August 20th
Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

Everyone is eager to get our children back into the classroom where we know they learn best. To do so requires the entire community coming together to protect and support our students and families.

I was privileged to join with County Public Health Director Dr. Ferrer and Mental Health Director Dr. Sherin to share our thoughts on the actions that each of us can take — not only to prevent the spread of COVID but also to promote well-being and resilience.

A link to our video is provided below.
LA County leaders offer advice on how to help students and staff get back to school safely
Everyone has a role to play in helping LA County students and staff get back to school safely.

In this video, Supt. Debra Duardo is joined by LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer and LA County Mental Health Director Dr. Jonathan Sherin to discuss the steps we all can take to protect health and safety while encouraging and supporting students and families during a time of distance learning.

Public Health Update
  • To report a public health violation, contact the Customer Call Center at (888) 700-9995 (M-F, 8 am to 5 pm) or file an online complaint


Accountability, Support & Monitoring
SB 98 weekly student engagement record: 

SB 98 43504 (e) states: Each local educational agency shall ensure that a weekly engagement record is completed for each pupil documenting synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning, verifying daily participation, and tracking assignments.
 
At this time, CDE and state auditors have not provided explicit guidance regarding what attendance, participation and engagement documentation should look like. However, CDE communicated that additional clarity around this topic is needed. We anticipate additional guidance through legislation and/or upcoming audit guides.
 
In the meantime, CDE confirmed that the Student Information System and teacher grade book are acceptable places to track participation, engagement and attendance for accountability and compulsory education purposes. CDE has recently posted additional information on the topic of student attendance and participation: CDE Distance Learning FAQ

While the Learning Continuity Plan does not have a specific weekly engagement record requirement, it does require LEAs to describe how student participation will be measured and how work products will be assessed. In addition, the plan requires the LEA to describe the process by which they will reach out and support students who do not regularly engage in instruction.

Initial ELPAC testing:

The state recognizes the 30-day window for Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California testing is challenging for LEAs due to physical distancing requirements and has applied for a 45-day extension for administering the Initial ELPAC. This extension would push the testing timeline out to a total of 75 days. A decision on the extension request is expected by the end of August. 

Currently, if a newly enrolled prospective English Learner is administered the Initial ELPAC and found to be an EL, that student will be included in 2020-21 EL counts as long as the student was enrolled on or before Census Day (10/7/20), and the Initial ELPAC is administered (and scored) by Nov. 13, 2020.
Budget & Finance
On Aug. 20, the California Department of Finance reported in its Finance Bulletin that Preliminary General Fund agency cash receipts for July, the first month of the fiscal year, was $2.58 billion above the 2020-21 Budget Act forecast of $27.792 billion, largely due to unexpected strength in the 2019 tax year.
 
Preliminary General Fund agency cash receipts for the entire 2019-20 fiscal year were $1.135 billion above the 2020-21 Budget Act forecast of $123.395 billion, or 0.9 percentage point above the forecast. Total collections for March-July 2020 are actually down by 6 percent from the same period in 2019.

Child Care
  • The LA County Early Childhood Education COVID-19 Response Team will hold its next community call on Friday, Aug. 21, from 9-10 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. Get more details
  • Register on GoToWebinar (recommended), or 
  • Call 1-877-309-2071, with passcode 925-152-535

  • On Monday, Aug. 24, from 1-2:30 pm, California Community Care Licensing and the LA County Dept. of Public Health will jointly hold a local licensing call for child care providers on COVID-19. 
  • Join on Webex, or 
  • Call 1-415-655-0002, with ID 1464608927 & password 38647627


  • Referrals to child care can also be accessed at lacoe.edu/childcare or by calling toll-free (888) 92-CHILD [1-888-922-4453].
Curriculum & Instruction
2020-21 Mathematics Instruction Guidance  
Aug. 24, 2020 | 2-3 pm | Free | Zoom  
 
LACOE in collaboration with the Santa Clara County Office of Education is offering a free presentation on how to leverage the TRU Mathematics Framework in examining mathematically powerful classrooms during distance learning. Through the lenses of three guidance documents published by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Supervisor of Mathematics, Council for Greater City Schools and Knowledgehook/Jo Boaler, the session will explore ways to support high-quality math instruction moving forward. 
 
Federal Action on School Funding & Liability
Congressional Senate Republicans have drafted and are circulating a slimmed-down version of the HEALS Act to pass a COVID-19 relief measure. The Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act includes language on liability protections, extending the Paycheck Protection Program with additional funding and establishing a $105 billion education stabilization fund. 

The bill also would provide new money for COVID-19 testing, tracing, vaccine and treatment; extend the pandemic unemployment insurance program at an extra $300 per week; and provide grant funding for the US Postal Service if its cash-on-hand balance dips below $8 billion. 

Additional details on the legislation include:

  • Education: The bill includes the HEALS Act provision that establishes a $105 billion Education Stabilization Fund aimed at supporting reopening efforts for elementary, secondary and higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes:   
  • $70 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund  
  • $29 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
  • $5 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund
  • $1 billion for the Bureau of Indian Education and outlying areas 
  
  • Liability: Like the HEALS Act, the legislation includes the text of the Senate GOP’s SAFE TO WORK Act addressing pandemic-related liability concerns. It would create an exclusive federal cause of action for COVID-19 exposure lawsuits that runs retroactively from Dec. 1, 2019 until Oct. 1, 2024, establishing a safe harbor for businesses that undertake reasonable efforts to comply with public health and safety guidelines. In cases where defendants do not take such efforts, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the defendant's gross negligence or willful misconduct caused the plaintiff's infection. Additionally, the bill contains a provision that would preempt state laws that impose broader liability for COVID-19 exposure, while also allowing states to further limit liability. Also, it would limit liability for certain products, such as PPE and hand sanitizer, if they meet existing Food and Drug Administration requirements.

The measure has yet to be formally introduced by Senate leadership and could be subject to further changes prior to the official rollout.
Foster Youth
LACOE’s Foster Youth Services Program welcomes everyone back for the 2020-21 school year. With distance learning still in place, the team’s four senior program specialists have not skipped a beat when it comes to holding their Regional Learning Network meetings. For more information on registering for one of the informational RLNs, view the FYSP event calendar.

LACOE FYSP will also hold a webinar for Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program and Group Home staff as well as Foster Family Agency resource parents on Supporting Foster Youth During Distance Learning. Register for the webinar.

Be sure to register and share information about the upcoming four-part webinar series on Trauma- and Resiliency-Informed Support for Educators and Caregivers of students in foster care. There is no fee for these events, but pre-registration is required:




  • Last in the series is a session focused on self-care for educators during the pandemic. This workshop is designed to provide educators with strategies and tools to address compassion fatigue and symptoms of burnout complete with activities and an action plan to alleviate stress and create a manageable balance.
Resources for Districts & Schools
Let's Go to College California (SoCal College Access Network) click here

A Planning Framework for the 2020-21 School Year - 2nd Edition (LACOE) click here

Strategic Communications Templates for the 2020-21 School Year (LACOE) click here

Child Protection Hotline Digital Toolkit (DCFS) click here