By Richard Bammer
Amid the ongoing pandemic, parents and families with K-12 students need all the information they can get to achieve success as distance learning continues.
To that end, Fairfield-Suisun Unified has posted the district’s most recent parent and family newsletter, dubbed Engage!, on the district website, at www.fsusd.org, directing viewers to resource centers.
The Engage! newsletter, published biweekly (every other week), contains articles and important information designed to keep families updated and connected.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun Unified parent newsletter offers district resource centers – The Reporter
The Benicia High School Youth Advocacy Club made a video presentation at the recent statewide Virtual Youth Summit as a resource to help peers cope with the stresses of Covid-19 and distance learning.
“The result is a video and presentation on Brain Dance, a full body-brain exercise that reduces stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections,” according to a statement released by the Solano County Office of Education.
“We created brain dance to give young developing minds a way to grow,” sophomore club member Lillian Theis said in the statement. “We thought making a video would be a fun and beneficial way to reach younger audiences.”
Source: Benicia High club creates video to help peers deal with Covid-19 stress
By Andrew Ujifusa
It’ll be no surprise if Election Day is the turning point in coronavirus relief negotiations. But what exactly might happen after all the votes are counted and there are definitive winners and losers?
Without those results, it’s impossible to say definitively, of course. But based on conversations with a few veteran Washington education lobbyists, it’s possible to sketch out scenarios that hinge on control of the presidency and the Senate, with the House all but certain to remain under Democratic control. Those scenarios range from the passage of a relatively small relief package not long after the election, to a big aid deal that includes money for longstanding federal education grants—but doesn’t get completed until well into 2021.
Source: How Election Day Could Alter COVID-19 Aid Talks for Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week
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
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 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
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
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
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
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, schools were scrambling to keep lunch and breakfast available to students through pick up options at one school site. While some students were still able to utilize this valuable resource, some did not have transportation or means to get there, leaving much of the food to go to waste each day.For now, the program remains free to all students. Robert Semple Elementary parents Tawnya Cassidy and Diederich Burton saw the need for students to receive these important meals and stepped up to serve as delivery drivers to help, forming the Facebook group Benicia Schools Volunteer Food Delivery Services.
Source: Benicia Schools Volunteer Food Delivery Services need drivers
As most of you are already aware, Solano County moved from the purple tier to the less-restrictive red tier in the state’s color-coded reopening matrix yesterday. This shift is based on the improved condition in our county with regard to numbers of cases of COVID and other related factors. This is good news and hopefully marks a trend that will continue with our adherence to the safety precautions and protocols that we all are so familiar with.
As has been reported previously, schools in counties that are in the red tier are eligible to reopen with precautions in place. Those precautions, again, are all of the ones that we are so used to. Should conditions remain as they are over the next several weeks, or improve, schools in Solano County will be eligible to reopen on October 13th.
Source: Status Change And Reopening Of Dixon Unified School District | Dixon, CA Patch
By Daily Republic Staff
Nearly 150 early care and education professionals experienced a day of learning in a virtual format Saturday during the annual Quality Counts Solano, Early Childhood Education Conference.
Solano County Office of Education partnered with First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission, Child Start Inc., Solano Community College and Solano Family and Children’s Service to sponsor this year’s conference aimed at furthering the educational experiences of Solano County’s youngest students.
Source: Solano ECE virtual conference draws 150 participants
By Kimberly K. Fu
The Solano County Office of Education said officials are in the “watch and wait” mode as the county shifts into a less stringent level on the state’s COVID-19 framework.
The downgrade from purple to red tier was announced Tuesday by the state Department of Public Health.
Should the county maintain red status for 14 consecutive days, Solano schools could return to in-person instruction.Currently, local schools must operate via distance learning.
Source: Coronavirus: Solano County Office of Education “watching and waiting” – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
Restaurants will soon be open to indoor dining and Solano County residents may soon return to their places of worship.
Of course, there will still be plenty of elbow room.
Solano County is expected Tuesday to be moved from the most-restrictive purple tier into the less-restrictive red tier in the state’s color-coded monitoring system, a move that also will allow schools to open to classroom instruction in two weeks.
Source: Solano moving into less-restrictive red tier on state’s Covid ladder
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education will be distributing personal protection equipment to area public schools.
The program is in conjunction with the California Office of Emergency Services.
The supplies provided by the state include N95 masks for school medical staff; more than 58,000 cloth masks (sizes 7 to 12); more than 76,000 cloth masks (sizes K-6); more than 58,000 disposable masks (sizes 7 to 12); more than 76,000 disposable masks (sizes K-6); more than 25,000 disposable masks (sized for adults); more than 12,000 disposable face shields; 540 touchless thermometers; and more than 1,600 gallons of hand sanitizer.
Source: Solano Office of Education to distribute PPE to schools
By Nick Sestanovich
Many businesses throughout Solano County will now be permitted to open indoors as long as they make modifications and/or do not exceed 25 percent capacity.
Solano County is assigned to Tier 1 of the California Department of Public Health’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which assigns tiers to every county in the state to increase or decrease requirements on businesses based on COVID-19 activity.
Tier 1 is considered widespread coronavirus activity, which provides new requirements to certain businesses that have been closed or have had limited operations since the initial shelter-at-home order.
Source: Coronavirus: Some Solano businesses may open at 25% capacity – The Reporter