CSBA would like to commend California’s education leaders for confronting the challenges presented by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We understand these are demanding times with innumerable questions and few easy answers. As the organization representing nearly 1,000 school districts and county offices of education, we hope to provide — to the extent possible — clarity, resources and relief. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, passion and concern; these are some of the greatest assets we have as we care for and educate California’s 6.2 million public school students during a time of profound crisis.
- 7/7/20: California Office of the Attorney General press release: Attorney General Becerra Leads Multistate Lawsuit Against Secretary DeVos’ Attempt to Siphon Pandemic Relief Funds Away from Public Schools
- 7/7/20: CDE press release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Implementation Tool for Assessing Student Learning
- 7/7/20: On the CSBA blog: Deadline approaching to apply for Pandemic-EBT meal benefits
- 7/6/20: On the CSBA blog: CDC releases new school guidance, does not recommended universal COVID-19 testing
- 6/30/20: On the CSBA blog: Governor signs 2020–21 budget package; CSBA webinar dives into details
- 6/30/20: Governor signs budget package; shares concerns about ADA hold harmless
- 6/29/20: On the CSBA blog: E-rate program regulations and innovative district solutions to digital divide explored in webinar
- 6/26/20: State partnership launches marketplace to connect employers with PPE manufacturers
- 6/25/20: U.S. Department of Agriculture press release: USDA Provides Flexibilities to Ensure Kids Receive Meals This Fall
- 6/25/20: U.S. Department of Education press release: Secretary DeVos Issues Rule to Ensure CARES Act Funding Serves All Students
- 6/23/20: On the CSBA blog: Mandated reporters help ensure the safety and well-being of children during COVID-19
- 6/23/20: State budget provisions complicate school reopening under COVID-19 conditions; Mega-deferrals established and major cuts avoided
- 6/22/20: CDE press release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Digital Divide Task Force Receive Update on Multiple Efforts to Expand Internet Access for All
- 6/22/20: On the CSBA blog: Revised playbook offers chronic absenteeism strategies amidst COVID-19
- 6/21/20: State Revises Reopening Guidance: Masks Now Required in Schools (presumably)
- 6/19/20: On the CSBA blog: Education leaders call for greater funding for COVID-19 challenges in U.S. House Committee hearing
- 6/18/20: On the CSBA blog: Legislators call out resources, liability and lack of direction as concerns in reopening schools
- 6/17/20: On the CSBA blog: Budget negotiations to intensify as Legislature meets June 15 deadline
- 6/17/20: CDE press release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Free Statewide Online Suicide Prevention Training Program
- 6/16/20: On the CSBA blog: Schools must keep needs of English learners in mind when crafting reopening plans
- 6/15/20: Budget negotiations to intensify as Legislature meets June 15 deadline
- 6/15/20: On the CSBA blog: Adopting policy for COVID-19 mitigation during campus reopening
- 6/12/20: On the CSBA blog: Education leaders grapple with what is needed to reopen schools
- 6/12/30: CIF press release: Statement Regarding 2020 Fall Sports and Return to Physical Activity/Training
- 6/11/20: On the CSBA blog: Latest U.S. Senate Committee hearing on reopening schools focuses on learning loss, equity and funding
- 6/9/30: On the CSBA blog: CCEE pivots focus to distance learning needs amid COVID-19 pandemic
- 6/9/30: New CSBA guidance for reopening schools addresses challenges faced by governance teams (Click here to view summary)
- 6/8/20: On the CSBA blog: State releases health and safety guidance for schools; funding needed for implementation
- 6/8/20: CDE releases guidebook as schools plan how to reopen campuses
- 6/5/20: State releases health and safety guidance for schools; funding needed for implementation
- 6/4/20: Update to California Department of Education FAQ on Education Stabilization fund under the CARES Act
- 6/4/20: On the CSBA blog: Legislature agrees on budget that rejects K–12 education cuts, counts on federal aid
- 6/3/20: On the CSBA blog: CCEE webinar offers distance learning needs, strategies for small districts
- 6/3/20: Legislature agrees on budget that rejects K–12 education cuts, counts on federal aid
- 6/2/20: On the CSBA blog: Executive order temporarily suspends exam requirements for teacher candidates
- 6/1/20: On the CSBA blog: Protecting students’ online privacy: Special considerations during distance learning
- 6/1/20: CTC Press Release: Governor Temporarily Suspends Examination Requirements for Teacher Candidates Impacted by COVID-19
- 5/29/20: On the CSBA blog: CSBA, Education Coalition caution that schools cannot safely reopen with current funding
- 5/28/20: CSBA, Education Coalition caution that schools cannot safely reopen with current funding
