The students in Fairfield-Suisun are approaching their third month in distance learning, but that has not prevented the students and staff from coordinating fun activities to keep the students engaged in learning.
During the week of September 28th, students and staff from Dover, Tolenas, Sheldon, Anna Kyle and David Weir competed against each other in a highly engaging spirit week.
David Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy and Dover Academy for International Studies had the highest percentage of students dressing up each day. As a result, their principals got to “pie” the principals at Tolenas, Sheldon and Anna Kyle.
Source: GOOD NEWS: FSUSD Students Compete in Spirit Week Competition Between Schools
By Todd R. Hansen
About 60 students graduate from the Solano Community College Biotechnology program each year.
One course of study added this semester is the Cell and Gene Therapy certificate program – the first of its kind in the country for a community college.
Vacaville and the college took a step Thursday by signing an agreement that officials hope will result in a rapid growth in the college’s programs and provide thousands of job opportunities in the coming decades.
Source: Vacaville, Solano College at center of new biomanufacturing hub
By Anya Kamenetz
Despite widespread concerns, two new international studies show no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus. And a third study from the United States shows no elevated risk to childcare workers who stayed on the job.
Combined with anecdotal reports from a number of U.S. states where schools are open, as well as a crowdsourced dashboard of around 2,000 U.S. schools, some medical experts are saying it’s time to shift the discussion from the risks of opening K-12 schools to the risks of keeping them closed.
“As a pediatrician, I am really seeing the negative impacts of these school closures on children,” Dr. Danielle Dooley, a medical director at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told NPR. She ticked off mental health problems, hunger, obesity due to inactivity, missing routine medical care and the risk of child abuse — on top of the loss of education. “Going to school is really vital for children. They get their meals in school, their physical activity, their health care, their education, of course.”
Source: What the Research Says About School Reopening and COVID-19 Transmission – MindShift
By Carolyn Jones, EdSource
California’s escalating cost of living has led to a 48% surge in the state’s homeless student population over the past decade, according to new research released today by researchers at UCLA.
Almost 270,000 students in K-12 schools lacked stable housing in 2018-19, numbers that almost certainly have grown since the pandemic and economic downturn began last spring, researchers said.
“We knew the numbers would be up, but we were surprised at the scope and severity of the crisis,” said Joseph Bishop, director of UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools, which compiled the report. “Looking at these numbers was really a ‘wow’ moment.”
Source: California schools see big jump in number of homeless students – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
The past seven months have not been easy for Foxboro Elementary School students. Like all pupils in the era of COVID-19, they have spent nearly all of their time at home with some only visiting campus to pick up lunches.
But those who do pick up lunches get very spirited greetings from the school’s classified employees. One employee has even taken it upon herself to write letters to every single Foxboro student.
“The kids miss being at school, (and) we miss them,” Trisha Carr, the school’s library media technician, said.
Source: Coronavirus: Classified Foxboro employees cheer on students – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Thursday that the California Department of Education (CDE) has launched a statewide fundraising effort to bolster aid for schools in regions ravaged by wildfires and other disasters.
Thousands of students, families, and educators across California have endured weeks of back-to-back challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, power outages, and poor air quality. The new CDE Emergency Response Fund, launched Thursday in partnership with the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (CDEF), will support the rapid generation of resources to schools facing unprecedented loss and uncertainty.
“Too many of our school communities are hurting and have endured more challenges than many of us will experience in a lifetime,” Thurmond said. “Californians are resilient, generous, and always have each other’s backs in times of crisis. Let’s continue to come together for our communities in need so they can get back on their feet.”
Source: CDE Emergency Response Fund – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
The Travis School District will continue distance learning for the remainder of the current semester.
The decision was made during Tuesday’s regular board meeting.
It was based on various data points including current virus activity and the result of a recent survey conducted of families, students, and staff, according to a Travis School District press release.
The survey had a participation rate of 66% for students, 88% for families, 91% of teachers and 67% for other staff.
Source: Travis schools to continue distance learning; board will revisit topic in December
By Nick Sestanovich
After seven whole months of students learning from home, the Kairos Public Schools Vacaville Academy was once again bustling with students, albeit with social distancing protocols in place.
Kairos resumed in-person classes Tuesday for students who wished to return, which amounted to about 78 percent of them. Despite the fact that it was 10 weeks into the school year on a brisk October morning, there was definitely the feeling of a back-to-school day, complete with Kairos’ middle school ambassadors welcoming back the younger students with signs.
There were also indicators that this year on campus would begin differently than previous years, such as barriers at the desks, shorter recesses and a socially distanced physical education class where students did their stretches while spaced 6 feet apart.
Source: Coronavirus: Kairos returns for in-person learning – The Reporter
By Diana Lambert and Betty Márquez Rosales, EdSource
Many California school districts offered a wide variety of training over the summer to prepare teachers for distance learning in the fall, but some struggled to offer enough to meet the needs of all teachers, leaving many to find training on their own.
Many districts offered in-house trainers or hired teaching consultants. But in many places, training focused only on teleconferencing tools like Zoom and educational platforms like Google Classroom. In other districts teachers were largely on their own to convert lessons from in-person to virtual, according to a recent EdSource survey.
Source: California school districts struggled to prepare teachers for distance learning this fall – The Reporter
Members of the Travis School District governing board will consider how to reopen schools to in-class instruction now that all schools in the county have the green light to do so with proper safety protocols in place.
Trustees are scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
One of the issues on the agenda is a discussion on increasing the board members’ meeting stipend from $240. However, a staff report to the board states that is not legally possible.
