April 10, 2020
Dear Superintendents and Charter School Leaders,

I’m writing with an update on a number of issues that have arisen since my last message.

Guidance on federal funds
The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, now allows states and school districts to devote more of their federal resources to technology infrastructure to support distance learning for students and for professional development for teachers who are teaching remotely, many for the first time. By providing a streamlined process to obtain funding flexibilities, states will be able to quickly make decisions to meet the needs of their students.

Districts should do their best to continue to spend federal dollars on the intended student populations. Upon return to normal, an additional challenge could be created in meeting federal standards if funds have been diverted to other expenditures.

The latest FAQ for chief business officials shared earlier this week includes updates to the federal grants section (updates are in green).

Updated child care guidance
This week, the California Department of Education (CDE) and state Health and Human Services Agency Department of Social Services issued new guidance on social and physical distancing and health practices for child care facilities.

CDE's Early Learning and Care Division also released guidance regarding emergency child care services for essential workers and at-risk populations. The guidance applies to state-subsidized early learning and care programs that will continue to provide services to currently enrolled families or begin to provide emergency child care for essential workers

We have updated SDCOE's Emergency Child Care Toolkit to reflect the new guidance. If your district is planning to open emergency child care, please be sure to notify SDCOE Executive Director of Early Education Lucia Garay and Senior Manager of Student Services Gabriela Delgado.

Supporting vulnerable students
At this week's Curriculum and Instruction Network meeting, resources were shared to assist districts in their work with school counselors. We know that checking in with students and their families during this time of crisis is important. Many families are experiencing difficulties, and we want to provide some resources that your counselors and social workers can use to help connect with and support your students.

Districts also collaborated and shared strategies and ideas about how to best support our most vulnerable students. Here is an article with some practical tips to connect with students who may have limited internet connectivity.

Workplace safety and cleaning guidelines
We have updated SDCOE's COVID-19 website to include:

Notification of food service or technology worker positive test
Stories are beginning to emerge about restaurant and grocery store employees testing positive for COVID-19. While we are not aware of any situations involving school food service or technology distribution workers testing positive, we want to be prepared. Should you receive notice of a positive test from a food service or technology distribution employee, please contact the Epidemiology Branch of San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency at 619-692-8499 (or 858-565-5255 evenings, weekends, or holidays) for direction.

Updated guidance on moves to by-trustee-area elections
Many districts are in the process of converting from at-large to trustee-area elections. We are recommending that public hearings on by-trustee-area boundary transitions be suspended until the order is lifted or new direction is provided. View the updated guidance.

Please know that the entire SDCOE team is here to support you in your efforts to serve children during these uncertain times. Let us know if you have additional needs.

Sincerely,
Paul

Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
phone: 858-292-3514