- 5/27/20: On the CSBA blog: National guidance provides considerations to jumpstart high school athletics
- 5/27/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Renews Call for New Investments as Technology Needs Still Unmet for Many California Students and Schools Look to Reopen
- 5/22/20: On the CSBA blog: State guidance on reopening schools nearing; funding remains key issue
- 5/21/20: On the CSBA blog: LEAs should prepare now to address mental health when schools return
- 5/21/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond Launch “Advance SEL in California,” a Social and Emotional Learning Campaign
- 5/21/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Hosts First Virtual Student Support Circle to Address Learning Challenges and Mental Health Awareness
- 5/21/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Holds Virtual Statewide Discussion on the Safe Reopening of Schools
- 5/20/20: On the CSBA blog: School nutrition programs more necessary than ever
- 5/19/20: President’s Message: Building a bridge across the digital divide
- 5/18/20: On the CSBA blog: COVID-19 webinar explores legal, policy and instructional aspects of special education
- 5/15/20: On the CSBA blog: May Revision cuts LCFF, drops COLA, introduces proposals in effort to mitigate impact
- 5/15/20: May Revision cuts LCFF, drops COLA, introduces proposals in effort to mitigate impact
- 5/15/20: U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA extends school meal program waivers due to COVID-19 closures
- 5/13/20: On the CSBA blog: Federal stimulus proposal calls for $58 billion for K-12 schools
- 5/13/20: On the CSBA blog: Fauci says ensuring student and staff safety before reopening schools is a ‘moral imperative’
5/12/20: On the CSBA blog: Webinar highlights CSBA’s efforts on digital divide, shares district perspectives
- 5/9/20: CSBA State Board Report: Virtual meeting focuses on new realities, future projects and plans amid COVID-19
- 5/8/20: LAO report diverges from DOF estimates but still shows steep decline
- 5/8/20: CSBA press release: CSBA Survey Finds Many Students Lack Access to Technology When They Need It Most
- 5/8/20: On the CSBA blog: Board policies, without delay
- 5/7/20: Public school budgets projected to lose more than $18 billion of Proposition 98 funding in May Revision
- 5/6/20: Office of Governor News Release: Governor Newsom Announces Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Workers who Contract COVID-19 During Stay at Home Order
- 5/5/20: CSBA President in the news advocating on behalf of California schools
- 5/5/20: On the CSBA blog: CSBA webinar provides guidance on board meetings and Brown Act waivers during stay-at-home order
- 5/4/20: Newsom outlines stage two; timeline for reopening schools not accelerated
- 5/4/20: CEO’s note: A message of hope in the time of coronavirus
- 5/4/20: On the CSBA blog: Districts plan to improvise graduation celebrations for class of 2020
- 5/1/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Closing the Digital Divide Task Force Call for Free Internet for California’s Students
- 5/1/20: On the CSBA blog: New brief highlights need to promote equity in distance learning, and what comes next
- 4/30/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces New Statewide Benefit Program to Help Food Insecure Students During Coronavirus Pandemic
- 4/30/20: On the CSBA blog: Significant aid from state and federal government will be needed for schools in coming recession, panel finds
- 4/30/20: CDE News Release:State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Creates New Committee with State Leaders Focused on Achievement Gap and Loss of Learning
- 4/30/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Working with State and National Leaders to Study Possibility of Schools Reopening Earlier
- 4/29/20: On the CSBA blog: Budget subcommittee takes on big questions around school finance, learning loss, the future
- 4/28/20: On the CSBA blog: New CSBA webinar series brings members up to speed on governing during COVID-19
- 4/28/20: LCAP executive order FAQ from the California Department of Education
- 4/27/20: U.S. Dept. of Ed. News Release: Secretary DeVos Reiterates Learning Must Continue for All Students, Declines to Seek Congressional Waivers to FAPE, LRE Requirements of IDEA
- 4/27/20: U.S. Dept. of Ed. News Release: Secretary DeVos Launches New Grant Competition to Spark Student-Centered, Agile Learning Opportunities to Support Recovery from National Emergency
- 4/27/20: On the CSBA blog: Board member electronic communications in the virtual world of COVID-19
- 4/24/20: On the CSBA blog: New report projects significant learning loss due to COVID-19 school closures
- 4/23/20: CSBA launches webinar series to guide governance teams during COVID-19 pandemic
- 4/23/20: Executive order extends LCAP deadline; CDE seeks cancellation of 2020 Dashboard
- 4/23/20: U.S. Dept. of Ed. News Release: Secretary DeVos Makes Available Over $13 Billion in Emergency Coronavirus Relief to Support Continued Education for K-12 Students
