By Daily Republic Staff
Travis School District trustees will take part in a special meeting Tuesday to consider requesting the county to transfer more than $4.75 million in advance payments to cover cash shortages caused by delays in receiving funds from the state.
The funds will primarily be used to cover payroll and vendors.
However, the trustees are expected to attend the meeting only by calling in, which includes a closed session prior to the public meeting during which the board could appoint a new chief business officer.
Source: Travis school trustees to meet Tuesday afternoon in special session
The United States is currently experiencing a pandemic emergency due to the threat of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). On March 13, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-26-20 ensuring State funding for Local Educational Agencies (LEA) in the event of physical closure due to the threat of COVID-19. The Executive Order requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to issue guidance on several topics, including ensuring students with disabilities (SWD) receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with their individualized education program (IEP) and meeting other procedural requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and California law.
At this time, the federal government has not waived the federal requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). To review guidance from the USDOE titled “Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak,” visit the USDOE website at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf. The CDE and the California State Board of Education (SBE) are working with the United States Department of Education (USDOE) to determine what flexibilities or waivers may be issued in light of the extraordinary circumstances. Until and unless USDOE ultimately provides flexibilities under federal law, LEAs should do their best in adhering to IDEA requirements, including federally mandated timelines, to the maximum extent possible. LEAs are encouraged to consider ways to use distance technology to meet these obligations. However, the CDE acknowledges the complex, unprecedented challenges LEAs are experiencing from the threat of COVID-19. As such, the CDE is committed to a reasonable approach to compliance monitoring that accounts for the exceptional circumstances facing the state.
Source: Special Education Guidance for COVID-19 – Health Services & School Nursing (CA Dept of Education)
By Thomas Gase
There is a popular spiritual saying that goes, “Remember, the teacher is always silent during the test.” It seems as if the Benicia and Vallejo school districts didn’t get that message.
Although the world is facing a test of high proportions with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, local educators have made more noise than an elephant in a library this week. Since the announcement last Friday that schools would be closed until at least mid-April, educators have rallied to create ways for distance learning with online classes, activities and instructions.
Instead of hearing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” kids have instead been turning up Google Classroom, a free web service, developed by Google for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way. Other programs being used include YouTube, Clever and Zoom.
Source: Despite COVID-19 crisis, Solano County teachers rally to continue lessons online – Times-Herald
By Joel Rosenbaum
One young Vacaville boy is using his time during the ongoing school closure to continue his work supporting local charities.
Cody Bassey, a 9-year-old third-grade student at ACE Charter School, is taking his love of LEGO and raising money for Pink Heals Solano by building mini LEGO figures of real people.
Pink Heals Solano is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and supportes men, women, and children suffering from cancer by visiting cancer patients around the county on a pink fire engine dubbed, “Christine.” Cody has been part of the crew, usually when there is a child who is battling the disease.
Source: Coronavirus: Vacaville boy builds LEGO figures to raise money for charity – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
The Board of Directors at Elite Public Schools has approved keeping the school closed until April 13, two weeks past the original March 30 closure date.
The extended closure mean students will return after spring break, according to a press release. School officials say the date is tentative based on whether county, state or federal agencies provide updated guidance or directives, in which case the board will adjust the closure date accordingly.
Students will be able to continue their academic program and connect with teachers through distance learning and video conferencing.
Source: Elite Public Schools extends closures due to virus-containment protocols
By Debra Dingman
At a special Dixon Unified School District Meeting held this past Friday via live Facebook, Superintendent of Schools Brian Dolan and School Board Representatives extended school closures through April 17 and discussed several issues including graduation expectations for this year’s high school seniors.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a news conference that due to the Corona Virus efforts, he did not expect California schools to open up next week or even in a few weeks.
Source: Dixon Schools Stay Closed Through April 17 | Dixon, CA Patch
By Kimberly K. Fu
Sparkling jewelry, potted plants in cute containers, wood-backed string art and more are just some of the cool and eclectic finds at “This and That,” a pop-up store at McBride Senior Center in Vacaville.
