April 2, 2020
Dear Superintendents,

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

Grading and Graduation Guidance
Yesterday the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California State Board of Education issued guidance on graduation requirements and grading for seniors. The guidance addresses “a-g” requirements and information on grading work through distance learning and alternative grading systems, and provides admissions updates for higher education for both current seniors and juniors. View the guidance here.

The CDE also posted guidance from the University of California, the California State University, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Those documents, as well as a joint letter from the K-12 and higher education systems, are available here.

A workgroup of superintendents from local small, medium, large, and unified school districts are meeting with SDCOE to discuss what this guidance means for San Diego County school districts. We may not get to consensus, but we will devise some options that support, rather than penalize, our most vulnerable students.

As I have shared in the past, we recommend you begin to engage your board in a discussion about giving you the authority to exert maximum flexibility to respond to the emergency conditions for students, including, but not limited to, waiving instructional minutes, setting an end date for classes and grading periods, providing distance learning and credit recovery, and otherwise modifying graduation and promotional requirements. This draft resolution addresses that topic and is aligned with the parameters in the new CDE guidance.

New Guidance on Wearing Face Coverings in Public 
The California Department of Public Health released updated guidance yesterday that says using cloth face coverings in public may be beneficial in reducing asymptomatic transmission and reinforcing social distancing for Californians who must leave their homes to conduct essential activities. Additionally, as of midnight April 3, San Diego County businesses that have direct contact with the public (grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, etc.) are mandated to have employees wear cloth face covering. We are awaiting clarification from public health as to if that includes schools and will update you once we have confirmation.

We anticipate you may get questions about providing face coverings for your workforce. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that wearing a face covering will defend against contracting the virus from individuals with COVID-19 one might come in contact with who are not covering their faces. Only staying home, social distancing, and hand washing can help against transmission.

SDCOE’s Purchasing team has compiled this list of vendors from whom masks or face coverings might be available.

Meal Service Guidance
Under normal circumstances, children should accompany their parents to meal distribution sites. However, during this emergency, children who are ill, susceptible, or who have been directly exposed to people who are ill should not be brought to distribution sites.

To ensure that all children have access to meals, and to protect children, food service employees, and the community from exposure to people who are ill, districts are encouraged to develop a meal identification process that addresses the service of meals to children who are not present under these circumstances. SDCOE has created a sample plan for use by school feeding programs to address this issue.

Emergency Child Care Toolkit
The SDCOE team has created guiding documents for districts’ use in preparing to open emergency child care:
  • The Emergency Child Care Planning Tool will assist districts in exploring the various required components related to opening an emergency child care site. 
  • The Emergency Child Care Quick Guide will be used in tandem with the planning pool, as it provides additional (and easy to find) information needed for the various components.
  • The SDCOE Child Care Process Map is a visual that demonstrates SDCOE's action plan to support schools with emergency child care.

All of the documents are saved in our Emergency Child Care Toolkit, which contains additional resources.

We are offering technical assistance webinars to support you and your team with this topic. You may register for any of the three available dates:

The recorded webinar will also be made available for your reference.

We expect additional guidance on child care in the coming days, and will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Recovering Disaster-Related Expenses
School districts are eligible to recover 75% of disaster-related expenses (personal protective equipment, overtime, contracts for cleaning services, etc.) through the FEMA’s Disaster Relief grant process. Applications are due by April 17. Your CBOs have received an invitation to an April 6 webinar on the application process. If you would like to participate in the webinar as well, here is the login information.
Topic: FEMA Public Assistance Grant Process
Time: April 6, 2020 11 a.m.
Meeting ID: 104 496 940
Password: 386404

Thank you for your continued efforts to support San Diego County’s children during these uncertain times. I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning during our Zoom meeting.

Sincerely,
Paul

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