Source: School reopening discussion, trustee stipend increase on Travis school board agenda
By Richard Bammer
The Fairfield-Suisun Unified governing board on Thursday voted to continue distance learning until the end of the 2020 calendar year and will revisit the matter in mid-January.
In a Friday press release, Angie Avlonitis, director of student services for the district, the county’s largest with 22,000 students, noted that Solano County has sustained 14 consecutive days in the red tier on California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Being in the red tier allows school districts the choice to open schools for in-person instruction.
Still, on Thursday trustees decided to remain in the distance-learning mode until year’s end and take up the matter again at the Jan. 14 governing board meeting.
Source: FSUSD trustees vote to continue distance learning until year’s end – The Reporter
By Shawna De La Rosa
Communication should only be carried out on platforms with strict privacy rules, with only general information shared on social media. Educators must remember that social media use could result in Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) violations, as well as attract harassment from online trolls.
Cybersecurity concerns existed long before school closures, but the uptick in ed tech use during the pandemic has made the situation more precarious. The rapid shift to online learning has opened doors for cyber-criminals, which The Consortium of School Networking cited as a top concern during the era of school closures. Cyberattackers tend to target schools because they are a rich source of personal data, but often lack the funds for strong security systems.
Source: Social media use in distance learning raises privacy concerns | Education Dive
The night before the first day of in-person instruction for elementary students in San Diego County’s Poway Unified School District, principals sent families detailed instructions on how to drop off their children.
The following Thursday morning, “welcome back” balloons adorned campuses’ front gates and school employees took students’ temperatures as they waited inside their parents’ cars. Principals from other schools in the district watched the process unfold, looking for processes they could implement at their own soon-to-reopen schools.
So began for Poway the hybrid learning experiment playing out across the country.
Source: School reopenings, hybrid learning look different across California – Times-Herald
By Naaz Modan
The skip-year growth approach, Domaleski said, is “a promising model” being explored in a number of states. (Domaleski and other panelists didn’t discuss other models during the webinar.) However, even with new models, states need time to research and evaluate data collected in 2020-21 before the information is used for high-stakes purposes.
In the near term, states can collect and evaluate legacy and new data to understand the pandemic’s impact and identify areas where states and districts can partner to address challenges.
Source: States ed chiefs rethinking accountability during COVID-19 | Education Dive
Three teachers at Solano County schools are among 32 selected in California to take part in Epic’s 2021 Master Teacher Ambassador Program, the digital children’s reading company announced.
Laura Obando from Fairview Elementary School in Fairfield along with Sofia Calderon from Alamo Elementary in Vacaville and Caitlin Abbate from Notre Dame School in Vacaville were selected from among hundreds of applicants from 37 states and 20 countries, according to a press release from Epic.
The digital reading platform reaches more than 20 million schoolchildren who are 12 or younger, according to the press release.
Source: 3 Solano teachers make cut to take part in specialized program
By Todd R. Hansen
Solano County schools can choose to open their campuses Tuesday to in-person instruction, but the Public Health Division does not expect to see many do that.
“I don’t know if more than a few would open. There may be a few private schools that might reopen,” Dr. Bela Matyas, the county public health officer, said Friday during a phone interview.
Tuesday marks the second week that Solano County has been at the state’s red tier Covid-19 monitoring status, which is the trigger for letting schools welcome back their students.
Source: Solano schools can open Tuesday, but most are expected to wait, open gradually
The recent transition of Solano County into the red tier in the State’s monitoring system for COVID-19 allows schools within our county to begin in-person instruction for students. Dixon Unified has not made any decisions about in-person instruction and wants to involve our families before doing so.
These Town Hall Meetings are intended to provide families with information, take input, and answer any questions there are about the possibility of students returning to their campuses.Please note that the purpose of these meetings is to get input prior to any decision regarding a physical return to school. The District is committed to having an open process that allows for public input before any decision about in-person instruction is made.
Source: Dixon Unified School District Town Hall Meetings For Parents | Dixon, CA Patch
By Matt O’Donnell
When Solano County moved into Tier 2 (red) on Sept. 23, some athletic directors were able to get their athletes back onto campus for conditioning with limited numbers.
So far, that has not applied to athletes at Jesse Bethel and Vallejo high schools.
Last week, the Vallejo Unified School District told both schools that they could not move forward with conditioning. The schools were able to condition during a portion of the summer before coronavirus numbers in the county became too high.
Source: Vallejo Unified School District not allowing conditioning for prep sports yet – Times-Herald
By Paul Farmer
Running backs and quarterbacks are usually measured by the yardage they’ve gained, which is also true for receivers.
Yet receivers have another stat that shows their value to the teams they play for: receptions.
The city record for receptions in a season stood for 26 years, though few other stats for that player – Fairfield’s Kirk Broussard – are available from his 1982 campaign.
Source: City top-10 single-season receptions leaders: Vanden’s Dion Williams had most catches in season – by 19
By Nick Sestanovich
Schools in Vacaville may have moved to virtual learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the tradition of placing one’s right hand upon their hearts and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance has continued.
At Cooper Elementary School, one student has led the pledge through a series of videos, all filmed in front of flags in different locations.
Fifth-grader Keegan Pierce has been filmed leading the pledge in areas ranging from the Vacaville Police Department to Disneyland. The videos started off each school day for the student body, just as the pledge would during a typical in-person school day.
Source: Cooper Elementary student leads virtual pledge in video series – The Reporter