Even cooler are the folks behind the store — Solano County Office of Education Adult Program staff and students.
The program is all about teaching special education students skills that will help them in life outside of school.
As part of their micro-enterprise projects, the students craft items in class to sell in the shop, advised Clarissa Tuttle, SCOE program administrator for Special Education.
Source: Vacaville shop a business lesson for students – The Reporter
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The Fairfield-Suisun Visual Arts Association hosted its fourth annual art show open to area high schoolers.
Among the exhibitors was Katherine Gerhardt, a senior at Rodriguez High School.
She earned a Juror’s Choice Award for acrylic painting, “Cry Me a River,” which was inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art.
Gerhardt painted the 40-foot-by-60-foot work in her bedroom.
Source: High school artists win honors for ceramics, painting, more
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education’s (CDE) “CA Meals for Kids” mobile app has been updated to help students and families find meals during COVID-19-related emergency school closures.
“Food insecurity is a daily struggle for some of our students and their families and that struggle is even more difficult and complicated during the current COVID-19 emergency we’re all facing,” said Thurmond. “I’d like to thank the Nutrition Services Division, the Technology Services Division, and all CDE staff who worked on updating the app—and the hard-working school nutrition staff around the state who have heroically continued working, and who are continuing to serve our students during this unprecedented emergency situation.”
Source: CA Meals for Kids App Update – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Bills Hicks
“Out of crisis always comes opportunity,” Fairfield-Suisun School District Superintendent Kris Corey said Thursday during the scheduled meeting of district’s Board of Trustees, which included Trustees John Silva and Joan Gaut, as well as board president Judi Honeychurch checking in via phone to aid in the practice of social distancing.
Corey’s comments came in an effort to find as many silver linings as possible during a school closure period where district schools will remain closed during the Covid-19 outbreak through April 17, with students slated to return to campuses April 20.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school officials look for silver lining during virus outbreak
By Richard Bammer
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as many other state and U.S. school districts are doing, Fairfield-Suisun Unified is pitching in, too, scrambling to feed students after state-mandated school closures.
In a press release issued Thursday, district leaders announced they have begun to serve breakfast and lunches to children ranging in age from newborns to 18 at seven school sites: Cleo Gordon Elementary, Fairfield High, Fairview Elementary, Grange Middle, Suisun Elementary, Crystal Middle School, and David A. Weir Preparatory Academy.
Source: Coronavirus: FSUSD pitches in with free meals for children amid latest pandemic – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
As the global coronavirus outbreak has forced schools to close, many teachers have had to adapt to virtual learning. Peggy Harte, a science teacher at Gretchen Higgins Elementary School in Dixon, wanted to make sure students were continuing to learn important science lessons while also getting outside.
Harte set up a lab through the platform iNaturalist to enable students to document the various plant and animal species they find.
“So much of the research shows that just physically being outside helps people’s stress levels, helps people’s emotional needs as well just being in an outdoor space,” she said. “With all the stress that these little kids are under, I thought it was just a simple way for students to go outside, engage in some science and be able to feel like they’re contributing while still being in their own backyard.”
Source: Dixon science teacher offers virtual lessons as classrooms are closed – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Vacaville Unified School District’s superintendent announced Wednesday that schools would remain closed through April 17 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Classes are tentatively scheduled to resume April 20.
In a letter to families, VUSD Superintendent Dr. Jane Shamieh wrote the decision was inspired by a Tuesday press conference by Gov. Gavin Newsom where he remarked “I don’t think the schools are going to open again” through at least the fall.
Source: Coronavirus: VUSD extends school closures through April 17 – The Reporter
By Linda Jacobson
Monitoring how long students are logged in, asking them to answer a daily question or having them participate in an online discussion thread are among the common ways to take attendance in an online class.
