Rolling Updates

Post

Education Headlines
Quick takes on the COVID-19 news that matters for educators and staff

The CFT is posting relevant stories for educators and staff here as they come out — from the CFT, AFT and AFL-CIO; the governor; the California Department of Education; the Community College Chancellor’s Office; and the general media. In addition, you can find in our COVID-19 resources:

July 13 | LA Unified to continue 100% distance learning this fall

Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school system ,will continue with online learning until further notice because of the worsening coronavirus surge.

As COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket in Los Angeles County, the district said it could not protect the health and safety of half a million students and some 60,000 employees.

This decision comes on the heels of an informal online poll undertaken by the 33,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT Local 1021. In the short timespan of only 12 hours, 83 percent of teacher members responded that LAUSD should not physically reopen schools and to refocus on distance learning.

“In March, UTLA called on LAUSD officials to close schools in light of the growing urgency of the COVID health crisis, and they closed them,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said. “It was the right thing to close school campuses then, and it’s the right thing to keep them closed now. In the face of the alarming spike in COVID cases, the lack of necessary funding from the government to open schools safely, and the outsized threat of death faced by working class communities of color, there really is no other choice that doesn’t put thousands of lives at risk.”

With the district’s decision, the focus now turns to bargaining with LAUSD to negotiate the terms of remote learning, which will need to be collaborative and productive in order to ensure a robust and strong remote learning program. The next bargaining session between LAUSD and UTLA is this Thursday.

In this time of crisis, Myart-Cruz said, educators must continue to lead with parents, students and the community.

“We must continue to take bold action together to build well-funded schools with the necessary conditions to protect everyone’s health; robust student supports, including increased mental health and academic services; and resources for hard-hit communities so they can survive this crisis, such as income replacement and rent and mortgage forgiveness,” Myart-Cruz said.

June 25 | CFT publishes checklist for safe reopening of schools, colleges

The CFT does not encourage the physical reopening of school sites until it is safe to do so. At a minimum, the CFT recommends coordination with state and local public health guidelines on every checklist item in this document to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

A Checklist for Safely Reopening Schools and Colleges identifies the growing number of issues that should be addressed prior to the physical reopening of a school district through a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between the local union and the district.

June 22 | Agreement reached on state budget

The governor and the California Legislature reached agreement on a state budget that promises to preserve funding for schools and colleges. More details will be forthcoming.

“Our state’s leaders must place California children ahead of the state’s billionaires. In fact, billionaires have only continued to profit as the most vulnerable Californians suffer from a global pandemic and economic downturn. While this budget prevents the worst cuts in the short term, it still puts our students and our communities at risk. As teachers and classified professionals we will continue to demand the revenues our students need to succeed.” — Jeff Freitas, CFT President

June 19 | UpFront with Freitas, Weingarten on Facebook

On Juneteenth, CFT President Jeff Freitas talks with AFT President Randi Weingarten on Facebook Live. #BlackLivesMatter

June 18 | All Californians asked to wear face masks

To prevent a surge in coronavirus cases, the governor in conjunction with public health officials asked all Californians to wear masks in public, with a few exceptions. 

June 12 | UpFront with CFT President on Facebook Live

CFT President Jeff Freitas talks with CFT Secretary Treasurer on Facebook Live. 

June 8 | CDE releases guidance for reopening schools

Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools

This guidance was created through the statewide reopening schools task force that fostered a collaborative process for educators and stakeholders to lend their important voices. Also informed by the technical assistance and advice of many health and safety organizations including the Centers for Disease Control, California Department of Public Health, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the intent of this document is to be a guide for the local discussion on safely reopening schools.

June 5 | Community College Chancellor’s Call to Action

More than 69 percent of California Community College students identify with one or more ethnic groups — this means the system serves the most diverse student populations in all of higher education. On Wednesday, the Chancellor’s Office hosted a “Call to Action” webinar. Chancellor Oakley and system leaders called for our system to actively strategize and take action against structural racism. In this webinar, Chancellor Oakley called for action across six key areas that will require their own work plan. 

June 3 | Governor makes safe voting possible for all

At the urging of CFT and other unions and election advocates, today Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order ensuring Californians can exercise their right to vote in a safe, secure and accessible manner during the upcoming election.

Recognizing the threat COVID-19 continues to pose to public health, the governor last month signed an executive order requiring county elections officials to send vote-by-mail ballots to Californians registered to vote in the General Election, while also ensuring in-person access for those who need it.

The new executive order ensures in-person voting opportunities are available in sufficient numbers to maintain physical distancing. It requires counties to provide three days of early voting starting the Saturday before election day and requires ballot drop-box locations be available between October 6 and November 3, while also allowing counties to consolidate voting locations, with at least one voting location per 10,000 registered voters.

June 1 | George Floyd killing sparks worldwide protests 

Just as states are beginning to reopen, George Floyd, a black resident of St. Louis Park, Minn. Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a local police officer’s knee, and later died. Following the incident, all four police officers involved were fired. One officer has been charged with third degree murder. 

Protests have erupted worldwide in reaction to this racial injustice. The labor movement continues to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality.

May 28 | Education Coalition calls for funding solution

The Education Coalition, comprising the nine statewide K-12 education associations that work closely to advocate for the six million students in California’s public schools and colleges, urged California’s lawmakers to adopt a funding solution to the COVID-19-related budget crisis in the June budget. The group said that without adequate funding, schools cannot open on time safely.

