couple of weeks to go before the state filing deadline, far fewer California high school students have completed college financial aid applications than is typical. Applications from students age 18 and under are down from previous years. As of Feb 15, only 314,855 students under age 18 completed an application. That’s 27,522 fewer than last year and 22,313 fewer than 2019.

Will Gov. Newsom's move to reserve vaccines for teachers break school reopening logjam?
Newsom's plan to reserve 10% of vaccines for teachers could lead to more schools reopening, but it could take too long to satisfy many parents if teachers insist on being fully immunized before returning.

Veteran teachers surveyed worry about Covid’s long-term harm on California students
In the first comprehensive survey of California teachers’ experiences during distance learning, a majority confirm the biggest worries of many policymakers and education leaders: They say they believe their students risk long-term academic and mental health damage from the Covid pandemic.

California accountability data masks English learner progress, report says
California school data doesn’t paint a full picture of English learners. It’s more like a sketch. That’s according to a new report by Californians Together, a nonprofit organization that researches and advocates for students who speak a language other than English at home. These students make up about 2.4 million students in the state — 2 out of 5 students.


Ventura County hits COVID-19 target that allows elementary schools to reopen
On Sunday, Ventura County's rate of COVID-19 cases reached a desired threshold that allows elementary schools to reopen. Schools serving kindergarten through sixth grade must first submit a COVID-19 safety plan before they can resume in-person instruction seven days later. As of midday Friday, Oak Park Unified School district had submitted a plan, as had the Mesa Union School District, the Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education and Casa Pacifica, officials said Sunday evening.


California Will Begin Setting Aside 10% Of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses For Teachers
California is planning to start setting aside 10% of the COVID-19 vaccine the state receives each week to vaccinate teachers, day care workers and other school employees in the hopes of getting more students back in the classroom. "It must be done, and it must be done much sooner than the current path we are on. And we believe this will advance that cause," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday as he announced the plan at an Oakland vaccination site.


How East Whittier City School teachers are getting ready to return to school
It’s not something you would typically see on a Thursday in the middle of February but last week Ocean View Elementary School Principal Kim Songer, flanked by four socially distanced kindergarten teachers, was giving them a tour of the school on a nearly empty campus. But since Ocean View, like most schools in this nation, has been closed since last March. Songer was going over safety protocols that will be followed when kindergartners return to in-person instruction on March 1.


Student survey: 1 in 4 high school seniors had their post-graduation plans changed by the pandemic
COVID-19 is changing what students plan to do after high school, with those more affected by the pandemic more likely to have altered their post-graduation expectations, a new student survey reveals. One in four high school seniors said their postsecondary plans had changed since the start of the pandemic, an increase from 18 percent of seniors during a previous survey in spring 2020. Thirty percent of non-white students said their plans had changed, compared to 18 percent of white students, according to the survey conducted in fall 2020 by the nonprofit YouthTruth.

Teachers union leader on reopening schools: 'If the NFL could figure out how to do this, let's do it'
"Teachers know that in-person education is really important. We would have said that pre-pandemic. We knew remote education is not a good substitute.” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said Sunday that U.S. schools need to "actually try to get as much in person as possible right now.”

‘A legacy of systemic racism’: Black students, especially boys, still being suspended at far greater rates
California's Black students, Black boys in particular, are far more likely than their peers to be suspended or expelled throughout their school career, especially during kindergarten through third grade, a recent study by San Diego State University professors found. Black students are suspended more often than any other student racial group in California.

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