But now with most students across the U.S. unexpectedly transitioning to virtual learning due to the spread of COVID-19, determining how many are maintaining a school routine will be among the many challenges for state and district leaders.
“For schools across the country that already had students learning in a blended environment, this transition — it’s not easy, but they are more prepared,” says Bruce Friend, chief operating officer of the Aurora Institute, formerly the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
Source: Present and accounted for? Closures create attendance challenges | Education Dive
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond today hosted a webinar for district, school and county office education leaders to walk through new state guidance documents released last night, covering the areas of distance learning, special education, meals/nutrition services, and child care support. The document issued by Governor Newsom yesterday was created under the March 13 Executive Order N-26-20 to address many of the immediate concerns that teachers, administrators, and parents are facing in the wake of COVID-19-related school closures.
“We are currently experiencing very difficult times, unchartered territory, experiences that we’ve never seen before. In spite of that fact, Californians are resilient and I want to acknowledge the resilience of our students, our teachers, our staff, our administrators, and the parents of our students,” said Thurmond during his opening remarks.
Source: SSPI Thurmond Hosts COVID-19 Webinar – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Thomas Gase
There was no hoarding or long lines. And no, there wasn’t any toilet paper, sanitary supplies or soap.
However, there was a ton of food and it was free thanks to the Vallejo City Unified School District, which, along with shelf stable provisions donated by the Food Bank, is providing for families in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meals and provisions will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis for breakfast and lunch in a “grab-and-go” routine from 8 to 9 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m. to noon for lunch.
Source: In a crisis, Vallejo schools providing free meals – Times-Herald
The Solano County Office of Education issued a statement Wednesday saying it is too early to determine when schools might reopen.
The statement was a response to an opinion suggested Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, positing that schools statewide might not reopen for the remainder of the school year.
Officials with the Solano County Office of Education acknowledged the rapidly changing and critical circumstances that prompted Newsom to make the suggestion, but affirmed the decision of opening and closing schools remains the responsibility of local districts and administrators.
Source: ‘Too early’ to decide if schools will open again or not, SCOE says
By Matt Sieger
They used words and phrases like “unknowns,” “fluid and scary,” “unforeseeable challenges,” “unchartered territory” and “limbo.”
Sometimes the athletic directors of the local high schools are at a loss for words to describe their reaction and feelings to the suspension of spring sports due to the threat of the coronavirus.
Will C. Wood Athletic Director Andrea Daniels noted, “It’s just the timing. It’s right when we are starting, so you’re in the flow, you’ve had your preseason and a lot of your practice sessions. But they (the student-athletes) all have a good attitude. It is what it is. We have to do what we have to do.”
Source: What are local high schools doing without spring sports? – The Reporter
BY Todd R. Hansen
Solano Community College board members are scheduled Wednesday to declare a local emergency exists due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The resolution would give Superintendent-President Celia Esposito-Noy a number of unilateral powers “to ensure the continuation of public education through remote operations or other methods as appropriate, and preserve the health and safety of the district’s students and staff,” the document to the board states.
Source: Solano College set to declare Covid-19 emergency; Cal Maritime adjusts
By Nick Sestanovich
School in Vacaville may be out through at least March 27 due to the coronavirus, but the Vacaville Unified School District is continuing to ensure its students are not only well-fed but also well-equipped to continue learning.
Beginning Monday, VUSD has been dishing out free breakfasts and lunches at four of its sites to all its students. They also provided free school supplies and classwork.
For breakfast, students got to come with a variety of healthy options, including cereal, granola, yogurt parfait, a muffin or a bagel with cream cheese. For lunch, options included pizza, cheeseburgers, deli sandwiches with turkey and cheese, bean burritos and Caesar salad. All meals also came with fruit, vegetable and milk and were provided by each school’s food services staff.
Source: Coronavirus: Vacaville schools hand out free meals, supplies during closures – The Reporter