Under the governor’s proposed budget, a 10 percent cut ($6.5 billion) to the Local Control Funding Formula equates to:

  • Cutting $1,230 per student, or
  • Cutting $21,667 per classroom, or
  • Increasing class sizes by 19%, or
  • Laying off more than 57,600 teachers, or
  • Laying off more than 125,000 education support professionals.

The group announced that preparing each classroom, library, gym, lunchroom, and school bus for the safe return of students, teachers, and staff will require significant resources and planning. Without adequate funding, this will not be feasible, even after public health officials provide guidance and clearance, given the additional staff needed and associated increased costs.

“We are here today to speak as one voice to unequivocally say to our elected leaders in Sacramento – Our schools cannot safely reopen with the proposed cuts to public education,” said Jeff Freitas, president of the CFT. 

May 27 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Summary

Chancellor Oakley opened by asking community college personnel to remind their communities to fill out the census — and to vote in this year’s election. 

Governor’s May Revision of state budget

  • The community college system will see a $1.5 billion decrease in overall funding compared to the January proposed budget. By comparison, the Great Recession, which devastated the community college system, also endured $1.5 billion in cuts, but it was over a span of five years. 
  • Oakley reiterated that this budget process will be very quick so it’s important to send a unified message. Stakeholders will likely have limited opportunities to provide public input. 
  • The system is thinking about ways to mitigate cuts to student support services so that it can avoid big changes to the system. 
  • The community colleges are likely to be fully online or partially online in the foreseeable future. 

Recent guidance issued

  • The chancellor’s Executive Order 2020-07 was recently released to temporarily suspend Title 5 regulations, allowing an expanded use of classroom instructions. 

Recovery and social media advocacy

  • Continue to share community college stories. For example, 7 in 10 California nurses receive their training at the community colleges. 
  • The Chancellor’s Office is encouraging stakeholders to become active in social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and to use the following hashtags:
    • #CACommunityColleges
    • #SupportCCCEducation
    • #CCCStrongforCalifornia
    • #CAHigherEd
    • #CommunityCollege
    • #CAWorkforce
    • #CAleg
    • #CAbudget
    • #truecostofcollege

May 22 | Up Front with CFT President Jeff Freitas

CFT President Jeff Freitas gives a shout out to the union’s support staff members during Classified School Employee Appreciation Week and speaks to the meaning of Memorial Day. 

May 20 | Education Coalition demands safe reopen

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. 

May 14 | Governor releases state budget May Revision

Proposed 10 percent cut in K-12 schools and community colleges will hurt students and threaten economic recovery

Here are the key points.

  • There has been a 23 percent cut in state revenue in the last 100 days.
  • Last year’s state budget allocated $81.8 billion for education.
  • The May Revision released today allocates $70.5 billion — a 13 percent decrease.
  • The governor proposes a whopping 10 percent cut to eduction to help make up the $15.1 billion shortfall. 
    • 10 percent reduction across the board to the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula
    • Across-the-board reductions to categoricals — minus special education
    • 10 percent cut to the community colleges Student-Centered Funding Formula
    • 10 percent base cut to CSUs and UC

The May Revise also shifts around funds:

  • The share of Prop 98 will increase to 40 percent of the state’s General Fund
  • $4.4 billion from the federal CARES Act will be directed to learning loss. The governor said these funds could possibly go to extending the school year, summer school, or other options to make up learning loss.
  • Another $1.6 billion more in federal money will be directed to Proposition 98.
  • $2.3 billion currently directed to CalSTRS and CalPERS to pay down pension obligations will be redirected to address the immediacy of the public education system, split over two years.

“You start adding this up, we’re north of $10 billion,” said Gov. Newsom. “But we will need to get the federal government to do more in terms of education. No one has been hiding that it’s a very discouraging moment.”

May 13 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Update

  • The Chancellor’s Office issued no new guidance memos or executive orders this week, but more are coming in the next two weeks.
  • The California Community Colleges sued U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos because the U.S. Dept. of Education has arbitrarily excluded as many as 800,000 community college students from the benefits of the CARES Act. The California community colleges alone serve an estimated 70,000 undocumented students, many of whom have DACA status. Several California districts joined in the lawsuit including Foothill/De Anza, Los Rios, San Diego, and State Center. The Chancellor’s Office has established a DACA communications tool kit. Find the toolkit here. 
  • The chancellor shared examples from three colleges of the challenges and successes regarding taking programs/courses online: 1) Skyline College – Cosmetology Program: 2) Madera Community College Center – LVN to RN Bridge Program; 3) Foothill College – Radiologic Technology Program.
  • Works in Progress, still: Dual Enrollment/Middle College, Veterans Student Resources and Programs, Part-Time 67 percent Law, Distance Education Plans.
  • For more information, please refer to the archived webinar for today’s call and others available here
  • There will be no weekly webinar next week (May 20). They will reconvene on May 27. 

May 11 | AFT moves biennial Convention online

The AFT announced that its biennial convention during this presidential election year will be moved online. Also, the Convention dates were slightly changed from July 27-30 to to July 28-30. 

May 8 | CA voters to receive mail ballots for November 3

Governor issues executive order requiring all voters to receive Vote-By-Mail ballots for November 3 General Election

Governor Newsom issued an executive order requiring each county’s elections officials to send vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election to all registered voters. Californians who may need access to in-person voting opportunities — including individuals with disabilities, individuals who speak languages other than English, individuals experiencing homelessness, and others — will still be able to access in-person voting opportunities.

May 7 | CFT responds to budget shortfall projections

CFT Press Release

The California Department of Finance released a memo today that projects the state budget will have a shortfall of $54 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To put that amount in perspective, during the 2009 recession, the state shortfall was $21.4 billion.

