$6 Billion in Reopening/Expanded Learning Funding – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) today has posted estimated local education agency (LEA) allocations from the $6.6 billion made available as part of the Assembly Bill (AB) 86 External link opens in new window or tab. COVID-19 relief package. The funding provided by AB 86 will accelerate the safe return to in-person instruction across California and provide schools the resources to expand academic, mental health and social-emotional supports, including over the summer.

“As more school districts across California announce plans to bring students back into classrooms, we at the CDE are providing the technical support our schools need to access resources in a timely way so educators can focus on providing a safe return to in-person learning, accelerate learning, and begin recovering,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

A breakdown of how the $2 billion for In-Person Instruction (IPI) Grants and $4.6 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grants were determined for each LEA are available on the CDE IPI and ELO Grants Funding Results web page.

Source: $6 Billion in Reopening/Expanded Learning Funding – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Second-dose vaccinations set today for Solano County educators – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Solano County Office of Education will offer a clinic in Fairfield Friday for county teachers needing a second-dose coronavirus vaccine.

The clinic will held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at SCOE offices, 5100 Business Center Drive.

Jennifer Leonard, a spokeswoman for SCOE, said the clinic is the second such event for more than 1,000 Solano County school employees.

Source: Coronavirus: Second-dose vaccinations set today for Solano County educators – The Reporter

COVID shut down high school sports for a year – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

They used words and phrases like “unknowns,” “fluid and scary,” “unforeseeable challenges,” “uncharted territory” and “limbo.”

Sometimes the athletic directors of the local high schools were at a loss for words to describe their reaction and feelings to the suspension of spring sports on Friday, March 13, 2020, 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: COVID shut down high school sports for a year

Solano welcomes feds’ help – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After a year of COVID-19, of staying in or working from our homes, of relying on Zoom gatherings for so much of life, and so much more, help is on the way for Solano County and Vacaville area residents.

President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Thursday and it means that individuals who meet certain income requirements and filed IRS tax returns in 2019 or 2020 will be getting a $1,400 stimulus check in the mail or electronically deposited to a bank account.

It also means there will be critical funding to re-open schools, more vaccinations, more employment as school districts, cities, counties and area transportation agencies will be getting millions in financial relief.

Source: Coronavirus: Solano welcomes feds’ help – The Reporter

Rapid COVID Testing to Facilitate School Reopening – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a statewide webinar today with health experts and educators that addressed the use of rapid COVID-19 testing as a tool to safely resume in-person learning on school campuses.

“I strongly believe that while we wait for a full vaccine roll-out, we also need to be moving toward a strategy for the deployment of rapid COVID testing that is cost-effective for schools,” Thurmond said. “This is one tool in our tool box—but an important one. Rapid COVID testing is a game-changer. With mounting data that students are suffering from mental health issues and learning disruptions, rapid testing is a real help for districts looking for ways to get students safely back into classrooms.”

During the presentation, Thurmond shared how the use of BinaxNOW COVID-19 Cards, which provide test results in 15 minutes at a cost of $5 per test, will be used at the California Department of Education’s (CDE) three State Special Schools to safely return students to in-person instruction.

Source: Rapid COVID Testing to Facilitate School Reopening – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Garamendi Secures Critical Funding To Reopen Schools, Distribute Vaccines, | Davis, CA Patch

Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA03) voted to pass the Senate-amended “American Rescue Plan” (H.R.1319), in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law this week.

The legislation includes much-needed relief to:

  • Put students safely back in classrooms
  • Put vaccines in arms
  • Put money in people’s pockets
  • Put Americans back to work.

The bill includes funding to safely re-open schools, distribute vaccinations in every American community, send an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals, support small businesses, and extend unemployment benefits. The legislation codifies President Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan into law and includes funding to support specific COVID-19-related initiatives in Congressman Garamendi’s Congressional District.

Source: Garamendi Secures Critical Funding To Reopen Schools, Distribute Vaccines, Extend Unemployment Benefits, & Send $1,400 Stimulus Checks | Davis, CA Patch

Solano County going into the red tier at noon – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Health officials are expected to announce at noon today that Solano County is moving into the less restrictive red tier.

“We are going to go in red today,” Dr. Bela Matyas, the county public health officer, said in a phone interview.

