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Article Coronavirus

Legislature passes three emergency coronavirus bills
Legislative Update

The California Legislature took emergency action yesterday and passed Senate Bill 117 to address several of the issues confronting schools and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 17 and two other emergency bills passed by the Legislature will take effect immediately. 

The CFT will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates from the California Legislature. 

Article Coronavirus

CFT introduces new bills, emergency legislative recess delays action
Legislative Update

The CFT was successful in introducing sponsored legislation for 2020. Our new bills address priority issues for the CFT, including providing affordable housing for public school employees, ensuring that school employees who are on extended medical leave receive full pay, requiring charter schools to participate in CalSTRS and CalPERS, and providing support for community college and University of California faculty.

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COVID-19: Union Toolkit for California Educators and Staff
Guidance for your personal health and official education updates by division

Find sections in our union toolkit with resources for preK-12 schools, community colleges, UC, retirement systems, and state labor agencies. We also include links to public health agencies.

Your Health

COVID-19 causes fever and lower respiratory illness — cough and difficulty breathing, resulting in pneumonia. You can find the best resources from state and federal public health organizations here. And the AFT has prepared a broad range of bulletins helpful to educators, staff and their families during the coronavirus pandemic. Use these union resources to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic — and share them with others. 

AFT Bulletins & Guidance

These AFT bulletins offer practical solid advice about coping with the pandemic, physically and mentally, and keeping you and your family safe. 

California Coronavirus Website

California Official Coronavirus Website
The state’s new public-friendly website dedicated to the coronavirus consolidates much information in one spot and offers countless practical resources. You will find information about how to stay healthy, links to worker relief programs such as unemployment and disability, and even a social media messaging toolkit. Website in Spanish also.

  • Watch the governor’s daily press conference at noon on Twitter, Facebook, and television, or listen to it on radio  (Monday-Saturday)

California Department of Public Health

California Department of Public Health
Guidance on how to protect yourselves from COVID-19, as well as personal health information regarding symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if you have symptoms. You can get daily updates and follow the spread of coronavirus in California by region and racial demographic to see how California is “flattening the curve.” Website in Spanish also.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In this rapidly evolving situation, the CDC is providing updated information and guidance as it becomes available. Find highly accessible information about about symptoms and care, limiting your exposure, use of face masks, and advice for daily living and coping. There is also extensive info for older adults who may be at higher risk for severe illness. Plus travel information and overall tracking of the outbreak nationwide.

HELPFUL DIRECT LINKS

BASIC PRINTABLES

World Health Organization

World Health Organization
The WHO is tracking the coronavirus outbreak worldwide. WHO is working 24/7 to analyze data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks. Find data by country, travel advisories, and a helpful Q&A.

PreK-12 Schools

Find summaries of the major actions from the California and U.S. Departments of Education with links to primary sources, as well as AFT bulletins and guidelines for preK-12 schools.

AFT Bulletins & Guidance

The AFT has compiled helpful information for educators that outline your rights at work regarding the coronavirus and other helpful topics.

SUPPORT STAFF

Rolling Updates

Below you will find summaries of the governor’s executive orders, guidance from the California Dept. of Education and the U.S. Dept. of Education, along with links to the primary source information. 

MAY 20

Education  Coalition says schools need more, not less, funding to reopen safely
California’s schools will not have enough money to safely reopen their doors to students under the governor’s proposed budget, the Education Coalition said on Wednesday. In an open letter to state policymakers, the group asked for resources to add staff and create a safe learning environment with smaller class sizes in line with social distancing guidelines, school disinfection and other needs “to open schools safely and on time.”

The Education Coalition comprises nine statewide K-12 education associations and unions, including the CFT, and provides consensus positions to protect the integrity of Proposition 98 and funding in the budget for K-12 public education. 

APRIL 28

California Teacher Credentialing Commission: COVID-19 Flexibility Provisions for Educator Preparation Programs
The commission took several actions at its April 23-24 meeting to provide flexibility more possible for educator preparation programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. These provisions are organized by program type in the comprehensive CTC memo below.

