In less than two weeks, nearly all school districts and schools in California have closed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These closures impact six million students and their families, plus hundreds of thousands of educators, school and district staff, and leaders. Moreover, school closures deeply affect our local communities. 

We're interrupting our planned schedule of ed funding topics to provide this special update. Join guests Sara Bachez and Elizabeth Esquivel from CASBO’s Governmental Relations team as they share important information about the school closures. They highlight actions that state leaders have taken to minimize spread of the virus. On March 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order, which ensured that schools continue to receive funding and outlined key efforts that schools should pursue. This past weekend the state legislature acted swiftly to approve a number of bills to support the effort. Also this week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, and the Departments of Education and Health briefed thousands of educators to help carry out the Governor’s executive order. The CDE is providing the latest, updated guidance on its website. 

Sara and Elizabeth also provide a quick recap about:

  • Who makes the decisions to close schools? What services and instruction (such as distance learning) are school districts working hard to provide during this most challenging time?
  • What is the vital role schools play in ensuring that students have access to meals, even when schools are closed.
  • What else do schools need to remain stable and be able to support students and their communities right now?

We also share news that the Governor has issued another executive order, pending federal approval, to suspend statewide standardized testing for this year. Update: President Trump announced Friday that the federal government would suspend national testing requirements this year.

For certain, responding to a pandemic that has closed down schools and forced millions to shelter in place is largely unchartered territory for Californians. As we press forward in the days and weeks ahead, more information and guidance will be coming from the state and local leaders. CASBO will help share this information. If you have questions, email Sara or Elizabeth at sbachez@casbo.org or Eesquivel@casbo.org.

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