- 4/23/20: On the CSBA blog: Student mental health services move online as counselors and teachers connect with children
- 4/22/20: On the CSBA blog: Changes to special education processes announced by the Office of Administrative Hearings
- 4/21/20: COVID-19 accountability FAQs from the California Department of Education
- 4/22/20: CSBA Weekly Update: Video message from CEO on new COVID-19 resources and webinar series; State and education leaders make headway to close digital divide
- 4/21/20: On the CSBA blog: Legislators, district administrators outline needs, goals to close the digital divide
- 4/20/20: SPI acknowledges work of CSBA and others on the digital divide and holds first digital divide taskforce meeting
- 4/20/20: On the CSBA blog: Ensuring proper use of district technology loaned to students and staff
- 4/17/20: On the CSBA blog: Focus on outreach, health and data can help schools limit COVID-19 impacts
- 4/16/20: On the CSBA Blog: Mental health experts highlight need to connect with children despite school closures
- 4/16/20: CDE News Release: Thurmond Announces Digital Divide Task Force
- 4/15/20: CSBA press release: ACSA-CSBA Federal Partnership requests additional support for California’s school districts in next stimulus package
- 4/15/20: CSBA GAMUT: COVID-19 Policy updates
- 4/14/20: CSBA Weekly Update: Update on child care guidance; FEMA application deadline reminder
- 4/14/20: U.S. Dept. of Ed. News Release: Secretary DeVos Announces CTE Programs can Donate Unused Personal Protective Equipment, Medical Supplies to Support Coronavirus Response
- 4/14/20: U.S. Dept. of Ed. News Release: Secretary DeVos Announces $3 Billion in Emergency Education Block Grants for Governors
- 4/14/20: On the CSBA Blog: Message from CSBA President Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez: Facing our greatest challenge together
- 4/13/20: CDE News Release: California Receives Preliminary Federal Approval to Free Up Funds for Crisis Response
- 4/13/20: On the CSBA Blog: Existing board policy can aid in preparing and responding to emergencies: BP/AR 3516 – Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness Plan
- 4/10/20: On the CSBA Blog: Parents are stressed and looking for more support, especially for underserved students, new poll finds
- 4/9/20: CDE News Release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Availability of Guidance on Child Care for Essential Workers
- 4/9/20: On the CSBA Blog: In wake of pandemic, local reserves can help stabilize districts in short term
- 4/8/20: COVID-19 developments on funding, child care, facilities
- 4/6/20: California child care providers receive state flexibility to expand access for families of essential personnel; U.S. Department of Education authorizes new funding flexibilities to support distance learning
- 4/2/20: Senate Bill 117 fund distribution for schools
- 4/2/20: University of California and California State University to ease graduation requirements for students impacted by COVID-19 pandemic
- 4/1/20: State officials outline path forward for schools; labor-management framework among new tools
- 4/1/20: Boards may meet without a physical meeting space for the public, and may receive updates on COVID-19 from officials
- 3/31/20: Schools should remain closed for remainder of 2019–20 school year, writes superintendent of public instruction
- 3/31/20: Letter to County Superintendents from SPI Thurmond regarding school closures
- 3/25/20: Stimulus set to deliver $13.5B in emergency funding for K-12 schools
- 3/20/20: CSBA Unveils New COVID-19 Resources and Tools for Districts and COEs
- 3/20/20: U.S. Department of Education announces broad flexibility for state testing waivers; student loan payments suspended
- 3/19/20: Gov. Newsom issued stay-at-home order for state of California; CSBA to offer expanded COVID-19 resources page, distribute survey to identify LEA challenges, and launch an FAQ submission tool
- 3/18/20: Ongoing guidance to LEAs dealing with COVID-19 closures
- 3/17/20: Gov. Newsom Press Conference, New guidance, SPI Thurmond to lead webinar tomorrow
- 3/16/20: Passage of Senate Bill 117, which offers relief to school districts, COEs, and childcare centers
- 3/14/20: Message to members from CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy
- 3/13/20: Governor Issues Executive Order Ensuring State Funding for Coronavirus-related School Closures
- 3/12/20: New information about gatherings/ Brown Act implications
- 3/11/20: Information for schools responding to COVID-19 outbreak
On May 7, the Department of Finance projected a potential $18.3 billion reduction in the Proposition 98 guarantee (over a three-year period) as a result of the recession caused by impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial that California prioritize as much funding for education as possible in the 2020-21 budget. Further, it is essential that the federal government provide additional stimulus funding dedicated to public schools so that they can continue to provide a high-quality education to California’s students.