In his daily press conference, Governor Newsom called on the federal government to provide relief for California. CFT, in conjunction with the AFT, has done the same.

Newsom reiterated that the shortfall is due to the pandemic and not mismanagement. Just 90 days ago, when the governor releases his budget proposal for 2020-21, the state projected a $6 billion surplus. And one year ago California had a $21.4 billion surplus.

“We are not alone,” Newsom said. “Every state in the nation will be struggling. California is not different. What is different is that our economy is the fifth largest in the nation. And we are better positioned to deal with this shortfall, better than in the past even.”

Referring to the state’s historic surplus before the pandemic, he said, “We are proud of the work we’ve done, and the work of former Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature. But this is bigger than anything we’ve ever seen. We cannot do it alone. This moment will require a historic partnership with the federal government.”

The governor lauded Californians who have helped to “flatten the curve,” and called out extraordinary front line workers, including educators. ”Just ask our teachers who are doing distance learning, and who are doing it heroically, shifting almost overnight.”

May 6 | Workers’ Comp for workers who get COVID-19

Workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation

Governor Newsom issued an executive order that will make it easier for essential workers who contract COVID-19 to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. The order adds a vital layer of protection for essential workers who are putting their lives at risk during the pandemic. It will allow frontline workers to access healthcare and other benefits from workers’ compensation without costly delays that could endanger their health.

May 6 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly Summary

  • Chancellor Oakley will provide his State of the College Address during the Board of Governors meeting scheduled for May 18-19.
  • The Stay Enrolled, Succeed Online student campaign has been effective with thousands of social media hits and connects everyday. Student news organizations will hold a teleconference with the chancellor on May 12 at 2 pm.
  • Direct emergency aid to students: The California Promise Program, CalWORKS, and Rising Scholars are currently available to support students during this difficult time. EOPS, MESA, Student Equity & Achievement are also available to students who demonstrate financial. Some programs are flexible, but others have certain conditions or requirements.
  • Flexible calendar obligations: The Chancellor’s Office understands that schedules have changed due to the current situation but asks that colleges document all changes, such as adding flex days, for auditing purposes. Flex time is not required but must be approved if used. For more information, email the Chancellor’s Office.
  • ASCCC Professional Development: The Faculty Leadership Institute will be a virtual event held June 17-19. Curriculum Institute Week is July 6-10, and the Academic Academy is October 8-10.

New memos coming

  • Method for Emergency Condition Allowances will be released today.  
  • SEARS Data & Local Cost of Attendance
  • Second Principal Apportionment: P2 is currently being calculated and adjusted.  

For more information

May 1 | CFT President on International Workers Day

Up Front with CFT President Jeff Freitas

Watch Up Front with CFT President Jeff Freitas, who is live on Facebook Fridays at 3 pm. This week Freitas honors International Workers Day. 

May 1 | UC-AFT launches Virtual Picket on May Day

Join the UC-AFT Virtual Picket

UC President Janet Napolitano has pledged no layoffs for essential workers through June 30 — and has been silent on what happens after. Knowing that COVID-19 will continue to threaten our communities long after that date, UC-AFT knows that students need faculty to be there for them, whether it’s online or on campus.

UC-AFT is demonstrating its commitment to teaching with resilience and compassion no matter the challenges. On May 1, UC-AFT launched an action for job security, and invited all UC workers and allies to join them. A “virtual picket” shows a mosaic of faces and stories to recreate the experience of standing up together. It will be publicized in traditional media and social media. Join the picket in support of UC-AFT faculty!

May 1 | Governor honors International Workers Day

On International Workers Day, Governor Newsom today recognized the contributions and sacrifice of California’s essential workforce, including health care workers, farmworkers, grocery workers, teachers, classified employees, caregivers and countless others keeping the state operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This May Day is particularly special as we recognize essential workers who go to work every day to ensure that Californians are cared for in our hospitals and nursing homes and in their own home, and that we can all access essential services like food, child care and utilities during this challenging time,” said Governor Newsom.

“At the same time, many California workers have been displaced and are struggling to get by. Today we thank our essential workers and let those who have been displaced by this virus know that we see you, we appreciate you, and we have your backs.”

The governor highlighted the extensive list of state resources available, many through executive order, for essential workers and resources for those who may have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

April 30 | AFT releases plan to reopen schools

The AFT  has released a detailed road map that, in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, charts a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.

The 20-page, science-based “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” sprung from an intense collaboration of public health professionals, union leaders and frontline workers to prepare for what happens next in the period between flattening the curve and truly eradicating the virus.

It features five core pillars that inform our decision to reopen the country based on the science as well as educator and healthcare expertise—not on politics or wishful thinking.

To gradually reopen, we need to: 

  1. Maintain physical distancing until the number of new cases declines for at least 14 consecutive days. Reducing the number of new cases is a prerequisite for transitioning to reopening plans on a community-by-community basis. 
  2. Put in place the infrastructure and resources to test, trace and isolate new cases. Transitioning from community-focused physical distancing and stay-in-place orders to case-specific interventions requires ramping up the capacity to test, trace and isolate each new case.
  3. Deploy the public health tools that prevent the virus’ spread and align them with education strategies that meet the needs of students.
  4. Involve workers, unions, parents and communities in all planning. Each workplace and community faces unique challenges related to COVID-19. To ensure that reopening plans address those challenges, broad worker and community involvement is necessary. They must be engaged, educated and empowered.
  5. Invest in recovery: Do not abandon America’s communities or forfeit America’s future. These interventions will require more—not less—investment in public health and in our schools, universities, hospitals, and local and state governments. Strengthening communities should be a priority in the recovery.