APRIL 23

Governor rolls back LCAP deadline for K-12 schools
Governor Newsom issued an executive order that extends the deadlines for districts and charter schools to submit Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), which are multi-year planning documents tied to budget projections. By law, LCAPs must be developed in collaboration with parents, students, teachers, and community groups to detail how districts will use state resources to improve student learning and narrow achievement gaps.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, school leaders are appropriately focused on managing the immediate needs of their students and families. 

Instead of submitting a three-year LCAP on July 1, districts will submit an update of COVID-19 related impacts on students and plans to address those impacts. They will be required to explain steps they have taken to deliver high-quality distance learning opportunities, provide school meals in non-congregate settings, and arrange for supervision of students during ordinary school hours. They will also be required to explain the steps they have taken to meet the needs low-income students, English learners, and foster youth. The report will help provide transparency and accountability to communities as intended in the LCAP. 

In the fall, districts and charter schools will work with stakeholders on abbreviated one-year LCAPs, with a deadline of December 15 for submission. The deadline for approval by a county superintendent or State Superintendent Thurmond is January 14, 2021. 

The governor’s executive order also waives required physical education minutes and annual physical fitness testing that requires on-site instruction. Academic assessments were previously waived under a separate order

APRIL 14

Governor talks about how schools might function when they reopen
Gov. Newsom describes changes like staggered classes and no assemblies. Ed Source sums up the governor’s daily press conference where he discussed when schools might reopen and the changes we might see.

APRIL 13

AFT’s state-by-state CARES Act apportionments
California will receive $15.321 billion from the federal stimulus CARES Act. Of that, $5.8 billion will be allocated to local governments in California with populations over 500,000. The CARES Act also includes an Education Stabilization Fund totaling $31 billion. See how that breaks out for California education below.

APRIL 8

State superintendent releases guidance on childcare for essential workers
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that the CDE and the California Department of Social Services have issued new guidance that will facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers, children at risk of abuse or neglect, and children with disabilities or special health care needs. The guidance was a requirement of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-45-20, issued on April 4.

The new guidance addresses how the essential worker prioritization will roll out, as well as how child care programs and providers can safely provide care. Specifically, the CDSS and the CDE will share data and information to identify students who may be eligible for the pandemic SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit, to reduce food insecurity and ensure children receive nutritious meals at low or no cost.

  • CDE guidance about child care and flexibility with the SNAP benefit
  • CDSS guidance about healthy and safe practices in child care settings

APRIL 1

Labor-Management Collaboration 
Labor organizations including the CFT, CTA, CSEA, SEIU, AFSCME, and the California Labor Federation met with school management organizations and the California Department of Education to provide an endorsed understanding of how locals and employers should collaborate in meeting the demands of the governor’s executive orders.

This framework should assist local unions and their employers come to agreements on how to move forward in cleaning school sites, providing distance learning options, pop-up child care and continued pay for all members in the K-12 school system — all stipulated in the governor’s executive order. The framework is a basic understanding of the cooperation needed between everyone at a school district to rise up to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, including how to work during the physical closure of school sites and how to comply with current CDE guidelines and state law. 

APRIL 1

More Key Guidance Memos 
The California Department of Education releases guidance on essential topics.

APRIL 1

Governor confirms that schools will be closed through the end of the year
In his daily press conference, Governor Newsom focuses on K-12 education. He  references Superintendent Thurmond’s memo to superintendents saying schools will likely not reopen this academic year, but that the goal is to increase the education occurring at home. Gov. Newsom has worked with labor to get comprehensive protocols to advance distance learning. In order to do that, the state needed private sector support.

Google stepped up in a partnership that will provide “100,000 points of access” to provide wifi and high-quality access to broadband internet for the next three months to address the digital divide. In addition, Google will be providing thousands of Chromebooks. And the governor thanks moms for the extraordinary work they are doing at home now, and offers his deep respect and admiration for the work of mothers.

Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, joined the press conference to say schools are continuing to provide education, but from home, where it is safe. Out of an abundance of caution, he has urged superintendents to educate our kids at home only through the end of this school year. “We urge these efforts to be accelerated by providing wifi and more training for our teachers,” Thurmond said. “Our campuses are closed to kids, but school is not out for year.”

