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Wednesday, March 24, 2021


OCDE announces the county’s top classified school employees for 2021
OCDE has named its top classified school employees of the year — and this year there are even more to celebrate. The California Department of Education has reorganized its categories for 2021, increasing the total number from six to nine to be more in alignment with the new Recognizing Inspiring School Employees, or RISE, awards program at the national level. Orange County’s winners were selected from a pool of 61 district-level honorees based on their work performance, leadership, commitment and involvement with their schools and communities. Without further ado, they are:

COVID-19 update: State reduces classroom spacing requirements, offers extracurricular guidance
The California Department of Public Health has updated its Youth Sports Q&A to clarify that band, drumline, choir and drama fall under the same rules for low-contact activities that are laid out in the state’s guidance for youth sports. The CDPH chart in the second link above breaks it down, but outdoor low-contact activities are permitted with face coverings and distancing in all tiers of the state’s color-coded monitoring system.


‘Days of Dialogue’ arrive for Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley high school students
The online program, which runs through Friday for HBHS and FVHS students, seeks to facilitate intimate discussions on social issues.

Tracking school reopenings in California
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, K-12 public school districts across California are slowly welcoming students back to campus. Yet this reopening effort is happening unevenly, district-by-district. This page tracks California's progress using data from state education officials.


Santa Ana Schools to Remain Closed Through June Due to Coronavirus Concerns
The Santa Ana Unified School District will not be sending students back to classrooms this year, marking a full year of online learning for one of the largest school districts in California. As Orange County’s hardest hit city by COVID-19, Santa Ana is the only city in the county not to send students back to the classroom for a portion of the 2020-21 school year.  Most OC districts have opened in what’s called a hybrid system, where students spend part of the week on campus and the other part working independently online — an idea district staff said they rejected at the Santa Ana Unified School District Board meeting Tuesday night.


LAUSD may revisit social distancing policy, instructional schedules in future
The Los Angeles Unified School District may change its policy on how spread apart students must remain in the classroom for the summer and fall — when on-campus activities are also likely to increase — Superintendent Austin Beutner said Tuesday.


Natomas Unified to expand in-person learning schedules following new guidelines
Natomas Unified will begin welcoming students back on campus five days a week, starting April 12, now that the state and Centers for Disease Control have updated their recommendation for distancing between students.


Some school districts offer reopening bonuses to teachers
Sweetwater Union High School District plans to give its teachers bonuses to get them to return to campus after more than a year of closed schools and online learning. The bonuses are contingent on the district qualifying for state reopening incentive money.


Where Our Public Records Lawsuit Against San Diego Unified Stands
In 2018, Voice of San Diego sued San Diego Unified School District for a perceived failure to comply with the California Public Records Act. The case has had many twists and turns since then, and is still moving through the courts. In some instances, the district has taken months to produce records that other large districts produced in a matter of days.


Fresno’s Central Unified schools to return middle, high schoolers to campuses in April
Middle and high school students in Fresno’s Central Unified School District can return to part-time in-person school starting next month. The board voted at Tuesday night’s regular meeting to begin sending secondary students back to campuses starting the week of April 19, which is sooner than the board had originally planned. In December, CUSD trustees voted to wait until Fresno County reaches the orange Tier 3 in the state’s color-coded “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” of coronavirus safety measures and restrictions.


What are California teachers seeing as the early grades go back to school?
Rarely has the prospect of going back to school generated so much glee in the hearts of young children. Now, as many California children in the early grades have started to venture back into the classroom after a long year of lockdowns and distance learning, teachers say they are seeing much rejoicing, as well as some anxiety, on campus.

Parent group pushes back against Bay Area district’s limited in-person plan
A tentative agreement reached Friday between West Contra Costa Unified and its employee unions to offer limited in-person instruction beginning April 19 has a local parent group fuming as other districts throughout the state begin to bring students back into classrooms.


Excited and confident. Modesto 7-12 schools to open Monday as county reaches red tier
The Modesto City Schools district has been spared having to make a decision about whether to bring students back to junior high and high school campuses based on a judge’s temporary restraining order against state public health guidance. Stanislaus County on Tuesday finally moved from the purple tier in the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system to the less restrictive red tier. That gives school districts the green light to proceed with in-person instruction of seventh- through 12th-graders divided into alternating cohorts.


New Data Highlight Disparities In Students Learning In Person
The U.S. Education Department has released the first in a series of school surveys intended to provide a national view of learning during the pandemic. It reveals that the percentage of students who are still attending school virtually may be higher than previously understood. As of January and early February of this year, 44% of elementary students and 48% of middle school students in the survey remained fully remote. And the survey found large differences by race: 69% of Asian, 58% of Black and 57% of Hispanic fourth graders were learning entirely remotely, while just 27% of White students were.


Marin public schools race to expand classroom instruction
Dozens of Marin public schools are expanding reopening plans sooner than expected, clearing a path for all schools to resume full-time, in-person instruction this spring. “It’s an invitation,” Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer, said Tuesday during a countywide schools webinar before more than 500 participants. “We’re removing the barriers and offering reassurance and support every step of the way.”

UCI Professor: It's Safe to Reopen Santa Ana Schools
As Santa Ana Unified School District board members prepare to consider a plan for reopening for in-person instruction a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced students into distance learning, a prominent UC Irvine professor of pediatrics said Monday it's safe for students to return to campuses. "Almost all of the data shows that schools can open safely if the schools follow all of the mitigation procedures," Cooper said. "This is data coming in from all over the world.”

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