The blueprint acknowledges Americans’ eagerness to return to some semblance of “normal.” But to do so, we must meet an unprecedented challenge: figuring out how to reimagine our society and the physical places we hold dear — public schools, places of worship, workplaces, restaurants and more — in ways that put our ultimate priorities first: the safety and well-being of working families, especially frontline workers, and the economic health of society.

Our schools, in addition to educating students and acting as centers of the community, enable parents to work outside the home, meaning their safe reopening is a pivotal — if not the most pivotal — factor in remaking the country.

The comprehensive document addresses complexities and provides specific guidance for transitioning from lockdowns to other public health approaches. And it is the only plan we know of that marries the instructional and social-emotional needs of students and the logistics of programming in schools with the imperative to adopt public health tools that prevent viral transmission. 

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 28 | Governor suggests schools reopen late summer

California could begin new school year as early as July, Gov. Newsom says

In his daily noon press briefing, Governor Newsom suggested that K-12 schools could start in late July or early August for next school year, though he added that nothing has been decided yet. It’s unclear whether campuses would physically reopen or online learning would resume as part of an early start to the academic year.

Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Dept. of Public Health, presented an overview of some of the areas the governor and the California Dept. of Education is looking at for K-12 schools to reopen safely.

April 28 | Community colleges essential to recovery

Community colleges will be essential to California’s recovery

When the shelter-in-place order is finally lifted, millions of Californians will be seeking employment in a drastically different economy. Some workplaces will not survive; others will be profoundly changed or take years to recover. In any scenario, California’s 114 Community Colleges will be crucial to our state’s recovery.

You can already see evidence of this at City College of San Francisco where fashion and design students have volunteered to help make desperately needed face masks for health care professionals, and our advanced nursing students have petitioned the governor to temporarily relax certification requirements so they can assist on the front lines against COVID-19.

  • Read this op-ed in the San Francisco Examiner by CFT Vice President Jenny Worley, also president of the San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers, and Shanell Williams, president of the Board of Trustees for City College of San Francisco. 

April 25 | “I miss being with my students”

Mark James Miller: Hancock teachers and the ‘new normal’

“I miss the face-to-face contact.”

“Something is missing.”

“I miss being with my students.”

As Allan Hancock College’s part-time instructors adapt to the “new normal” brought on by the coronavirus, one theme is constant: With all classes now being taught remotely, they miss being in the classroom with their students. 

  • Here’s what faculty said when Mark Miller, president of the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, surveyed them for his weekly column in the Santa Maria Times.

April 24 | CFT President on Facebook Live

Up Front with CFT President Jeff Freitas

Watch Up Front with CFT President Jeff Freitas, who is live on Facebook Fridays at 3 pm. This week Freitas was joined by CFT Council of Classified Employees President Carl Williams. 

April 23 | Governor announces more student loan relief

Governor announces deal to expand student loan relief for 1.1. million Californians

Governor Newsom announced that 21 of 24 private student loan servicers have agreed to provide payment and other relief to borrowers, including more than 1.1 million Californians with privately held student loans.

The federal CARES Act provided much-needed relief for students with federal loans, including the suspension of monthly payments, interest, and involuntary collection activity until September 30. However, the CARES Act did not address millions of student loan borrowers with federal loans that are not owned by the U.S. government as well as loans made by private lenders. 

Under the new initiative by California and other states, students with commercially owned Federal Family Education Loan or privately held student loans may also be eligible for expanded relief. Relief options include providing a minimum of 90 days forbearance, waiving late payment fees, ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting, and helping eligible borrowers enroll in other assistance programs.

Newsom also signed an executive order to stop debt collectors from garnishing individual recovery rebates under the CARES Act, as well as other federal, state or local government financial assistance. (Funds may still be garnished for child support, family support, spousal support or criminal restitution for victims.)

“Californians are reeling from the financial impact of COVID-19, the recently unemployed and those with student loan debt are among the hardest hit,” said Governor Newsom. “The last thing they deserve is to see more money withheld as they try to put food on the table and pay their rent or mortgage.”

April 23 | Governor rolls back LCAP deadline for schools

California school districts to get 5-month reprieve to adopt next year’s accountability plan

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 22 | National unions send joint letter to Congress

AFT signs on with national unions and AFL-CIO in letter to Congress

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect every family, every community and every one of our affiliates, the AFT is focusing its advocacy on keeping people safe and healthy, particularly healthcare and other frontline workers; buffering families from the impact of the economic downturn; fighting for extending vote by mail and other democracy reforms for the 2020 elections, given the pandemic; and, finally, listening to experts on the hows of reopening our country — safely.

The AFT has worked with the AFL-CIO and other unions to develop a set of five economic essentials that will keep Americans safe, employed and healthy, and that will invest in state and local governments and public schools — institutions that have demonstrated just how critical they are as anchors of our communities right now, and how they will be needed to be the engines of America’s recovery from this pandemic. Advocacy for these economic essentials is especially vital as Mitch McConnell and President Trump continue to try to hold funding for state and local government and schools hostage to push their dangerous reopening agenda and create even more division.

America’s five economic essentials are spelled out in the letter below and focus on:

  1. Expanding health insurance for all workers;
  2. Helping frontline workers stay safe and sound;
  3. Ensuring workers are employed, and protecting earned pensions;
  4. Keeping state and local governments, public schools and the U.S. Postal Service solvent and working; and
  5. Investing in infrastructure.