Linda Darling-Hammond, the president of the State Board of Education, said almost every district is launching a distance learning program, with increased wifi connectivity and hot spots to allowing distance learning where needed. She said today the CDE will post guidance on graduation requirements and grading and that some districts are planning hold commencement ceremonies in the fall. The CDE will also issue a joint statement today about college admissions. The colleges have agreed to accept Pass/No Pass grading and have extended flexibility for payment, financial aid and more. Students will not have to take the SATs for admission.

  • Food distribution: The state received a waiver from the federal government that will allow more Grab-n-Go meals to reach students. Hammond said the CDE is  making sure as many students are being fed as possible. About 5,200 sites across the state are offering students Grab ‘N Go meals. 
  • Child care: A number of districts are setting up child care centers for kids of essential workers. Districts are organizing where they can to partner with other community organizations to provide this care.

MARCH 31

Thurmond issues memo to local superintendents saying schools likely to close for remainder of the year
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond sent a letter to superintendents throughout the state and the media stating that it “appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.” This is not a state Executive Order, but it is an expectation that all the schools will shut down.  

MARCH 20

U.S. Department of Education grants waiver for testing
The White House and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announce they will grant  a waiver to any state that wants one for the federal requirement to administer standardized tests this spring (that will include California). The White House also announced a freeze on student loan payments for 60 days.

MARCH 18

Governor issues executive order to suspend standardized testing
In response to COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Newsom issued an executive order today to waive, pending federal approval, this year’s statewide testing for California’s more than 6 million students in K-12 schools.

MARCH 17

Guidance for K-12 Schools from CDE 
This major guidance missive from the California Dept. of Education covers resources for distance learning, resources for distance learning, availability of school meals, child care and student supervision. Key points in this guidance are summarized below. The information at this links is constantly being updated. 

  1. Guidance for Distance Learning: The CDE guidance materials contain helpful resources including lessons from the field and suggestions for creating high-quality online curricula. 
  • Appendix 1 from the CDE guidance has a wide variety of resources that support distance learning from a number of subject areas.
  • Appendix 2 has lessons from the field, including  pedagogy and best practices for transitioning to online learning, and it addresses accessibility, content, tools and resources, infrastructure, and devices. 
  • Appendix 3 offers some useful recommendations for designing high-quality online courses. 
  1. Guidance for Students With Disabilities: This Q&A offers guidance for continuing to support students with disabilities. The document begins to address the responsibilities of the LEAs during periods of school closure and how to adapt IEPs to online or distance learning, if possible. 
  2. School Nutrition Guidance:  This framework for how school nutrition should be operationalized for non-congregate meals at school sites during COVID-19 school closures. Obviously this is a fluid situation and we will need to work together to continue to keep students fed.  Superintendent Thurmond also announced that the CA Meals for Kids” mobile app has been updated to help students and their families find meals during school closures related to COVID-19. 
  3. Child Care Guidance: In a time of school closures, schools are required, as much as possible, to arrange for the supervision of students during regular school hours, and the California Health & Human Services has provided guidance for childcare and student supervision in the event of a school closure. The HHS document includes recommendations for families, for LEAs, and for subsidized childcare providers.

MARCH 16

CFT Legislative Update – Emergency Legislation Passed
Senate Bill 117 is a budget bill for K-12 schools that took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature on March 17.  SB 117 does the following things:

  1. Provides $100 million to school districts for the purchase of personal protective equipment, and/or pay for supplies and labor related to cleaning school sites.
  2. Provides full ADA for schools even if they are closed due to coronavirus to ensure that employees and contractors are compensated and paid during the time that a school is closed due to the coronavirus.
  3. Waives the required instructional days and minutes.
  4. Provides a 45-day extension for schools to administer ELL assessments.
  5. Extends the testing window for the CAASPP (and the physical performance test) by the length of time a school is closed or until the end of the testing window.
  6. Extends the timeline by which schools have to develop an assessment plan to determine if a student has exceptional needs from 15 days after the referral to an additional number of days that the school is closed up until the school reopens and the regular school session reconvenes.
  7. Provides full ADA for after-school programs that are closed due to the coronavirus.
  8. Waives attendance and reporting requirements for state-subsidized childcare and development programs to ensure the continuity of payments.

