Solano County’s Child Haven keeps working amid pandemic – Times-Herald

By Times Herald

The COVID-19 pandemic may have presented health, economic and safety issues but Solano County’s oldest children’s mental health agency is up for the challenge.

During times of high stress, coupled with financial instability and isolation, the incidence of domestic violence and abuse rises steeply, Child Haven officials said in a news release.

As services to at-risk families become even more critical, Child Haven has remained open, providing remote, web-based tele-health services to clients, with only key admin staff in the office.

Source: Solano County’s Child Haven keeps working amid pandemic – Times-Herald

Schools would get $1 billion to help homeless students under bipartisan federal proposal – The Reporter

By Carolyn Jones

Homeless youth and families, who’ve been largely left out of federal coronavirus aid, would get more than $1 billion under a bipartisan proposal put forth this week in the U.S. Senate.

The proposal includes money for shelters, motel bills, food, school supplies and other services intended to help homeless students, whose numbers are expected to grow as unemployment soars to Depression-era levels nationwide.

“It’s what we need right now during this crisis,” said Darla Barbine, executive director of the National Network for Youth, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. “We were already at record levels of youth homelessness before the pandemic, but the coronavirus has put a spotlight on these deep fissures in our society.”

Source: Schools would get $1 billion to help homeless students under bipartisan federal proposal – The Reporter

Vacaville school board to hear update on potential school openings by fall – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Trustees of the Vacaville School District will hear a presentation Thursday about the progress made from a committee looking into different scenarios that could lead area schools to reopen in August.

The committee has examined numerous factors that would need to be considered prior to reopening the schools, including safety, preparedness and risk assessment.

Committee members heard a range of comments from parent feedback engagement, ranging from supportive to expressions of mixed emotions.

Source: Vacaville school board to hear update on potential school openings by fall

Empty classrooms show where time stood still – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Shamrock fabric still covers the teacher’s desk, snowflake decorations are hanging around the room and books about Easter and spring fill the shelves.

Those were some of the items frozen in time in Audrey Jacque’s first-grade classroom at K.I. Jones Elementary School.

One student looked to the future and writing 3/16/20 on one of the boards.

Classroom teaching ceased after March 13 in the Fairfield-Suisun School District. Instructors are now returning to their classrooms for end-of-the-school-year packing.

Source: Empty classrooms show where time stood still

Local educators: Few specifics from CDE about reopening schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Reacting to the state Department of Education’s livestreamed discussion about safely reopening schools in the fall, Solano educators said the Thursday morning event — which included comments from state schools chief Tony Thurmond — offered few specific guidelines on how to do it.

They collectively agreed that, ultimately, the decision will be left to each of California’s 1,000 school districts.

Jared Austin, executive director and co-founder of Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, called the discussion a “missed opportunity.” He said Thurmond and Dr. Gil Chavez, of California Department of Public Health, did not offer specific guidelines for the safe reopening of schools for the state’s 6.2 million students.

Source: Coronavirus: Local educators: Few specifics from CDE about reopening schools – The Reporter

When Schools Reopen, All Staff Should Wear Masks, New CDC Guidance Says – Education Week

By Evie Blad

Face masks would become common, cafeterias would be closed to prevent crowding, and extracurricular activities would be cancelled in areas heavily affected by the coronavirus, if schools adhere to new and long-awaited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools.

The guidance includes recommendations that could alter nearly every part of the school day, from bus rides to recess. And it could present major challenges to educators returning after a long period of remote learning.

The agency quietly posted the document this week after education groups complained that federal agencies had not provided enough clarity about how to safely operate schools during the pandemic. It comes as many states have already started the massive task of planning to reopen schools that were shuttered to contain the illness. Some states are assembling task forces to make plans for both academic and logistical issues associated with starting the new school year.

Source: When Schools Reopen, All Staff Should Wear Masks, New CDC Guidance Says – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Facebook groups help high school seniors get ‘adopted’ – Times-Herald

With the pandemic limiting high school graduations to very little pomp under a bad circumstance, getting “adopted” by a stranger puts a boost into the joy barometer, one American Canyon High School graduate confirmed.

Oh sure, Kaylee Davis was admittedly “kind of embarrassed,” stepping from her Vallejo home to see a Kona Ice truck and congratulatory cupcakes, not mention various food, beverages and bathroom essentials that previously arrived.

Still, “it’s kind of nice,” the 17-year-old said. “It is weird to have this much attention.”

Source: Facebook groups help high school seniors get ‘adopted’ [Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.]