AFT is working with the AFL-CIO and other unions to launch a campaign to engage members and communities and ensure these elements are included in whatever legislation Congress passes. 

April 21 | AFT blasts Trump’s order to halt immigration

The AFT sent out this statement from AFT President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus on Trump’s latest plan to “temporarily suspend immigration”:

“We know the president is the master of diversion and deception, but it’s hard to follow his logic with this order: Is our country doing so well right now that governors can reopen gyms, beauty salons and bars for business? Or are we in such terrible shape that we must close our borders even more? If it’s the latter, why is the president—instead of working on testing, securing personal protective equipment for frontline workers, or planning to ensure a safe reopening of the country—decreeing by tweet his racist and xenophobic plan to halt immigration, which will do little to stop the spread of COVID-19 but plenty to rile up his base?

“Trump’s failure to prepare for this crisis has put millions of lives at risk. Instead of leading, Trump has shown that he will blame anyone, from immigrants to America’s governors, to distract from his failure to protect us. We reject this callous, racist proposal, which would do more to create chaos than to actually help in this time of great need.”

April 20 | Closing the digital divide now, maybe forever

70,000 laptops being distributed, 100,000 hot spots coming

In the governor’s daily press conference, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom empathized with the fear parents have about their children falling behind due to not having distance learning technology at home, and assured parents that this is being addressed.

Approximately one in five students in California lack high-speed Internet or an appropriate computing device at home. In a parent survey two weeks ago, 50 percent of low-income families and 42 percent of families of color reported that they lacked the laptop, Chromebook, or tablet needed to access distance learning.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said the CDE surveyed more than 1,000 districts in the state to define the need for student connectivity at home and that devices are now being distributed due to unprecedented private sector support. Thurmond thanked the companies, foundations, and state agencies involved in getting out the technology necessary to help close the digital divide — whether it be laptops, tablets, or hotspots.

Specifically, a total of 70,000 laptops and tablets are now being distributed. Among the private companies contributing technology is Google with its Chromebooks, Apple and iPads, and Microsoft with its Surface devices. Starting the first week of May, Google will roll out 100,000 hotspots. The state is even converting seven school buses into mobile hot spots.

Superintendent Thurmond has created a task force to examine closing the digital divide, something he notes has been needed to be addressed for a long time. He expressed hope that solving the problem during the pandemic may help solve this decades-old problem. Thurmond is co-chairing the task force with Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino. 

Governor Newsom specifically called out classified staff who are helping to make the schools run right now and assist with distance learning.

April 17 | CFT President on Facebook Live

Watch Up Front with CFT President Jeff Freitas, who is live on Facebook Fridays at 3 pm. See all of our Union Broadcasts here. 

April 17 | AFT President on MSNBC

Randi Weingarten talks about COVID-19 school closures on MSNBC

Yesterday, AFT President Randi Weingarten joined Dr. Jeff Gardere on MSNBC to talk with Nicolle Wallace about ways that we can be successful academically while in quarantine. On the show, Weingarten said, “we have to reduce stress on parents and kids, we have to keep it simple, and we have to have a routine.” Help us spread the word by sharing the segment with your members and followers. This is a Facebook link. 

April 16 | EDD expands phone hours for unemployment

Expanded phone hours at EDD as 2.7 million apply for unemployment insurance

Governor Newsom announced that 2.7 million Californians have now applied for unemployment insurance. To meet the skyrocketing need, the Employment Development Department (EDD) has added dozens of new employees and phone lines are now open for 12 hours a day. At the governor’s direction, the EDD will launch a new call center on April 28 that will operate 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. EDD will also implement a one-stop shop for those applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The Unemployment Insurance Branch will be upstaffed with 1,340 employees, including 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from across state government. 

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

  1. New clinical setting must be approved by a Nurse Education Consultant
  2. Written agreements for clinical sites no longer required
  3. 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

  1. Suspends all state law requiring redetermination of CalWORKs recipients for 90 days
  2. Suspends any month or partial month from counting against the 48-month time limit
  3. Federal time limits remain in effect and may impact student eligibility 
  4. SB 117 ensures the continuity of payments for subsidized childcare programs during the COVID-19 emergency
  5. Child Development Centers may claim CalWORKs childcare reimbursements for up to 30 days
  6. 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 14 | Governor forecasts how schools might reopen

Newsom describes changes like staggered classes and no assemblies

EdSource sums up the governor’s daily press conference where he discussed when schools might reopen and the changes we might see.

April 14 | Governor issues indicators for shelter-in-place

Newsom issues six indicators for modifying shelter-in-place orders

Governor Newsom unveiled six key indicators that will guide California’s thinking for when and how to modify the stay-at-home and other orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor noted that the progress in flattening the curve, increased preparedness of our health care delivery system and the effects of other COVID-19 interventions have yielded positive results. However, these actions have also impacted the economy, poverty and overall health care in California. Any consideration of modifying the stay-at-home order must be done using a gradual, science-based and data-driven framework.

April 14 | AFT mourns loss of members in NYC

Fifty New York City educators have died

Politico has reported that 50 New York City Department of Education employees have died from the coronavirus. As of April 10, 48 school-based New York City employees — 22 paraprofessionals, 21 teachers, two administrators, one facilities staffer, one guidance counselor and one food service staffer — have died. Two central office employees have also died. Forty of these are members of the United Federation of Teachers, including 11 retirees. Please join us in taking a moment to honor their memory by sharing this story online.