MARCH 13

Governor signs executive order ensuring state funding for schools in event of closure
The order intends to assure parents and education employees that the state will provide support in the event of school closures. It calls on the Legislature to immediately address key issues and for specific state agencies to develop and provide guidance. The following provisions were included in the governor’s executive order.

  • If a Local Educational Agency closes its schools to address COVID-19, the state will continue to receive state funding to support the following during the period of closure:
  1. Continue delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students to the extent feasible through, among other options, distance learning and/or independent study;
  2. Provide school meals in non-congregate settings through the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option;
  3. Arrange for, to the extent practicable, supervision for students during ordinary school hours; and
  4. Continue to pay its employees
  • If an LEA closes its schools to address COVID-19, the LEA is not prohibited from offering distance learning or independent study to impacted students.
  • For LEAs that initiate a school closure to address COVID-19, the closure shall qualify as a condition that prevents the maintenance of the LEA’s schools during a fiscal year for at least 175 days. (This provision eliminates the days and minutes requirement.)
  • The California Department of Education and the Health and Human Services shall jointly develop and issue guidance by March 17. The guidance shall include, but not be limited to, the following topics:
  1. Implementing distance learning strategies and addressing equity and access issues that may arise due to differential access to internet connectivity and technology;
  2. Ensuring students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education consistent with their individualized education program and meeting other requirements under IDEA; and
  3. Providing meals to be served in non-congregate settings at school and non-school sites in a manner that protects the safety of both students and school personnel, including classified employees.
  • The Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Health and Human Services shall jointly develop and issue guidance by March 17 covering how to support parents to care for their children during ordinary school hours in the event of a school closure.
  • The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development shall work with the California business community to encourage employers to exercise flexibility in the event of a school closure to enable parents to care for their children during ordinary school hours.

MARCH 7

California Department of Public Health — Guidance for PreK-12 Schools
This bulletin is prepared by the California Department of Public Health in consultation with the California Department of Education. This document is intended to be statewide guidance to help both school and public health officials inform their decisionmaking.

California Department of Education

  • The CDE’s Covid-19 landing page contains major directives, guidance memos and comprehensive resources related to schools and the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the suspension of statewide testing; state funding for schools while closed; obtaining internet access for all students; a message from the state Director of Special Education; and a framework for Labor-Management Collaboration when dealing with COVID-19. There contains webinars on guidance for educators, schools and districts in dealing with COVID-19.

Community Colleges

Find summaries of the major actions from Chancellor’s Office with links to primary sources, as well as AFT bulletins and guidelines for higher education.

AFT Bulletins & Guidance

The AFT has compiled helpful information that outlines basic guidance for union members working in higher education.

SUPPORT STAFF

Rolling Updates

APRIL 29 

Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Summary
Chancellor Oakley thanked everyone who participated in last week’s Community College Advocacy Day, which was attended by over 2,000 people. Also April was “Community College Month,” and Oakley thanked everyone in the system for the great work they are doing. 

The chancellor reminded attendees that life as we know it will be different, and while social distancing continues, the colleges will continue to improve the online education platform. At the same time, the Chancellor’s Office has developed a task force to ensure safe return to campuses. It will examine and suggest policies on social distancing to protect students and staff regarding cleanliness and expand efforts to adapt to student-faculty-staff needs. Daily Covid-19 updates from the communications unit will continue . 

  • The “Stay Enrolled Campaign” has 8 million digital and social media impressions. Student news organizations will hold another teleconference with Chancellor Oakley during the second week of May. The Chancellor’s office has secured funding to provide captioning requirements and services for disabled students.  
  • Regarding the CARES Act, on April 9, the U.S. Secretary of Education announced $6 billion of the $13.95 billion total would be distributed immediately to provide direct emergency cash grants to students. Colleges must have completed the Certificate of Agreement to obtain funds. California is expected to receive $354.5 million in CARES Act funding for K-12 and higher education. The unfortunate and disappointing news: Many disadvantaged student populations were left out, such as undocumented students, or undercounted, including part-time and CTE students.  

