More than four in 10 parents say kids fell behind from school closures – Times-Herald

By John Woolfolk

More than four in 10 parents say their kids fell behind academically during the COVID-19 pandemic, when California trailed the country in reopening classrooms to in-person learning, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Now that their kids are back in the classroom, three out four parents support the state’s decision to no longer require masks. But two-thirds of them are OK requiring students to receive COVID-19 vaccines once they’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California offers a glimpse of how parents in the Golden State feel state leaders and educators have dealt with the turmoil from the pandemic and the impact it’s had on the state’s 6 million K-12 students.

Source: More than four in 10 parents say kids fell behind from school closures – Times-Herald

Kairos Public Schools earns state award for pandemic response – Daily Republic

Kairos Public Schools has received the state 2022 Pivotal Practice Award for its pandemic response – the only Solano County school to receive the recognition.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the award Tuesday.

“We are proud of the courageous efforts of our staff and students as they responded with student-centered decision-making in the most challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The team’s perseverance and dedication to create learning systems for our scholars in a time when no school was prepared speaks to our spirit of innovation,” Jared Austin, the executive director of Kairos, said in a statement.

Source: Kairos Public Schools earns state award for pandemic response

Homeschooling In California Sees Boom; Vaccine Mandate May Be Driving Increase – CBS San Francisco

California is seeing a boom in homeschooling. State numbers show it’s more than doubled since before the pandemic.

A controversial factor is possibly driving the increase. Nicole Nowling plans to pull her four children out of the Fairfield Suisun Unified School District if California enforces a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for kids.

“When you have the government essentially telling you, ‘We’re gonna tell you what to do, and what’s best.’ That’s a hard pill to swallow,” she said.

Source: Homeschooling In California Sees Boom; Looming Kids’ COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate May Be Driving Increase – CBS San Francisco

COVID vaccine mandate for California schools delayed until 2023 [San Francisco Chronicle]

California public health officials announced Thursday that they will delay implementation of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus vaccine requirement in schools until at least July 1, 2023, pointing to the Food and Drug Administration’s lack of full approval for the vaccine for children of certain ages.

Vaccines will not be required for students for the 2022-2023 school year in order to “ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements,” California Department of Public Health officials said in a statement.

Requirements for coronavirus vaccines will not take effect in the state until the FDA approves them for children in grades 7 through 12 and “no sooner than” July 1, 2023, state public health officials said.

Source: COVID vaccine mandate for California schools delayed until 2023 [San Francisco Chronicle]

Solano school leaders applaud state’s first step in lifting mask mandates – Daily Republic

By Matt Miller

School leaders applauded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recommendation Monday to lift mask mandates for students in what amounts to a small start in shifting back to pre-pandemic normalcy.

The mandate will be lifted at midnight March 12. Masks will continue to be “strongly recommended” as students head to school March 14 but not required, likely meaning many students will continue to choose to wear their masks and others will not.

“I appreciate the state’s announcement of moving from mask requirements to masks being strongly recommended for our schools,” Solano Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said by email. “The new guidelines seem to reflect recent Covid data and feedback from California families. California has had among the lowest pediatric hospitalization rates compared to other states, and the data is certainly trending in the right direction in Solano County.”

Source: Solano school leaders applaud state’s first step in lifting mask mandates

Benicia lifts mask mandate, is Vallejo next? – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

On Tuesday night, the Benicia City Council lifted its mask mandate with 4-1 vote. The one vote against the motion belonged to Benicia Vice Mayor Tom Campbell.

Benicia will now follow the Solano County Public Health and California Department of Public Health State’s masking requirements, according to its website. Businesses may continue to require patrons to wear masks and individuals are free to continue wearing masks.

Students at schools in the Benicia Unified School District, however, are still required to wear masks.

Source: Benicia lifts mask mandate, is Vallejo next? – Times-Herald

Touro Cares Mobile vaccination program hosts 100th vaccine clinic at VCUSD on Wednesday – Times-Herald

Vallejo City Unified School District is opening its school site to the Touro Cares Mobile Vaccination Program for its 100th Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Cooper Elementary School.

“We are proud to share this will be its 100th clinic offered to the community,” William Spalding, superintendent of VCUSD, said in a news release. “We are so grateful to make this partnership possible with Touro University California Cares Mobile Vaccination Program, which is funded by Kaiser Permanente.”