How much stimulus aid will your California school receive? That depends – The Reporter

By John Fensterwald and Daniel Willis

By July 1, California school districts should get some financial relief from their share of $1.65 billion in federal stimulus funds that the state is expected to receive. Educators are hoping it will be the first installment of a bigger influx of federal aid later this summer that will let them shore up their budgets from expected cuts in state funding, as well as cover additional expenses from the coronavirus.

For school districts facing the potential prospect of big cuts in state funding next year, the funds represent a gift horse — flexible cash with few strings attached that can be spent on multiple costs of the pandemic. These could include items such as buying computers and internet access, covering the costs of distance learning, extended learning next year or paying for cleaning supports and costs of reopening schools.

Source: How much stimulus aid will your California school receive? That depends – The Reporter

Task Force Calls for Free Internet for Students – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that his Closing the Digital Divide Task Force is asking the leaders of major internet service providers to provide free guest access to all of California’s students. Executives from these companies will be asked to speak to their commitment to the state’s most vulnerable students and families at the next task force meeting on Monday, May 4 at 4 p.m., which will be streamed live online.

Superintendent Thurmond created the task force, co-chaired by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), to help close the technological gaps that put millions of students—including those living in remote, rural areas and students living in poverty—at a further academic disadvantage. Executives from all major service providers, including AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, have been invited to the meeting, which will be livestreamed on the CDE Facebook page.

Source: Task Force Calls for Free Internet for Students – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

In new program, low-income students eligible for extra food benefits – Times-Herald

By Richard Bammer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a new food assistance program for children throughout the state, including thousands in Solano County, who are living in households struggling with food insecurity, state schools chief Tony Thurmond has announced.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program provides electronic food benefits to families equal to the value of meals children eligible for free or reduced-priced meals would have received at school, he noted in a press release issued earlier this week.

“The COVID-19 crisis has placed additional economic strain on some of our families that were already struggling to put food on the table,” Thurmond said in the prepared statement. “This program provides critical food assistance so that our students who are in economically challenged households can get the nutritious meals at home they need to thrive.”

Source: Coronavirus: CDE: In new program, low-income students eligible for extra food benefits – Times-Herald

First 5 Solano offering childcare for essential employees in Vallejo – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Thanks in large part to First 5 Solano and the Solano County Office of Emergency Services, the Solano County Emergency PopUp Childcare Program is now available in Vallejo.

The free program, created on April 2 as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread, supports health care workers, first responders, disaster services workers and essential employees working in Vallejo. It is not available to the general public.

All childcare centers will follow social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene practices described in the March 18 COVID-19 guidelines for childcare providers, Solano County Public Health.

Source: Coronavirus: First 5 Solano offering childcare for essential employees in Vallejo – Times-Herald

Area education leaders await final decisions on school-reopening dates – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Most Vacaville area school district leaders say that — for the time being, at least — they are scheduled to reopen classrooms in mid-August, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Tuesday pronouncement about public schools restarting possibly in late July.

“We are paying close attention to Governor Newsom’s comments throughout this pandemic, and making sure we are working with our local partners to ensure we are prepared for any executive order or directive we need to follow,” Vacaville Unified Superintendent Jane Shamieh wrote Thursday in an email to The Reporter.

Shamieh, whose district includes more than 13,000 students enrolled at more than 15 campuses, made no additional comment about Newsom’s proposal, which is not set in stone and caught state schools chief Tony Thurmond by surprise.

Source: Coronavirus: Area education leaders await final decisions on school-reopening dates – The Reporter

Area school districts set dates, plans,  for 2020 graduations – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Eastern Solano County school districts have set dates or plans, some of the latter still pending, for class of 2020 graduations, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing changes to the traditional, year-end ceremonies.

At Dixon High, Principal Stephanie Marquez said Wednesday that seniors will graduate on the previously set date of June 6 with a car parade through town that will lead to the campus, 555 College Way, where 242 students will receive their diplomas.

Students can pick up their caps and gowns (and a little surprise) from 3 to 5 p.m. May 19, she noted in a social media post in English and Spanish.

Source: Coronavirus: Area school districts set dates, plans, some pending, for 2020 graduations – The Reporter

States weigh options for start of new school year | Education Dive

By Shawna De La Rosa

School reopening plans nationwide continue to change and evolve as positive COVID-19 cases grow. Holcomb said schools must remain flexible to react quickly to fall closures due to new outbreaks.

Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday students may return to the classroom as early as July. California closed schools March 19, a few days later than some other states. Newsom expects modifications to be in place to help safeguard students and staff and allow for social distancing. He suggested schools could stagger schedules.

Source: States weigh options for start of new school year | Education Dive

Solano extends shelter-at-home order – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

For the second time in the past month Solano Public Health officials have extended the county’s shelter-at-home order — this time through May 17.

The impetus, apparently, is the significant number of active COVID-19 cases and related deaths in and around Solano County.

“The significant number of confirmed actives cases currently in Solano County, and confirmed cases and deaths in surrounding counties including those in the greater Bay Area, the Sacramento County region, and in San Joaquin County are evidence that this public health emergency has not substantially improved since the issuance of the March 30, 2020 Solano County Public Health Order,” reads the current directive. “These data are evidence that the suggested 14-day sustained reduction in new active cases and a sustained reduction in hospitalizations has not yet been achieved locally.”

Source: Coronavirus: Solano extends shelter-at-home order – The Reporter

Betsy DeVos Releases Billions More in Coronavirus Education Aid – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has officially announced that $13.5 billion in emergency coronavirus funding for K-12 schools is now available.

The billions in additional aid was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Donald Trump last month. The money will initially go to states, but at least 90 percent ultimately must be passed along to school districts via the Title I formula designed to help schools with large shares of students from low-income households.

Schools can use this pot of CARES Act money for a variety of purposes to help them deal with the fallout of the virus, which has forced dozens of states to shut down in-person classes for the rest of the school year. For example, educators can use it to provide access to the internet for students struggling to learn remotely, mental health supports, and support for special populations of students such as those who are homeless.

Source: Betsy DeVos Releases Billions More in Coronavirus Education Aid – Politics K-12 – Education Week

SPI Commends Governor’s LCAP Executive Order – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond commended yesterday’s executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom that allows schools to focus on the impacts of campus closures as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and their mitigation plans for when students return this fall. The executive order does this by extending the deadline for school districts and charter schools to submit upcoming Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) which are long-range planning documents tied to budget projections.

“School districts statewide have been working hard to put distance learning platforms into place and keep their students fed. The LCAP process deadlines should not be placing additional burdens on schools, which as a result of our current climate of social distancing, cannot meaningfully engage with their community stakeholders,” Thurmond said. “The Governor’s action frees up staff time and resources for districts to focus solely on the immediate learning needs and health of our students.”

Source: SPI Commends Governor’s LCAP Executive Order – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

John Knight Middle School opening delayed to January – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The long wait to bring a new middle school onto the old Dixon High School campus will have to wait a little longer.

Dixon Unified School District officials announced Wednesday that John Knight Middle School has pushed back its planned opening from August to January due to a delay in the final stages of renovation due to the coronavirus.

“We believe it’s vital to the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff, and parents to have a fully-operational and completed renovation before we occupy the site,” DUSD Superintendent Brian Dolan said in a press statement. “Students and teachers will benefit from and be able to use all the new classrooms, library, gymnasiums, cafeteria, and all other spaces when they come to the new school. We did not want to have the students and teachers come to an incomplete school with construction activities still occurring.”

Source: Coronavirus: John Knight Middle School opening delayed to January – The Reporter

Dixon May Fair junior livestock auction finds home online for 2020 – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

The future of Spam and Sparkles looked uncertain Friday.The same for Rusty the steer.

Spam and Sparkles are two pigs who were raised to be auctioned at the Dixon May Fair. The fair has been canceled for 2020 due to the novel coronavirus and related stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements.

Efforts to keep the livestock auction fell into place Saturday night. Chico-based Bidcal.com will bring the auction online.

Source: Dixon May Fair junior livestock auction finds home online for 2020

County Office of Education Ready to Meet the Needs of Students with Received Funds from Travis Credit Union | East County Today

Recently, Travis Credit Union launched and implemented a $1 million philanthropic initiative, which will disbursed to local organizations working to provide COVID-19 related relief to non-profits primarily focused on services in the areas of education, youth/family, food banks, and small business support.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) was named as a recipient of this initiative, along with nearly 100 other non-profits in the counties of Contra Costa, Napa, Solano, Merced, and Yolo.

In determining the donation amount allocated for each agency, Travis Credit Union considered the organization’s total size, scope of service, statement of immediate needs, as well as all facets of support being offered to local individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. Receiving $30,000 from the initiative, CCCOE has begun identifying how best to support their students and educators during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Source: County Office of Education Ready to Meet the Needs of Students with Received Funds from Travis Credit Union | East County Today