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Monday, March 22, 2021


State Board of Education approves ethnic studies curriculum for high schools
The California State Board of Education has unanimously approved the nation’s first statewide ethnic studies curriculum for high schools. While it is not mandated, the California Department of Education says the curriculum is intended to supply local school districts with the background, ideas and examples to begin local discussions on expanding ethnic studies offerings.

COVID-19 update: CDC adjusts classroom distancing guidance; OCDE to phase out education PODs 
State health officials now recommend a minimum of 3 feet of space between students seated in a classroom rather than the previous rule of 6 feet, but teachers should continue to sit at least 6 feet apart from students and other staff. The California Department of Public Health on Saturday revised its guidance for K-12 schools to reflect the recommendations announced a day earlier by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


California reverses decision, OKs sideline cheerleading
Three days after banning cheerleaders on the sidelines of newly begun spring high school football, California officials reversed their decision Friday, March 19. “Today, (California Department of Public Health) will clarify that sideline cheer is an allowable sport under the state’s youth and adult recreational sports guidelines,” a department spokesperson wrote in an email Friday. “Sideline cheer is considered comparable to competitive cheer as a moderate-contact sport and should follow all requirements of other outdoor moderate-contact sports.”

Nominees announced for Orange County high school Artist of the Year 2021
A total of 616 students have been nominated by teachers and private instructors from 72 Orange County high schools and arts organizations for The Orange County Register’s Artist of the Year program, now in its eighth year. In this year of online and hybrid learning, teaching arts classes has been especially challenging. Not only have teachers had to reimagine their lessons for online and socially distant learning, but keeping students interested and engaged when they cannot perform together, or create in an art studio, has added extra layers of complexity.

OC Board of Education lawsuit over hiring lawyer costs taxpayers $3.2 million
Members of the Orange County Board of Education recently announced the settlement of a lawsuit they filed against Orange County Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares over the hiring of an attorney. The lawsuit’s cost to taxpayers: Nearly $3.2 million in attorney fees. Both the board and Mijares accuse the other side of wasting money. And while one case is settled, a separate suit – also filed by the board against the superintendent – is pending. To date, the second case has racked up outside legal fees in excess of $128,000.


Edison High School dives into the deep end for construction of new pool
Huntington Beach Union High School officials broke ground at Edison High School for its new pool on Thursday, March 18.

Less than 30% of students ready to return to LAUSD campuses, survey shows
Fewer than 3 in 10 students would return to campus, based on survey results compiled by Los Angeles school officials.


A Year After Going Home, Some OC Schools are Still Debating Whether or Not to Come Back
The role of schools has been a hot topic in Orange County over the last year, as parents, educators and students debated what a safe return looked like amidst a global pandemic.  Depending on where you live, the schoolyard is a different reality: while many students have been back on campus for months, communities that were hit hardest by the virus are still debating a return to in-person learning. All 28 of Orange County’s school districts came up with different plans for their vision of school in a pandemic, and as numbers improved similarities started to emerge.


Oakland teachers union approves school reopening agreement
Members of the Oakland teachers union have approved a tentative agreement with the Oakland Unified School District to get some elementary school students back into classrooms by the end of the month, the district announced late Saturday.


Schools already testing students and staff for coronavirus say it's crucial to in-person class: 'It's worth it'
Last November, McSwain Union Elementary School in Northern California was living two realities. The school with about 850 students in Merced had a waiver to conduct in-person learning. But it couldn’t keep teachers in the building because of exposure to positive coronavirus cases. In January, the school started testing teachers and then students for the virus, even if they weren't showing symptoms.


California to follow CDC’s recommendation to reduce social distancing in school to 3 feet
In alignment with new federal guidance, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health will immediately halve the minimum social distancing requirement in schools from 6 feet to 3 feet. The decision may enable many school districts to resume full-day in-person instruction before the end of this school year, instead of having to remain in full distance learning or resorting to a hybrid model because of distancing constraints.

California schools, universities condemn anti-Asian attacks, offer support to students
As violence against Asian Americans surges across the country, education leaders in California strongly condemned the racist attacks and underscored schools’ crucial roles in combating xenophobia and teaching tolerance. While racism against Asian Americans has always existed, especially in California, the recent increase began a year ago, as former President Donald Trump falsely blamed the Covid-19 epidemic on China.

Enrollment declines at California’s community colleges far greater than earlier predictions
In a dramatic illustration of the impact of the pandemic on many students’ college plans, enrollments at California’s community colleges are down an average of 11% to 12% systemwide, far higher than the preliminary estimates of 5% to 7% after schools opened last fall.


Sacramento City Unified, Teachers Union Reach Agreement To Bring Back Students Starting April 8
After months of negotiations, the Sacramento City Unified School District and the Sacramento City Teachers Association have reached an agreement on the district’s reopening plan and will begin in-person classes starting April 8. The agreement includes changes to the district’s initial proposed plan, such as bringing older students back earlier than previously outlined.


California’s special-needs children still seek help after year adrift
One year after schools shuttered, the fears of many parents of California’s special-needs students have been realized.  Many of those students — whose disabilities can range from autism to deafness, and most of whom have gone more than a year without in-person services such as speech therapy — appear to have regressed physically and academically.

State halves desk-spacing rule — will more schools reopen full-time?
California just made it significantly easier for K-12 schools to bring students back to campus full-time — but some of the state’s largest districts and most powerful unions are pushing back, suggesting that hundreds of thousands of students may not receive daily in-person instruction this school year. Student desks should now be kept a minimum of 3 feet apart, down from the previously recommended 6 feet, according to guidelines the California Department of Public Health released Saturday.


Judge’s Order in North County School Reopening Lawsuit Applies Statewide
A San Diego County judge’s ruling that blocked the state from enforcing pandemic-related school reopening provisions applies to all school districts in the state, a parents’ group said Friday. The Parent Association of North County San Diego won a round in court on Monday when Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland sided with the group in its lawsuit against state officials and granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of several rules the plaintiffs alleged unfairly prevented school districts from reopening for in-person learning.

UTLA Votes Overwhelmingly to Return to Classroom
United Teachers Los Angeles members have overwhelmingly approved an agreement on safe return and hybrid instruction, according to a report. The vote was 89% in favor of the return. The LAUSD Board of Education unanimously approved the agreement on March 11. The district is tentatively planning a mid-April physical return for TK-6 and an end of April/beginning of May physical return for grades 7 through 12.

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