Funding Advocacy Toolkit
CSBA has produced this toolkit to aid board members and the entire school community in advocating for the funding that our schools desperately need.
To email or call your representatives directly, find their contact information here »
- The Education Coalition raises alarm over May Revision cuts
- CSBA, other groups seek $175B in federal COVID-19 funding relief
- ACSA-CSBA Federal Partnership voices concern over CARES Act guidance
- CSBA asks Governor for budget flexibility, $2 billion emergency bond on ballot
- ACSA-CSBA Federal Partnership calls for additional $175 billion of federal relief
- ACSA-CSBA Federal Partnership supports E-rate legislation to close ‘homework gap’
- Education Management Coalition outlines state budget needs to support schools
- CSBA seeks CSU adjustments to accommodate students amid COVID-19
- CSBA letter to UC illustrates dire need for admissions flexibility
CSBA is committed to providing the information you need and supporting your efforts to care for and educate students during this challenging period. We can do that best when we know what you need, where you’re hurting, and how we can provide some relief. To help determine that information, please complete these brief surveys on the impact of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
What is the guidance on how district and county office of education governing boards should safely schedule and conduct board meetings during this COVID-19 event? Are they still required to provide the public with a physical location for the meeting?
To comply with public health orders and social distancing guidelines, local governing boards are authorized to hold public meetings via teleconference that are accessible by telephone or otherwise electronically to all members of the public seeking to observe and address the board.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20 dated March 17 further provides that boards no longer need to make space available for the public to appear at any physical location. The order helps ensure public safety and continued public participation in board meetings while the state’s stay-at-home policy remains in effect.
Under the order, the public must be able to observe and address the meeting by telephone or other electronic means. Governing boards must implement a procedure for receiving and resolving requests for reasonable accommodations from individuals with disabilities. The meeting agenda and notice must include the procedure by which the public may observe the meeting and offer public comment.
Does CSBA have a draft board resolution available for the closure of the remainder of the school year due to COVID-19? Are governing boards required to pass such a resolution?
CSBA has produced a sample resolution for certifying school closures through the remainder of the 2019–20 school year, in the case the board wants to voluntarily adopt a resolution.
The CSBA legal team finds that such a resolution is not required. The requirement for the board to pass a resolution to certify the closure of schools pursuant to Cal. Ed. Code § 41422 was suspended by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-26-20 dated March 13. While suspending the need for a board resolution, the Executive Order states that in order to receive average daily attendance funding, superintendents are required to submit a certification to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) indicating the number of days closed in response to COVID-19 and to attest that the closure occurred to address COVID-19.
Typically, the board would be involved in the decision of the superintendent to provide such certification to the SPI. If, during the initial school closure, the board granted additional emergency powers to the superintendent, the board would not need to adopt an additional resolution to effectuate the extension of the closure.
Depending on the information provided to the SPI relating to the initial school closure, the superintendent may need to update the certification to account for the extension of the closure. Further information is available on the CDE’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page.
The current pandemic has uprooted the usual process for seniors as they near graduation and prepare to enroll in programs of higher education, as well as the college admissions process for other high school students. What accommodations are being made to bridge this transition?
Responding to strong advocacy from CSBA and other education management organizations, the University of California and the California State University announced on April 1 that they would ease graduation requirements for high school students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the details differ, both systems agreed to a series of accommodations designed to address the disruption caused by school closures and distance learning as well as public anxiety about grading, testing and college matriculation.
While both UC and CSU posted separate guidance on their decisions, the announcement came in a joint statement from those two systems and the California State Board of Education, CDE California Community Colleges and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.
No. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced on March 27 that California received preliminary federal approval to waive assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019–2020 school year. The CDE and State Board of Education requested approval for these waivers from the U.S. Department of Education in a letter sent on March 26. Formal approval is expected in the coming weeks.
Considering the unprecedented circumstances, is it possible to receive an extension for the usual 60-day time period to fill a governing board vacancy?
California Education Code Section 5091 requires a governing board to make a provisional appointment or order an election to fill a vacancy on the board within 60 days of the vacancy and to order an election to fill the vacancy if the board does not take action within the 60 days. Our legal team could find no precedent for the county superintendent to extend the 60-day timeframe. Barring an executive order from the Governor (which has not been issued in this instance), the law is clear that the board must make an appointment or call for an election within 60 days of the vacancy. If the board fails to act within the 60-day timeline, the county superintendent is then required to call for an election to fill the seat on the next election date. Please reference CSBA’s sample BB 9223 – Filling Vacancies for details on the process.
However, we are aware of at least one situation when the State Board of Education has granted a waiver of the 60-day timeline (and, thus, the requirement that the Santa Clara County Superintendent order an election).