“I think it is because of both our case count adjusted by our testing volume, and the health equity,” he added, and “it’s possible we are only a few weeks away from going to orange if the (state’s tier) changes are favorable to us.”

Source: Solano County going into the red tier at noon

Teacher vaccination a main driver in reopening schools – Times-Herald

By John Woolfolk

Lawmakers are expected Thursday to approve a $6.6 billion bill aimed at enticing more public schools to reopen this spring, but it doesn’t appear to be driving districts around the state to bring kids back earlier than they had already planned.

While the bill offers financial incentives to reopen by the end of March, with decreasing amounts offered until May 15, several districts say their reopening timelines instead depend on two factors: teacher vaccinations and falling local infection rates. Both of those were underway before Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced their compromise legislation Monday, and many districts had already hammered out agreements with teachers’ unions that would be difficult to change.

Source: COVID: Teacher vaccination a main driver in reopening schools – Times-Herald

Response to Legislative Deal on School Reopening – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to a legislative deal announced by Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers that is designed to help more schools open classrooms for in-person learning:

“There is no question that students learn best when they are together with their peers and educators in a physically and emotionally safe school environment. Our schools need every resource possible to implement the layered safety measures that will facilitate a safe return to in-person learning for students, school staff, teachers, and their families.

“I want to thank Governor Gavin Newsom and our leaders in the Legislature for crafting a proposal that will provide our school districts and educators additional resources to help resume safe in-person learning and invest in expanded learning and academic interventions to help students accelerate learning and recover from the impacts of this pandemic.

Source: Response to Legislative Deal on School Reopening – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Solano’s weekend Covid numbers improve, but county still in purple – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

The number of novel coronavirus cases over the weekend was slightly lower than at the same time last week, but Solano County will still have to experience even fewer cases over the next four days to get into the less restrictive red tier.

The Public Health Division reported Monday there were 91 new cases since Friday’s update, a three-day average of 30.33.

It took the total since the pandemic started to 30,115.

Source: Solano’s weekend Covid numbers improve, but county still in purple

Newsom, legislators strike deal to reopen California schools – Daily Republic

By Taryn Luna and John Myers, LA Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders announced an agreement Monday to give school districts $2 billion to open schools for students in transitional kindergarten through second grade by April 1, focusing on California’s youngest children after almost a year of distance learning.

The negotiations wrapped up over the weekend, according to sources close to both the governor and the Legislature who confirmed its basic components.

The plan, detailed in Assembly Bill 86, provides financial incentives to school districts that offer in-person instruction in counties with fewer than 25 new daily confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, a threshold almost all California counties currently meet as the winter’s rapid spread of the virus had slowed.

Source: Newsom, legislators strike deal to reopen California schools

Local educators start receiving vaccinations – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Year after year, educators hope to have multiple pens, sheets of paper, erasers, rulers and calculators to help them get through a class. Now most of them are thankful to add COVID-19 vaccination shots to that same list.

Nearly 1,000 of the 2,000 educators and teachers from throughout Solano County took advantage of vaccine invitations and made appointments for their shots, according to Lisette Estrella-Henderson, the county’s superintendent of schools. Many had attended a vaccine clinic last week at the Solano County Office of Education.

In Napa County, 950 doses were made available to Napa district and county office of education teachers. The county has released 1,000 more doses to be administered to all Napa County school staff Monday and Tuesday, according to American Canyon High principal Crystal Lopez.

Source: Local educators start receiving vaccinations – Times-Herald

Solano County partners with VUSD for first Vacaville vaccination clinic – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

As Solano County Public Health continues to host more COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout the county, one finally came to Vacaville Monday. The agency partnered with Vacaville Unified School District to host one at Markham Elementary School.

Benjamin Gammon, Solano County’s Emergency Medical Services coordinator, said 1,500 people were scheduled to receive the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine, with the recipients again consisting of individuals in vulnerable populations such as seniors ages 65 or older or with chronic illnesses, first responders and health care workers.

Additionally, there was a doctor in the parking lot where people lined up to sign in. The doctor also worked with the Solano County Office of Emergency Services and Solano County Sheriff’s Office to assist people with mobility issues.

Source: Coronavirus: Solano County partners with VUSD for first Vacaville vaccination clinic – The Reporter

Solano vaccine event gets 1,000 in the door, more in coming days – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

There seemed to be a little turnabout is fair play going on Friday at the headquarters of the Solano County Office of Education.