Cooper Elementary School is at 612 Del Mar Ave., Vallejo, CA. 94589.

Source: Touro Cares Mobile vaccination program hosts 100th vaccine clinic at VCUSD on Wednesday – Times-Herald

School district COVID testing center adds Saturday hours, offers testing to public – Daily Republic

The Vacaville School District Testing Center has temporarily expanded its hours to serve students, staff and the community at-large.

The center, located at 621 S. Orchard Ave., across the street from Alamo Elementary, will be open by appointment only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The district testing center received additional temporary funding to address the current surge in Covid-19 cases, the school district reported in a letter to parents and guardians.

 

Source

Free Covid testing offered by Vacaville School District brings out hundreds – Daily Republic

VACAVILLE — The Covid-19 test strips were about the size of a small hand. On one end was the cotton swab that was inserted into the nasal cavity. The entire thing looks something like a large pregnancy test.

Mena Bubakar, Covid test collector for BayPLS, a mobile testing company for the Bay Area, places a solution over the end of the cotton swab to create a reaction to test for Covid. One line means negative and two lines means positive.

The test strips are marked by time and placed on a table. She inputs them after more than a few minutes of waiting. A lot of the tests Saturday have two lines, meaning people who came into the Vacaville School District Covid testing center have Covid-19.

Source

Vacaville coronavirus testing site opens with California funds – KCRA

By Erin Heft

Extra funding through the state allowed a Vacaville COVID-19 testing site to expand its reach this weekend and give priority to first responders.

Site organizers say this is huge for their community, especially with the newest surge of COVID-19 cases across Northern California.

“This community really is looking to get tested and there’s really not a lot of choices,” said Ed Santopadre, associate superintendent with Vacaville Unified School District.

The site at the Vacaville Unified School District opened with funding from the California Department of Public Health late last year. But through more state funding it was able to expand its reach by opening three weekends in 2022 with COVID-19 testing for anyone.

Source: Vacaville coronavirus testing site opens with California funds

Government launches site for free COVID-19 tests – KCRA 3

The federal government’s test website, COVIDtests.gov, is now live and began accepting orders Tuesday, one day ahead of schedule.

The Biden administration is using the website to distribute half a billion promised tests at no cost.

You can get four tests per household. They are expected to be mailed out seven to 12 days after your order.

There will also be a helpline to call and order tests.

Divided Vaca board debates letter to governor on Covid vaccine mandates – Daily Republic

3 trustees opt to send message under own names, not as formal board missive

VACAVILLE — The School Board this week during a special meeting mulled over the idea of sending a letter to the governor addressing concerns about the vaccine mandate proposed for implementation July 1.

Trustees split on the timing of the letter, with a board minority opting to send it anyway.

The letter being reviewed Thursday includes basic information on the Vacaville School District along with responses from a survey done of all families in the district about how they felt about the possible mandate.

Vallejo, Benicia School Officials Eye Rising COVID Numbers – News Motion

By Tony Campbell

As the surging Omicron variant raises the number of COVID-19 cases in Solano County, local parents are increasingly concerned about keeping their kids in the classroom.

The rapid growth has been on the mind of Vallejo and Benicia school districts as they wrestle with the question of halting in-person instruction.

“As has been the experience of school districts throughout the region and across the state of California, the Vallejo City Unified School District has seen a steady uptick of positive COVID-19 cases among its staff and students,” district spokesperson Stephen Nichols said in an email to the Times-Herald on Thursday afternoon. “In alliance with the state and county public health agencies, the district continues to provide multiple and robust safeguards within its schools, offices, and classrooms to prevent the spread of the virus. At this time, absentee rates in the district average 20-25 percent overall, but it should be noted this includes all categories — not just COVID case absences, which is a fraction of the total absences.”

Solano County schools see record number of positive Covid tests – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

The caseload from the current coronavirus surge is so high that the county has cut back on its contact tracing efforts and has told inundated schools they, too, can stop tracing.

A letter sent Monday to Travis School District parents states “. . . Dr. Bala Matyas gave direction to all school districts in Solano County to temporarily cease contact tracing. Dr. Matyas acknowledged that resources and staff required to effectively manage contact tracing with the latest Covid surge has become unmanageable and is no longer sustainable.”

Dixon School District, for example, reported a pandemic-high number of positive tests, 128, among students last week, with 18 members of the staff also testing positive for the virus.

