July 30th
Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

Our students have the greatest stake in the quality of public education, yet don't often have a voice in how it is designed and delivered. If we are really serious about fixing inequities, then we must bring to the table the first-hand experiences and views of youth who have been persistently left behind.

To effectively advocate for students means that I need to hear from them. That is why I am excited to announce the launch of my new Superintendent's Student Advisory Council. The group of 25 high schoolers will inform and advise on the issues that matter most to them.

We are currently recruiting students to serve on the council, and I hope you will help spread the word. More information and a link to communications tools for outreach are provided below.
Public Health Update
Waivers:  

  • The waiver to open schools is only available for grades TK/K-6. 

Immunizations:

  • The California Department of Public Health continues to monitor immunization rates during the pandemic. Immunization requirements for school are still in place and there are no grace periods.
 
  • For continuing students: follow up on students who need subsequent immunizations and 7th grade immunization requirements.

  • For new enrolling students: immunizations need to be up to date as part of the enrollment process before students can begin school. Immunization reports will continue to be due November 1 for K and 7th grades. 

Athletics:  

  • While schools remain closed to in-person instruction, they may not be used for athletic programming at this time. Athletes can do conditioning and skill-building activities only on an individual basis or with members of their immediate household, not with cohorts of students from different households (no small groups of students, even if outdoors at school). 

COVID-related health information:  

Census 2020
The Census team at LACOE has been supporting districts with outreach primarily to hard-to-count communities. School staff and teachers are trusted messengers, and the 2020 Census message must continue to be included in communication with families.
 
As of July 28, 41% of households have yet to respond to the Census . That could mean a 41% budget cut to LA County for the next 10 years . LACOE recommends three ways to participate in Census outreach:

  • Phone-banking: Add a question about the 2020 Census to existing phone calls between staff and families. Resources to help with messaging can be found on LACOE’s Census Digital Toolkit.
 
  • LA County Census Chalkathon - Aug. 17 to Sept. 7: A three-week event for students and families to chalk at home for the Census. There will be online giveaways, teaching videos and a professional artist creating art in public spaces in the county. Look for more details in the coming week.

  • Request Presentation: The LACOE Census team is available to speak at parent town halls and meetings. Tools for districts are available on the LACOE Census Google Drive, including ready-made fliers, slides and images.

Households have until October 31 to complete the Census. For more information and support, contact Esmeralda X Flores, Census Program Specialist, at flores_esmeralda@lacoe.edu or by phone at (562) 774-6991.
Child Care
  • Districts have inquired whether a school district can use an off-campus facility, such as a church or donated building annex, to offer child care for distance learning on days when a hybrid model is being used on campus. If programs seek space off-campus, the district will be required to obtain a license from the California Dept. of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division.

  • Districts have inquired whether school facilities can be opened to child care run by the city. If the site is already licensed for preschool children, the site can be opened.

  • As schools return with 100% distance learning, many families and school employees require child care services. Districts have inquired if it is anticipated that child care centers, such as those run by the City of LA Parks and Recreation, will be closed. Child care is considered an essential service, and preschools and early childhood education centers are encouraged to be open. LACOE does not expect that sites will close unless there is an outbreak at the site. LACOE is working on obtaining further guidance on whether child care can be provided for older children on district sites during campus closures. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer is also seeking guidance on this issue.

  • Districts have inquired about expectations for K-12 schools to provide child care services while under distance learning mandates and whether funding will be impacted if child care services are or are not provided. CDE will be issuing guidance to California State Preschool and similar programs. This guidance will address distance learning, enrollment and daily attendance. Because school districts are mandated to be closed at this time, LACOE’s understanding is that LEAs will be held harmless if they provide distance learning services to California State Preschool children.

