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Thursday, April 8, 2021


COVID-19 update: Vaccine eligibility expands next week, but vaccinations are not mandatory
The state of California plans to open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older on April 15. The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only immunization that is authorized for teens ages 16 and 17. But COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandated for any resident — including students — in the state of California or anywhere else in the U.S. Moreover, the state and local school districts are not mandating that students or staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of reopening school campuses.


Meet Orange County’s 2021 Poetry Out Loud champion
Elora Sparnicht, an Orange County School of Arts sophomore, won the Orange County Poetry Out Loud Champion title for 2021. Sparnicht said she likes to do it all when it comes to creative writing. This year she performed poetry to camera and won the O.C. Poetry Out Loud champion title from the confines of her bedroom.


‘It’s Time to Pass the Torch,’ Says Founder of O.C.’s Premier Arts School
Through a combination of happy accidents, dogged perseverance and an uncanny talent for inspiring people, Ralph Opacic became a leader in the field of arts education, founding and running one of the most successful arts schools in the country for grades 7-12. Opacic recently announced he’ll be leaving his position as president and executive director of the Orange County School of the Arts at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, capping a nearly four-decade career spent mostly with the institution he founded.


Judge certifies class-action lawsuit challenging CA school funding
A lawsuit by three San Diego County charter school networks that said they were wrongfully denied state funding now represents all 308 of California’s charter schools that provide online, home school and other nontraditional learning.


Ruling in Charter Fraud Case Has Major Implications for Small School District Budgets
A little-known Education Code provision has allowed some small school districts to collect millions of dollars in fees from online charter schools. But a new ruling in the A3 charter school case could strictly limit how much districts can charge in fees.


Suspensions, handcuffs, jail — middle school discipline falls heavily on vulnerable kids
Pep rallies are supposed to be joyful, loud and unabashed. Having just turned 12 in the fall of 2017, Alan bubbled over with excitement ahead of his first rally at Deming Intermediate School in Deming, New Mexico, a small city near the Mexican border. Alan is a soulful boy going through life with a collection of medical conditions including Tourette syndrome. His tics and shouts, all beyond his control, make him an easy target for bullies and, to some school staff, a problem student to be corrected.


LAUSD opens first of 25 school-based vaccination sites
In an effort to get people vaccinated against the coronavirus so families will feel more comfortable sending their children back to school, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner and community leaders gathered on Wednesday, April 7, at one of the first LAUSD schools to open this week as a vaccination center to promote the initiative. They spoke of the need to provide vaccination opportunities in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the pandemic — mainly low-income Black and Hispanic communities with higher infection rates whose residents have struggled more to gain access to the vaccines.


California moving to pioneer free meals for all students
As students gradually return to classrooms, advocates and lawmakers say it’s more important than ever to provide free meals in schools without burdensome eligibility requirements, just as California has done during the pandemic. The “Free School Meals For All” bill, SB 364, introduced last month by East Bay Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would establish a statewide Universal Meal Plan starting in the 2022-2023 school year.

Parent group sues Los Angeles Unified asking for full reopening of schools
A Los Angeles parent group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Los Angeles Unified School District and district Superintendent Austin Beutner, calling for a return to full-time, in-person instruction to the extent possible. The group, California Students United, wants the school district to eliminate requirements that students stay 6 feet apart and that they be tested for Covid-19.

Vaccines on tap for California’s children, but what do parents say?
Californians as young as 16 are next in line for the Covid-19 vaccine, potentially moving the state another step closer to reopening all schools for full-time in-person instruction. But whether vaccines help to reopen schools depends on whether parents are willing to get their children vaccinated.


Kern County's two largest school districts will begin to reopen this month
On Thursday, Bakersfield City School District begins the process of opening its campuses to general education students for the first time since campuses closed in March last year. And on Monday, the Kern High School District plans to begin opening up its campuses.

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