Executive Orders issued in the past week

Works in Progress: Dual Enrollment/Middle College, Work Study for Credit Students, Financial Aid, 67% Part-Time, etc.  

APRIL 15

Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Summary
Chancellor Oakley began the weekly webinar by thanking all community college employees and students. “The work that we do is incredibly important,” he said. ”We educate the first responders that are currently saving lives.”

Oakley requested participation in next week’s Board of Governors Virtual Advocacy Day (April 22 from 9 am to 10:30 am). Virtual Advocacy Day is a tele-townhall and takes the place of the chancellor’s weekly webinar.

The chancellor announced the launch of Spanish marketing outreach for the new student campaign, “Stay Enrolled, Succeed Online.” And he called out his op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune: Don’t let California’s Community College system be devastated by the coronavirus recession.

Update on Board of Registered Nursing clinical hours

  • Waivers on 75% nursing clinical hours in patient care
  • New clinical setting must be approved by a Nurse Education Consultant
  • Written agreements for clinical sites no longer required
  • Mental health/psychiatric nursing, obstetrics, and pediatrics 75% direction patient care clinical hours reduced to 50%. 

CalWORKs Program: Governor’s Executive Order N-29-20

  • Suspends all state law requiring redetermination of CalWORKs recipients for 90 days
  • Suspends any month or partial month from counting against the 48-month time limit
  • Federal time limits remain in effect and may impact student eligibility 
  • SB 117 ensures the continuity of payments for subsidized childcare programs during the COVID-19 emergency
  • Child Development Centers may claim CalWORKs childcare reimbursements for up to 30 days
  • Providers serving families utilizing CalWORKs states One, Two, or Three must be reimbursed using the most recent monthly invoice, or attendance record, or total certified authorizations both part-time and full-time.

CARES Act Update – The federal stimulus

Institutional awards are calculated using 75% of full-time enrollment of Pell recipients at an institution and 25% of institutional award is calculated using full-time enrollment of non-Pell recipients. (Students who were exclusively online prior to the pandemic are not included in this calculation.)

  • Total funds for California Community Colleges: $579,679,078
  • Funds for Emergency Assistance to Students: $289,839,564
  • Funds for Assistance to Colleges: $289,839,514
  • Distribution of first half allocation of $6 billion CARES Act dollars is designed for emergency assistance to students.
  • Funds will go directly to institutions through the Title IV distribution system. 
  • Provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students.
  • Colleges must complete a Certificate of Agreement and submit it to U.S. Department of Education.

For more information, visit the Chancellor’s Office website.

Webinars will be recorded and posted online here​.

APRIL 13

AFT prepares state-by-state CARES Act apportionments
California will receive $15.321 billion from the federal stimulus CARES Act. Of that, $5.8 billion will be allocated to local governments in California with populations over 500,000. The CARES Act also includes an Education Stabilization Fund totaling $31 billion. See how that breaks out for California education below.

APRIL 8

Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Summary
Chancellor Oakley began the weekly webinar by thanking his staff for finally reaching an agreement with the Board of Registered Nursing on clinical hours waiver and flexibility. This flexibility is only effective during the current crisis. He also thanked faculty for the great job they are all doing transitioning their courses to online, and said the key word moving forward will be “resiliency.” This crisis has exposed a lot of challenges, he said, but we will overcome because we are resilient.

The Chancellor’s Office announced a new guidance memo and two new campaigns:

On other topics, the chancellor:

  • is asking districts and individuals to focus on cybersecurity as phishing and spoofing attempts continue to escalate;
  • highlighted San Diego Community College District for successfully launching online counseling office hours;
  • is asking organizations to sign on to a joint letter seeking continued financial support from the state in regards to the upcoming “workload budget”;
  • proudly reported that emergency direct aid grants for students were fully subscribed;  
  • is asking people to subscribe to the Chancellor’s Office daily COVID-19 Special Updates by emailing Communications@CCCCO.edu or signing up on the website.
  • Join next Wednesday’s webinar at 9 am here. 

APRIL 1

Key Guidance Memos Between K-12 Schools and Higher Ed
The California Department of Education issues joint statement letters with CA higher education systems to help high school and community college students to overcome university admissions and placement challenges due to suspension of in-person instruction.