Teachers were told to follow the yellow “ribbon,” and later were sent to sit down quietly for 15 minutes before being allowed to go.

It was all part of a vaccination clinic at which 1,000 teachers and other school staff received their first of two Covid-19 vaccinations. They will be back in three weeks to get the second.

Source: Solano vaccine event gets 1,000 in the door, more in coming days

SCOE hosts mass vaccination clinic for educators – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

It has not been an easy 12 months since Solano County schools closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. But as the county moves through the first phase of the vaccination rollout, a little bit of hope arrived Friday.

The Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) hosted a vaccination clinic for employees in schools throughout the county that have already opened or registered with the California Department of Public Health’s Safe Schools for All website. Approximately 1,800 employees from throughout Solano were invited to sign up for vaccines and 1,000 made appointments to receive them, according to Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Solano’s superintendent of schools.

She was thrilled with the turnout.

Source: Coronavirus: SCOE hosts mass vaccination clinic for educators – The Reporter

Health officials say Solano not lagging behind in Covid-19 vaccinations – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Solano’s top health official said those concerned, or complaining, that the county is trailing others in the Bay Area with vaccinations simply do not understand the realities of the situation.

Dr. Bela Matyas said vaccinations are not something that can be easily compared county to county.

The county as of Monday had vaccinated about 55,000 people, although the state also has private contracts with the hospitals, pharmacies, Travis Air Force Base and the Vacaville prisons, and the county does not receive reports on the number of people vaccinated through those contracts.

Source: Health officials say Solano not lagging behind in Covid-19 vaccinations

SCOE pitches in for teacher, support staff vaccine planning – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As the Solano County Public Health department advances its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the Solano County Office of Education is providing data collection help for the vaccination planning for Solano educators and school support staff.

The news comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom, under pressure to reopen California’s public school classrooms, said on Friday that, starting March 1, the state will reserve 10% of its first doses of COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and classified, or school-support, employees.

But local vaccine supply is currently limited, requiring “a phased approach” to vaccination rollout for Solano school employees, Jennifer Leonard, the SCOE’s director of community affairs and public information, said in a press statement issued Saturday.

Source: Coronavirus: SCOE pitches in for teacher, support staff vaccine planning – The Reporter

Dixon school board approves hybrid reopening plan – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Dixon school board unanimously approved a hybrid reopening plan that aims to bring students back to school for in-person learning at its Thursday meeting.

The reopening of Dixon Unified School District campuses will be dependent upon Solano County returning to the red tier, but Superintendent Brian Dolan said the district is aiming to have students back in class March 16 in the “best case scenario.” If conditions do not improve, the reopening date will be modified.

Dolan said Thursday’s meeting was the most important in a long time and acknowledged that the closure of schools on March 13 to stop the spread of the coronavirus has been very difficult for students and their families.

Source: Coronavirus: Dixon school board approves hybrid reopening plan – The Reporter

Lower infection rates mean elementary schools can reopen immediately – but it’s complicated – Daily Republic

Los Angeles Times:

The announcement this week that Los Angeles County coronavirus rates have finally dropped low enough to allow for the immediate reopening of elementary schools is leading to an uneven return to class — fast in districts serving more affluent communities, but just one step in an arduous climb for school systems elsewhere, including in L.A. Unified.

Both school leaders and families face difficult choices after pandemic-forced school closures nearly a year ago upended the education of about 1.5 million students in L.A. County and about 6 million statewide. Every school system has the authority to decide how far to go when reopening elementary campuses — and how soon.

Source: Lower infection rates mean elementary schools can reopen immediately – but it’s complicated

Vacaville students peacefully protest in support of reopening schools – The Reporter

BY Kimberly K. Fu

A row of desks lined a parking lot at Vacaville High School early Wednesday, the two dozen students sitting at them working diligently on laptops just as if they were in the classroom.

But they weren’t, which was the issue, they said, calling the peaceful protest their way of demanding that schools reopen for the year.

Since last March, the pandemic forced public schools in Solano and throughout the state to shutter and move to a distance-learning format to meet public health guidelines. The Class of 2020 lost out on their senior year, including proms, football games and graduations, and all students lost interactions with their teachers, staff and peers.

Source: Vacaville students peacefully protest in support of reopening schools – The Reporter