April 13 | CARES Act apportionments for California

AFT prepares state-by-state 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 in the AFT-produced summary. 

April 10 | Sign on to the Worker’s Bill of Rights

Workers Bill of Rights from the California Labor Federation

If you haven’t already done so, please add your name to support the Workers Bill of Rights. The COVID-19 crisis is exposing the gaping holes in our social safety net and laying bare just how rigged this economy is against workers and how tilted it is to the wealthy and powerful. It’s time for decision-makers to hear from us about what we demand to weather this crisis and the changes we need to create an economy that prioritizes working people going forward. We need to act now so that working people won’t be left behind without an income, without a home and without basic protections. 

April 10 | Inside Higher Ed: UC-AFT demands support

Next Level Precarity

University Council-AFT President Mia McIver and more members say UC lecturers, “who teach one-third of all credit hours across the UC, are being denied basic health and safety standards by UC administrators” during the Covid-19 pandemic. UC-AFT says now that classes have moved online and lecturers are working from home, UC administrators refuse to pay for things such as ergonomically sound desks and strong internet connections for all lecturers that need them to teach effectively and safely from home.

April 9 | CDE releases guidance on childcare

State superintendent releases guidance on childcare for essential workers

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that the California Department of Education 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 pandemic SNAP benefit
  • CDSS guidance about healthy and safe practices in child care settings

April 8 | CFT Newsroom – Custodians on front lines

Custodians on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

From custodians and computer techs to food service crews and health clerks, classified employees have distinguished themselves on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I get it. People are scared,” said San Diego custodian Robert Wilmer. “Every time there’s a crisis the question comes up, ‘What are the custodians doing to protect us?’ We have our protocols and we follow them.”

April 8 | CFT Newsroom – Millions of Grab & Go Meals

Food service workers whip up millions of Grab & Go meals​

More than 40 Lawndale food service employees are AFT 4529 Local members. All will receive their regular salaries during the shutdown. Most are taking part in seven Grab & Go’s at district schools. “We know there is a need for this at our school,” said Stephanie Meseraull.

April 8 | CFT Newsroom – Health clerk perspective

Health clerk looks back on early signs of pandemic

For months, health clerk Cathy Pierce said, she and other school district staff heard about the coronavirus “like everyone else — bits of news and gossip.” Pierce began to receive more credible information about COVID-19 and changes coming at all levels of government and education the week before her elementary school shut in March. She has since come up the coronavirus learning curve, and now sees her work in a different light.

April 8 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly summary

Summary of Wednesday Weekly Webinar

Chancellor Oakley began 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.

This webinar has been recorded and will be uploaded here.

Join next Wednesday’s webinar here

April 6 | Newsday: AFT President “lets trust teachers”

The school year is far from lost

AFT President Randi Weingarten’s opinion piece in Newsday discusses the impact of school closures and the COVID-19 pandemic on students. She says, “At this extraordinary time, let’s trust teachers. I propose giving teachers the latitude to sum up either the semester or the school year, depending on how long schools are closed, by creating age-appropriate capstone or term projects that demonstrate students’ learning for the year.”

April 6 | CNN follows AFT nurses at work

Inside an ER during the coronavirus outbreak

CNN aired an exclusive look inside the University Hospital of Brooklyn, which is part of the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and has been designated as a COVID-19 hospital. The piece features AFT members working on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis and shows how vital our work is to fighting this pandemic. It’s an incredible reminder for Americans that healthcare workers are stretched thin during this time and are in vital need of personal protective equipment, which our union has been fighting for. 

April 1 | Governor’s press conference focuses on K-12

Governor Newsom confirms that schools will be closed through the end of the year

The governor 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.

April 1 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly summary

Summary of Chancellor’s Wednesday, April 1 Webinar

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

The weekly Zoom webinar on Wednesdays at 9 am is open to everyone Join the webinar here: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/299858221

March 31 | CDE expects schools to close for year

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. 

April 30 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly summary

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 30 | CFT Newsroom – Challenges and rewards

AFT local union president shares experience of switching to online teaching

Mark James Miller, a part-time English instructor at Allan Hancock College, talks about the challenges and rewards of the immediate switch to online teaching required because of the coronavirus pandemic. Miller has a regular column in the Santa Maria Times, where this article first appeared.

March 30 | AFT Tele-Townhall – New toll-free number

AFT announces toll-free number for coronavirus-related work questions

In the Tele-Townhall, AFT President Randi Weingarten announced a toll-free phone number for coronavirus questions from AFT members – 800-900-2343. It also announced an email address for questions – outbreak@aft.org  — and the roll-out of its new Trauma Relief program. 

March 29 | White House extends stay-at-home order

National stay-at-home order extended to April 30

The White House Task Force on the Coronavirus and President Trump extend the national stay-at-home order until April 30. 

March 27 | Congress passes federal CARES Act

Trump signs federal stimulus package — CARES Act — passed by Congress

The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, And Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides workers direct checks, additional unemployment insurance benefits, retirement plan rules changes, loans to small businesses, loans to particular industries, student loan suspension, rent relief, veterans benefits, and much more. California will be receiving $15.3 billion, but it’s still unknown how this will impact school and college districts. Read AFT’s initial analysis below.

March 27 | CFT President on Facebook Live

UpFront with CFT President Jeff Freitas on Facebook

Watch the video on Facebook with President Freitas as he answered some of the most frequent and pressing questions from members during our first Facebook Live broadcast from the CFT Facebook page. The questions were submitted to our website and last week’s CFT Tele-Townhall, which more than 12,000 CFT members took part in, many asking important questions about their jobs and the health and well-being of their families and their students. If you have a critical question or comment for CFT, please take a moment to share your concerns and your inspirational stories.

