The California Department of Education held their very first virtual press conference today regarding the $100 million allocated in SB 117 to schools in response to covid-19. The conference included distance learning, special education, emergency grants and when schools can choose to open.
“Our campuses are closed to students. We want to be clear school is not closed. School is still in session,” Superintendent Thurmond said.
- Districts individually decide when to re-open campuses
- 1,000 districts surveyed for distance learning needs
- Community College students transferring to a four-year college will be able to have credit/no credit in lieu of a letter grade for the ‘Golden 4’ courses
- School funding under SB 117 has been allocated
- State Controller Office to release funds Monday April 6 to county treasurers
When will schools open?
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond addressed school re-open dates stating that school districts have been not been provided a directive, they have been provided information of what is likely to occur.
Legally it is up to the individual districts on when they decide to open their campuses to students.
“Respecting that decision, whether the school opens or not, is ultimately made at the local school district level. School boards will continue to make those decisions,” Thurmond said.
Superintendent Thurmond also touched on his letter sent out yesterday recommending schools continue to stay closed.
“Yesterday I issued a letter about the status of current school campuses. In that letter I gave a recommendation and urged districts to continue to treat our campus as unsafe for students to be on campus,” Thurmond said. “Prepare for the school year and remainder as if we need to do all of that through distance learning. We have not received any indication when it will be safe to return.”
Superintendent Thurmond believes all districts should focus on distance learning for the rest of the year.
Distance learning to continue the school year has been a deeply discussed topic for the California Department of Education.
“On the question of distance learning, the state has been deeply involved all way from beginning of this process,” Thurmond said.
Some solutions being talked about are using school buses as mobile hot spots and using a Google grant to distribute devices to those in need. The funding from SB 117 will also provide funds to meet distance learning needs.
Superintendent Thurmond said ” The state has given us a pathway to make this happen by providing full funding to districts so staff can be paid, we can provide additional resources to promote distance learning and to keep students safe.”
Special education services are expected to be maintained in full concerning student needs.
A webinar for distance learning and special needs is being hosted tomorrow with over 5,000 educators to glean insight and solutions.
“All services for students with disabilities will continue. We know this can be done. We’re working on how to do it,” Thurmond said, “We’re looking forward to tomorrows webinar with over 5,000 educators. We’re working with the federal government who said we have maximum flex to provide special education through distance learning.“
SB 117 School Funding
The California Department of Education will be issuing a press release later today with the exact funding amount and allocation provided through SB 117.
“Today we will be releasing a press release about the $100 million allocated in SB 117 as part of the emergency legislature. This includes list of LEA’s, districts, county offices and charter schools,” Thurmond said. “Will have the direct allocated amount being released today. The state controller office will release the funds to the county treasurers office on Monday, April 6.”
The emergency grants are meant to provide schools with PPE, distance learning tools, continuance in providing meals and cleaning.
“California has said were not ready to give up on our students. We think we owe it to everyone of our students to give it everything we have,” Superintendent Thurmond said.
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