White House boosts COVID tests for schools amid case surge – The Vacaville Reporter

By John Woolfolk

With schools across the country straining to stay open amid a crush of COVID-19 cases, the White House announced Wednesday it will provide for an additional 10 million tests a month for the virus to help students, teachers and staff avoid spreading the highly contagious virus on campuses.

The additional testing capacity will more than double the volume of testing that took place in schools across the country in November 2021, the most recent data available, the administration said. The move comes amid frustration and criticism over widespread shortages of at-home and laboratory tests nationally as cases soar.

“Today the Biden-Harris Administration is doubling down on our commitment to keeping all schools safely open for full-time in-person learning by taking new action to increase access to COVID-19 testing in schools,” the White House said in a news statement.

Source: White House boosts COVID tests for schools amid case surge – The Vacaville Reporter

Bay Area schools close due to staff shortages, high case rates – Times-Herald

By Kayla Jimenez and Thomas Gase

In the midst of a tumultuous back-to-school week underscored by numerous COVID-19 cases that have led to half-empty classrooms, administrators filling in for absent teachers and long testing lines, at least one large school district and some private and charter schools are closing temporarily, and others around the Bay Area are scrambling to keep classrooms open.

West Contra Costa Unified School District announced that it is closing its 54 schools Friday and Monday after almost a fourth of the district’s students missed class this week. The district is also closing its three COVID testing sites on Monday. The district does not plan to offer online instruction during the temporary closure.

Caliber ChangeMakers Academy, a charter school system with two campuses located in Vallejo and Richmond, is closing those schools Friday, Monday and Tuesday. And officials at Bentley School, a private school in Oakland, announced they are closing indefinitely starting Thursday and making a full return to online learning.

Source: COVID: Bay Area schools close due to staff shortages, high case rates – Times-Herald

State’s schools risk ‘colossal’ loss of dollars as enrollment drops – Daily Republic

By Joe Hong, CalMatters

As they await the release of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 state budget, school district officials across California are worried about losing millions of dollars all at once, resulting in staffing cuts in a time when students need more attention than ever.

After two years of not being penalized for declining enrollment during the pandemic, school districts are bracing for a sudden drop in revenues next year as their funding gets recalibrated to match current enrollment, which plummeted since Covid-19 first closed California’s schools.

“I’ve never ever seen a drop in enrollment come all at once like this,” said Andy Johnsen, superintendent at the San Marcos School District in north San Diego County. “The pandemic changed everything.”

Source: State’s schools risk ‘colossal’ loss of dollars as enrollment drops

CDE Releases Student Data for 2020-21 – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) today released student performance data that provide baseline indicators of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted schools and students.

To prevent the spread of virus before development and widespread distribution of vaccines, most students learned from home for most of 2020–21 and returned to campuses in the spring either full-time or with hybrid (in-class and remote) instruction.

The 2020–21 data affirm both the challenges created by the pandemic and California’s commitment to helping students recover from COVID-19 via a bold slate of historic investments in student learning, health, and well-being. The $123.9 billion education package signed by Governor Newsom in July provides the highest level of K–12 funding in history, including the expansion of after-school and summer programs to accelerate learning and the creation of full-service community schools to address student mental health and wellness needs.

Source: CDE Releases Student Data for 2020-21 – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

Staffing shortages put pressure on Solano schools to stay open – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

The spike in omicron-driven coronavirus cases is putting pressure on schools as they work to keep their classrooms open.

“I don’t think we are at a point where we are closing schools,” said Jaden Baird, executive director of Community Engagement and Administrative Services for the Fairfield-Suisun School District.

Baird said as of Friday, 6% of the workforce was out. Hitting the district harder than missing teachers, however, are shortages in maintenance workers and bus drivers.

Source: Staffing shortages put pressure on Solano schools to stay open

No vaccination deadline yet for Vallejo City Unified School District – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

While some school districts have established deadlines for students to be vaccinated, the Vallejo City Unified School District continues to track state timelines, according to district spokesperson Stephen Nichols.

“We are aligning our timelines with the state’s timeline on student vaccine requirements that will be put into place once the FDA has given full (not emergency use) authorization for the vaccines,” Nichols wrote in an email.

Nichols said the district does not have data to share regarding the status of the student vaccination goal.

Source: No vaccination deadline yet for Vallejo City Unified School District – Times-Herald