March 27 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly summary

Chancellor issues Executive Order about grading policies, pass/no pass requirement

The chancellor has issued a new Executive Order (2020-02) and 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 27 | Governor orders moratorium on evictions

Executive Order creates statewide moratorium on evictions for renters

Governor Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by Covid-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. It also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to Covid-19.

March 26 | NPR analyzes CARES Act for education

Coronavirus relief package offers up more than $30 billion for education

The U.S. Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package includes more than $30 billion for education, with more than $14 billion for colleges and universities and at least $13.5 billion for the nation’s K-12 schools.

March 25 | #ThankATeacher movement grows

Parents newly appreciate teachers after one week of homeschooling

Last week, as schools began to close due to the spread of the coronavirus, social media sites were flooded with messages from parents and students getting used to homeschooling, sharing their appreciation for the teachers and support staff who keep our kids learning, fed and on a schedule. We are asking our communities to join us in thanking our teachers and school support staff as they share their distance learning stories — #ThankATeacher.

March 25 | Governor orders 90-day grace for mortgages

Californians can get a 90-day grace period on mortgage payments

Financial institutions will provide relief to Californians economically impacted by COVID-19 by offering a 90-day grace period to make mortgage payments. Governor Newsom secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers to protect homeowners and consumers. Also (under the applicable guidelines), financial institutions agreed to: 

  • accept that payment relief will not negatively impact individual credit reports;
  • not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions for at least 60 days;
  • waive some fees such as late mortgage payments or early CD withdrawals.

March 25 | Chancellor’s Office – Weekly summary

Summary of Chancellor’s Wednesday webinar

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 25 | WaPo reports coming vote on stimulus

U.S. Senate to vote today on federal stimulus package

Here’s the basics: The legislation would send $1,200 checks to many Americans, create a $367 billion loan program for small businesses, and establish a $500 billion lending fund for industries, cities and states.

March 24 |  San Diego Unified makes solid learning plan

San Diego Unified will launch online instruction and grading by April 27

One of the first large districts announces a plan to return to grading and formal instruction, even as physical school facilities will remain closed. Among other solutions, during the soft launch, district officials plan to distribute about 40,000 district-owned laptops and corresponding WiFi hotspots to students who need them.

March 24 | Capital & Main analyzes stimulus package

Dissecting the massive rescue package close to passage in Congress 

Few economists have stared into the abyss of a catastrophic recession from a closer vantage point than Jared Bernstein. The chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden during the darkest days of early 2009, Bernstein was one of the key Obama administration officials who shaped the nation’s response to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. 

March 23 | Chancellor’s Office issues executive orders

Chancellor signs executive orders — providing for online teaching, student protections 

State Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley announced a series of actions 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. Recognizing that some students may be forced to withdraw due to the emergency, Oakley 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. There’s also a new online Q&A for students

  • Find the chancellor’s five guidance memos in our Union Toolkit (under Community Colleges) — covering hard-to-convert courses, nursing clinicals, student attendance, and more.

March 23 | Pelosi unveils counterproposal to GOP

Pelosi unveils $2.5 trillion counterproposal to GOP coronavirus stimulus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a sweeping counterproposal to Senate Republicans’ $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. House Democrats’ legislation — which comes with a $2.5 trillion price tag — comes after negotiations between Capitol Hill leaders and the White House broke down over the weekend, culminating in two failed procedural votes that have left the Senate Republicans’ bill in limbo.

March 20 | UC Berkeley moves to pass/fail grading

UC Berkeley moves to pass/fail grades for spring

The default grading basis for all undergraduate courses for the spring 2020 semester will be changed to Passed/Not Passed (P/NP). Instructors must continue to maintain and submit records of letter grades earned. Students will be permitted to change their grading option to letter grade until at least May 6.

March 20 | Covered California extends enrollment

Covered California extends special enrollment for health coverage until June 30

The extension is effective immediately and will allow anyone who is eligible for health care coverage through Covered California — which offers subsidized Obamacare care plans to individuals without employer-sponsored health insurance — to sign up until the end of June. Eligibility is based on federal poverty levels. Individuals making up to $17,237 qualify for MediCal, while those making over $17,327 and up to $49,960 are eligible for a subsidy on a Covered California plan. This article published by CalMatters.

March 20 | CDE updates app – CA Meals for Kids

Updated mobile app — CA Meals for Kids

The CDE has updated its app to help students and their families find meals during school closures related to COVID-1. The app is available for free download through Apple, Google, and Microsoft — find those links on this CDE app support page. As of March 19, the CDE processed requests for more than 3,100 emergency feeding sites throughout the state. As districts continue to update the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System, these sites will be populated into the app.

March 20 | Chancellor’s Office – First webinar summary

Watch first webinar from the Chancellor’s Office

The Chancellor’s Office today hosted a webinar focused on recent updates, guidance and supports for dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. He 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.

Zoom calls every Wednesday: Moving forward, the Chancellor’s Office 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 | EdSource report on special education

Special education faces unique burdens during school closure

As California K-12 schools closed this week to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, one group of students is particularly impacted by the loss of routine and specialized instruction: the nearly 800,000 public school students in special education programs.

March 20 | Feds grant testing waiver for K-12 schools

Feds to grant testing waivers to states that want them (i.e. California)

President Trump and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announce they will grant a waiver for the federal requirement to test students to any state that wants one. Trump also announced a freeze on student loan payments for 60 days.