APRIL 1

Chancellor’s Office – Weekly  Summary
Chancellor Oakley covered a range of topics. First, he asked all colleges to apply flexibility and equity when it comes to the new grading policy, and said the new Pass/No Pass grading policy is intended to allow students to continue their education. The chancellor is urging everyone to spread the word about on completing the U.S. Census. Participating in the census is one of the ways we can ensure that the community colleges get their fair share. The College Futures Foundation has established a $5 million fund to provide $500 in direct assistance to community college, CSU, and UC students (some terms apply). The Academic Senate is organizing professional development and training webinars for faculty, including a segment on how to run an effective “Academic Senate Meetings on your Campus.”  

  • The Chancellor’s Office continues to work on the issues below:
  • Temporary distance education blanket addendum
  • Impact of FON penalties on districts
  • 67 percent rule for part-time faculty
  • Implementing flexibility with the Board of Registered Nursing
  • Reporting deadlines and extensions on grants and programs
  • Dual enrollment/middle college
  • Work Study for credit students
  • Grades relevant to financial aid and attendance accounting

MARCH 30

Chancellor issues new guidance memo for distance learning
New guidance memo outlines technology resources available to educators
This new guidance memo provides information for colleges to understand the technology resources and applications available through the Chancellor’s Office partnership with the Foundation for California Community Colleges and California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI)

MARCH 27

Chancellor issues Executive Order about grading policies, pass/no pass requirement
The chancellor has issued a new Executive Order (2020-02) and accompanying guidance memo about course grading. It suspends title 5, section 55022, requirement that students select the “pass or no pass” grading option prior to the 30 percent mark of the term.

MARCH 25

Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Summary
Chancellor Oakley opened by reassuring colleges that student fee refunds will be available. For example, students who drop courses can seek a full refund and colleges can also request full refunds for dropped students. As of March 25, the Chancellor’s Office is: 

  • looking into asking Congress to consider temporary relief due to the emergency;
  • reviewing Title 4 statutory and regulatory provisions, and working on CalWORKS issues;
  • working with the Board of Registered Nursing to address the graduation requirements for “Clinical Hours in Direct Patient Care.”

For faculty, the Chancellor’s Office is addressing issues regarding “hard-to-convert” courses, and reviewing courses that are difficult to transition into an online format. It is also reviewing the overall viability of course completion, and its decision to cancel or keep those courses will be based on Vision for Success and the immediate impact on local communities. 

MARCH 23

Chancellor’s Office issues more significant COVID-19 guidance memos

MARCH 23 

Chancellor signs executive orders — providing for online teaching, student protections 
Chancellor Oakley announced a series of actions, including through executive order, to help ensure that teaching and learning continues at all 115 community colleges and that students are not penalized academically or financially due to the COVID-19 crisis. In specific, the chancellor:

  • has provided the ability for all colleges to convert in-person classes to online;
  • signed an executive order that suspends state and local regulations to ensure students are not penalized academically and will more easily be able to receive refunds for enrollment fees;
  • launched a new online Q&A for students

Chancellor’s office to hold Zoom calls every Wednesday at 9 am
Moving forward, the chancellor will host weekly webinars every Wednesday from 9-10 a.m. Capacity has been expanded and you are encouraged to join the webinars. The webinars will be recorded and available following the event.

MARCH 20

Recording of Chancellor’s Office first webinar 
In this first call, the Chancellor’s Office assured stakeholders that FTES funding will continue to be protected under Title 5, section 58146, and that colleges will not lose funding this year due to the COVID-19 emergency. The Chancellor’s Office will issue a memo soon clarifying the Title 5 regulations regarding the funding guarantee. The chancellor also discussed student financial aid issues, access, and support on the call.

Chancellor’s Office Website

California Dept. of Health Bulletin

  • Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education This bulletin is prepared by the California Department of Public Health for institutions of higher education in California. This document is intended to be statewide guidance to help both college and public health officials inform their decision making.

UC

Find links to primary sources here, as well as AFT bulletins and guidelines for higher education.

AFT Bulletins & Guidance

The AFT has compiled helpful information that outlines basic guidance for union members working in higher education.