  • The LA County Early Childhood Education COVID-19 Response Team will hold its next community call on Friday, July 31, from 9 to 10 am. Early care and education providers and community members are invited to learn about the latest guidance for child care environments, updates to early care and education policies, the availability of supplies to operate safely and how to access additional resources. More details here and at lacoe.edu/childcare.
  • Register on GoToWebinar (recommended), or 
  • Dial Phone Number: 1-866-952-8437 
  • Participant Passcode: 725-971-441

  • Child care referrals and resources for parents and providers can be found at lacoe.edu/childcare or by calling toll-free (888) 92-CHILD [1-888-922-4453]
Facilities & Construction
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers  designed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value in 1987 as a measurement scale to report the effectiveness of air filters. ASHRAE recommends MERV 13 or higher to catch viruses if air conditioning systems can handle it without affecting the system’s design and efficiency. Learn more here .

High Efficiency Particulate Air filters are super-efficient and range from 17 to 20 MERV. HEPA filters meet standards that remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles down to the size of 0.3 microns. Verify with the maintenance team and/or with an engineer that the air conditioning system in the building can handle HEPA filters with no negative impact to equipment efficiency. Consider using portable HEPA fan/filtration systems to help enhance air cleaning especially in higher risk areas.
Human Resources
As districts proceed with collective bargaining agreements and COVID-19-related Memorandums of Understanding, they may contact LACOE Labor Relations to discuss their circumstances. Communications may be sent by email to: HRSLABORRELATIONSSTAFF@lacoe.edu .
Liability
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) has introduced Senate Bill 4317, the SAFE TO WORK Act.” The bill would establish temporary rules for specific types of coronavirus-related claims designed to facilitate and foster a prudent reopening of businesses, schools, colleges and universities, local government agencies and religious, philanthropic and other nonprofit institutions. It would ensure that those who contract coronavirus because of the gross negligence of others can recover for their injuries. It also would protect health care providers from coronavirus-based claims, grant temporary labor and employment law protections and clarify existing product-liability protections.

Congress is in negotiations regarding the next round of COVID-19 relief bills known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act.
State Revenue Update
The Department of Finance reported on July 20 that Preliminary General Fund agency cash receipts for the entire 2019-20 fiscal year are $1.084 billion above the 2020-21 Budget Act forecast of $123.395 billion, or .9 percentage points above forecast. Cash receipts for June were $1.054 billion above the month’s forecast of -$94 million, which includes $9.5 billion of federal CARES Act funds that had been transferred to the state General Fund in April. In addition, much of the tax payments that are typically made in April and June were deferred to July due to the extension of payment deadlines.
 
On July 24, the Legislative Analyst's Office reported that California's income tax withholding since the pandemic started in March 2020 is only 1.6% below the comparable period in 2019. This report comes after the LAO previously released data showing the state received 20% more in revenue than anticipated since April.
Student Support Services
Summer Checklist for Graduating Seniors and College Access for All Hotline:

The College Advising Hotline is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, at (323) 870-8600. Parents and students can speak directly to a college advisor and ask questions about the college process, including financial aid. Advisors are available in multiple languages and can assist students who have yet to make college plans for the fall.

See the flyer for more information here .
Superintendent's Student Advisory Council
LACOE Superintendent Debra Duardo has launched an advisory council to bring the views of students into conversations and decision-making about public education.  
 
The new LA County Superintendent of Schools Student Advisory Council will involve 25 diverse high school students from districts countywide. They will engage in dialogue with Superintendent Duardo on educational equity, the quality of public education, student well-being and other topics of concern, advising her on key issues facing youth.  
 
Students are currently being recruited to apply to serve on the advisory council. The group will meet virtually on a quarterly basis beginning in Fall 2020.

Help spread the word to reach as many interested students as possible. A communications toolkit has been developed with graphics, e-blasts and social media posts to share information with students, staff and families. View the toolkit here .  
 
Interested students will need to complete an application and have a teacher, administrator or certificated school staff member submit a recommendation. They will also need to show they have the permission of their parent/guardian to participate.  
 
Applications and forms are due no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Please email any questions to communications@lacoe.edu .  
 
Resources for Districts & Schools
Summer of Success — Resources for Graduating Seniors (LA Compact) click here

Child Protection Hotline Digital Toolkit (DCFS) click here

Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Social Justice (The Urban Review) click here

Reunite, Renew & Thrive: SEL Roadmap for Reopening School (CASEL) click here