March 19 | Governor announces stay-at-home order

Governor announces statewide “stay at home” order

Gov. Newsom asks all Californians to shelter in place, except to go shopping, go the essential medical appointments and walk outside to exercise.

March 18 |  EdSource reports on CDE webinar

7,000 people join CDE webinar for preK-12 districts

A 75-minute webinar led by the California Department of Education, viewed by about 7,000 people, provided info about distance learning, meals for students and limited child care while schools are shut down because of the coronavirus. Watch for the recording to be posted on the CDE website.

March 18 | Governor orders student testing suspended

Governor issues executive order to suspend standardized testing for students

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 18 | Governor launches new COVID-19 website

State launches new consolidated website for coronavirus

Gov. Newsom announced the launch of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) public awareness campaign anchored by a new, consumer-friendly website that highlights critical steps people can take to stay healthy and links to resources such as paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.

March 18 | CFT President – The Corona, the CFT and You

The Coronavirus, the CFT and You

Over the past few days, our lives have changed significantly. There have been many fast moving coronavirus-related developments. Read about our work with decision-makers to protect you, your students, and your communities.

March 17 | Governor releases guidance for K-12 schools

Governor releases guidelines for preK-12 schools

Gov. Newsom announces that 98.8 percent of the state’s preK-12 schools are closed and he expects they will not reopen before summer. Newsom is seeking a waiver from the federal government to for student testing. See a brief summary of guidance on top issues in our union toolkit — distance learning, student disabilities, school meals and childcare.

March 17 | CFT Legislative Update – Emergency bills

Legislature passes emergency legislation for PreK-12 schools, economic hardship

Gov. Newsom signed three emergency bills passed by the California Legislature on March 16 to address the coronavirus and school funding. SB 117 addresses K-12 schools, ADA, safety gear, instructional time, ELLs and much more. It is a budget bill that took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature. Read our Legislative Update for full information; and in our Union Toolkit under preK-12 schools, find a a brief summary.  

In addition, Senate Bill 89 provides $500 million immediately and up to $1 billion to assist individuals, non-profits and small businesses that experience economic hardships due to the Coronavirus. And Assembly Concurrent Resolution 189 enacts a joint recess of the Legislature from March 20 until April 13. he State Capitol closes to the public.

March 16 | Seven Bay Area counties shelter-in-place

Shelter in place for seven Bay Area counties

Residents of seven Bay Area counties are told to shelter in place for at least three weeks, until April 7. Residents can leave home for groceries, medical appointments, and essential errands, and take outside walks with the stipulation that residents stay six feet away from others not in their household. The counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. (On March 17, four more counties issued similar directives — Monterey, Sacramento, San Benito and Sonoma.)

March 16 | U.S. Taskforce expands social distancing

Taskforce advises against gatherings of more than 10 people

President Trump and the taskforce expanded social distancing recommendations to slow the spread of coronavirus — advising against gatherings of more than 10 people, going to bars, and eating at restaurants or food courts. 

March 15 | Governor asks people over 65 to self-isolate 

Gov. Newsom asks people older than 65 years to self-isolate

The governor advises Californians over 65 years of age, as well as individuals with chronic disease, to self-isolate to prevent them from coming into contact with someone who might be infected with the coronavirus. Newsom also asked hospitals and nursing homes to severely restrict visitors, for bars to close and restaurants to reduce capacity.

March 14 | U.S. Taskforce announces free testing

Free coronavirus testing, gatherings limited to no more than 50 people, more schools close across nation

The weekend saw many announcements from the federal government, including free coronavirus testing for the insured (with no deductible), as well as for uninsured people. The CDC recommended gatherings not to exceed 50 people, and Gov. Newsom adopted those guidelines for California. Most of the nation’s largest school districts announced closures. 

March 13 | Governor orders school funding to continue

Governor signs executive order ensuring state funding for schools in event of closure

Ensures California public school districts retain state funding even in the event of physical closure. Directs school districts to use those state dollars to fund distance learning and high-quality educational opportunities, provide school meals and, as practicable, arrange for the supervision for students during school hours.

March 13 | Education Coalitions puts forward goals

Education Coalition Letter to Lawmakers

The CFT, along with other state education organizations, is asking state leaders to hold districts harmless from any financial penalties for loss of instructional days, provide support to allow meal service to continue to students during the closures, suspend all state testing this year, provide support for custodial services and staff, and provide additional support for school nurses and counselors.

March 13 | White House declares state of emergency

President Trump declares national state of emergency 

The president’s action releases billions of dollars in federal aid.

March 12 | Governor waives unemployment waiting

Gov. Newsom waives one-week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance and State Disability Insurance

Governor issues an executive order ​withprotections and resources for workers affected by COVID-19 and the general public. The Newsom administration and state Labor Secretary Julie Su are providing resources to workers, including information about paid sick leave and paid family leave.

March 12 | Governor bans events with 250+ people

Gov. Newsom bans events with more than 250 people

Following the advice of public health agencies, the governor bans events in California with more than 250 people.

March 10 | CDE gets approval to continue student meals

California Dept. of Education receives federal approval for K-12 districts to feed students during coronavirus-related closures

Under the federal waiver, meals can be served at school and non-school sites. Students will not be required to remain onsite to consume the meal and can take the meal and go, which is not the usual federal guideline.

March 4 | Governor declares state of emergency

Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency

Governor declared a state of emergency after news of the first death due to COVID-19 in Placer County.