Rolling Updates

Visit the UC-AFT resources page to find key information for lecturers and librarians. You will find UC leave policies, union bargaining updates, as well as a helpful Q&A about the transition to online teaching and distance learning resources. 

APRIL 13

AFT analysis of CARES Act apportionment for California
California will receive $15.321 billion from the federal stimulus CARES Act. Of that, $5.8 billion will be allocated to local governments in California with populations over 500,000. The CARES Act also includes an Education Stabilization Fund totaling $31 billion. See how that breaks out for California education below.

University of California

  • How UC is responding to COVID-19 — guidance for campuses, current press releases, a helpful glossary of terms, and rolling updates. Sign up for COVID-19 updates from UC. 

Retirement Systems

Find a summary of key information released by CalSTRS and CalPERS and links to more information and primary sources. 

CalSTRS Website

  • CalSTRS Covid-19 landing page includes info about service creditin circumstance of school closure, CalSTRS efforts to safeguard its pension funds, plus continuity of pension checks and related issues. 

Rolling Updates

APRIL 1 

Video message from CalSTRS CEO
Long-time CEO Jack Ehnes (who was postponed his retirement due to the coronavirus pandemic) sums up current CalSTRS operation and answers the most frequently asked questions — about service credit and for teachers retiring this year.

MARCH 25

CalSTRS operations during COVID-19
Read this blog post to learn about your retirement benefits payment and direct deposit, as well as an update CalSTRS operation due to office closures and ongoing member inquiries by telephone,

MARCH 16

CalSTRS Circular  Effects of School Closures Due to COVID-19
There’s no adverse impact to a member’s service credit, as long as the district continues to pay employees during school closures.

CalPERS Resources

Rolling Updates

APRIL 10

CalPERS Stakeholder Letter
There are no changes to processes related to retirement checks. However, CalPERS has been notified by the State Controller that direct deposit statements will not be printed and mailed to retirees until further notice. This is important to note because the May 1 retirement checks will include changes due to annual COLAs. Retirees should reference their direct deposit statements that are available online through their myCalPERS accounts. 

A few members are being denied care from CalPERS health plans for pre-existing conditions due to impacted resources related to COVID-19. Members should not be denied care. The CalPERS Health Team is in touch with its health plans to ensure that members are receiving the care needed. 

APRIL 1

CalPERS Circular
The April 1 retirement checks were successfully paid to members on time. The state Controller’s Office is not printing and mailing direct deposit statements; statements are available online through your myCalPERS account.

Some employers are beginning to offer early retirement incentives and members have questions about the process for retirement with our headquarters and regional offices remain closed. Please apply for retirement online through your myCalPERS account. There is an instructional video to walk you through the process. Phone calls to the Contact Center remain at lower than normal levels, but members should expect longer wait times at peak hours.

About 78 percent of the CalPERS workforce is working remotely (with its closure date is extended to April 30), but CalPERS operations are running well despite the circumstances.

MARCH 18

CalPERS Circular
The governor’s March 12 executive order, among other things, suspends reinstatement and the retired annuitant work-hour limitation of 960 hours per fiscal year during the state of emergency. Any hours worked by a retired annuitant to ensure adequate staffing during the state of emergency will not be counted toward the 960-hour limit for the fiscal year.

Worker Support

California — Official State Coronavirus Website 
The state’s new public-friendly website is dedicated to the coronavirus. It contains information about how to stay healthy and consolidates key information for workers such as unemployment benefits. 

California Employment Development Department
Concise update from the EDD about sickness, quarantine, caregiving, potential closure or reduced work hours and the type of assistance you can receive. Find claim links for the situations outlined below.

  • If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a State Disability Insurance claim.
  • If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance claim.
  • If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, you can file a Paid Family Leave claim

California Labor & Workforce Development Agency
State information for workers consolidated with a helpful table comparing benefits for workers. 

Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers 
Workplace safety and health regulations in California require employers to protect workers exposed to airborne infectious diseases such as the coronavirus. 

For Union Leaders

The CFT and AFT are committed to providing affiliates with the information needed to protect our members and the communities they serve. 

School & College Closure and Union Contracts

The CFT is providing advice to local union leaders for when a school, worksite, district, or college is closed because of the coronavirus threat. 

  • Local union leaders: The CFT has prepared Memorandum of Understanding templates regarding the coronavirus, school closure, and employee rights. There are separate templates for K-12 and higher education in California.
  • To obtain these templates, please email CFT Training Director Zev Kvitky

AFT Bulletins for Union Leaders

The AFT has prepared guidance documents for making information requests and to understand the work of “essential employees.” Find links to these documents below; they are automatically updated as the AFT updates them. 

Guidance about Essential Employees

Information Requests to Employers + More

Public Employment Relations Board Operation

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) is the quasi-judicial administrative agency charged with administering the eight collective bargaining statutes covering employees of the state’s public schools, colleges, and universities.

Although PERB has closed its offices, PERB employees are performing their duties via telework and will continue to accept email, U.S. mail, and facsimile filings.

Union Websites to Watch

  • AFT: Watch for new information from our national affiliate
  • California Labor FederationTracking the state response, food bank locations and much more 
  • AFL-CIOTracking the federal response

The CFT campaign to Fund our Future

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

In 2011, the CFT worked with community partners to lead the charge for a Millionaires Tax that eventually turned into Prop 30 and was then extended by Prop 55. Those funds helped stop the bleeding in K-14 education following the recession and drastic funding cuts of the mid-2000s.

Now, however, there are pressures throughout our school districts and community colleges that are preventing CFT members from getting the pay, benefits, program funding, and staffing levels our schools, colleges, and communities desperately need.

Article Lecturers

Thousands of UC lecturers mobilize for job rights, fair salaries
Academic and blue collar workforce fight back against university’s substandard pay

When Josh Brahinsky isn’t teaching “Academic Literacy and Ethos” and “Brain, Mind, and Consciousness” classes to new students at UC Santa Cruz, the lecturer is researching bio-cultural anthropology at Stanford University, teaching at San Jose State, or leading online classes at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania.

“UC only pays me $19,900 yearly,” Brahinsky said. “That’s not enough to live on, so I have to make up the difference somewhere else.”

Article Online College

Has Calbright lost its legislative support?
Senators take online college to task in February 13 hearing

It may have taken over two years, but the Calbright online community college has apparently lost any support it might have enjoyed in the state Legislature when the CFT first warned about the potential for failure. In December 2017, Jim Mahler, president of the CFT Community College Council, sent a seminal letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Calbright’s main promoter, pointing out key flaws in its proposed structure.

Article Special Education

Special education in crisis
CFT SPECIAL REPORT

Marcela Chagoya, a special education teacher in Los Angeles and chair of the CFT Special Education Committee, has been teaching at the same middle school for 21 years. And she’s never seen special education in such a bad state.

“First and foremost, it’s the elimination of programs,” she said. “Districts seem to think it’s one size fits all or fits most when it comes to special ed.”

Article

Nominate your classified colleagues for national and state recognition
AFT helps in creation of new national RISE award

“Recognizing the work we do has been a long time coming,” said Carl Williams, president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees.

The “unsung heroes” of education have continued to enjoy new levels of respect since California first proclaimed Classified School Employee Week in 1969. This year’s weeklong celebration will be from May 17 to 23, but staff and paraeducators may also be recognized through a series of national, state and local awards.

Retirees are leaving their mark on 2020 elections
Seniors work on local and statewide measures

For more than four decades, California corporations have evaded their fair share of commercial property taxes, leaving our schools with some of the most overcrowded classrooms and worst ratios of students to counselors, librarians, and nurses in the nation.

Schools and Communities First will close those property tax loopholes in 1978’s Proposition 13 — without affecting homeowners or renters — and channel more than $12 billion per year to local schools, community colleges and other vital services.

Article Elections 2020

CFT members participate in Presidential Public Education Forum
Educators travel across the country to meet candidates in person

As we knew it would be, the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential Election is both an exciting and overwhelming time for voters. We are bombarded with articles, polls, social media, and headlines about the candidates.

Amid all the hype, it isn’t often that CFT members get the opportunity to see the presidential candidates in person and hear their perspectives on the issues we think about every day.