Under California’s stay-at-home orders, LEAs may continue construction projects. In Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first executive order on March 19, he directed “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.” The list of essential critical infrastructure workers includes “construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction).”
However, local rules may place additional restrictions on construction during this time, and LEAs should keep in mind that this is an ever-evolving situation as related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, a local public health order may revoke construction as an essential activity unless the public works project is designated as essential by the lead governmental agency. In this instance, a governing board could adopt a resolution identifying a construction project as an essential public works project.
Lastly, LEAs that may have delays or disruption in their construction projects should engage their attorneys to review existing contracts and ensure the proper steps are taken to abide by the language of the contract and protect the interests of the district, if necessary.
When do we expect to know how the federal stimulus money for COVID-19 will be distributed to local educational agencies?
The exact details for distribution and timeline are yet to be announced. The following is a breakdown of the key aspects of the $2 trillion federal stimulus package signed into law on March 27, related to education and childcare:
- $13.5 billion in formula grants for K-12 education: State education departments will distribute 90 percent of funds to LEAs for COVID-19 response activities, including planning for and coordinating long-term school closures; and purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students.
- $3 billion pot from which each governor will receive a share to allocate emergency support grants: These grants will go to LEAs deemed by the state to have been most significantly impacted by the pandemic, which will support the ability of LEAs to continue providing educational services to students and support their ongoing operations. Institutions of higher education are also eligible for the funds.
- $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs
- $3.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant program: This funding will allow programs to maintain critical operations and meet emergency staffing needs. The bill also provides $750 million to help Head Start meet staffing needs.
During the COVID-19 school closures and the implementation of distance learning, continuing to use existing policy and administrative regulation on grades (BP/AR 5121 – Grading/Evaluation of Student Achievement) is not practical for many districts. Although the district could revise its policy and regulation, any such action may need to be revisited once schools reopen. Alternatively, districts can employ the use of a board resolution and the authority of the superintendent (see Board Policy 2210 – Administrative Discretion Regarding Board Policy) to take necessary action and implement temporary solutions during this time of crisis, as it may do in other areas of district operations.
To that end, CSBA has developed a sample board resolution on grading that incorporates grading alternatives as options for districts to use during the school closures. These grading options are consistent with the recent guidance issued by the CDE.
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 Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-45-20, issued on April 4, 2020. The guidance directs operating child care programs to notify current families that they are to shelter in place unless they are classified as an essential worker.
It also allows child care providers to enroll new families that meet the following qualifications, in the following order of priority: children who are receiving child protective services or who have been deemed at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation; children experiencing homelessness; children of domestic violence survivors; children of essential workers; and children with disabilities or special health care needs.
I would like to know how a board can modify an existing meeting agenda to address an emergency situation, rather than create a completely separate meeting. Can a board modify an agenda with an emergency topic within a context of the board meeting?
Under Government Code section 54954.2, the agenda for a regular school board meeting must be posted at least 72 hours prior to the meeting in a location that is freely accessible to the public and on the district’s website, if the district has a website. The agenda must contain a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting. The description must be sufficient to give the public notice of the items to be discussed or acted upon, but generally does not need to exceed 20 words. These requirements help to ensure the public’s business is conducted openly.
As a general rule, under Government Code section 54954.2, a governing board may not discuss any item that does not appear on the agenda posted for a regular meeting. However, the following exceptions allow the board to discuss and take actions on items that are not on the regular agenda (see Board Bylaw 9323.3, Actions By the Board):
- A two-thirds vote:
An action may be taken on an item that does not appear on the posted agenda if two-thirds of the members of the governing board vote that there is a need to take immediate action and that the need for action came to the attention of the board subsequent to the agenda being posted. This means that a five-member board would need at least four affirmative votes to discuss or take action on an item. If less than two-thirds of members of a board are present, then the vote must be unanimous.
- An emergency situation:
Boards may discuss and take action on a non-agenda item upon a determination by a majority vote of the board that an emergency situation exists, as defined in Government Code section 54956.5. An emergency situation is defined in part as a work stoppage, crippling activity or other activity that severely impairs public health, safety, or both, as determined by a majority of the members of the board.
Boards may also hold a special meeting on an item of business when necessary. Special meetings may be called at any time by the board president or by a majority of the members of a governing board. Boards must give 24-hours’ notice for a special meeting and post the agenda for the special meeting on the district’s website. The board may only discuss the business on the special meeting notice at the special meeting.
What liability will districts have if/when food service workers are found to be infected with COVID-19 and, upon hearing about that, families blame/sue the district for subsequent diagnoses of children or family members who handled/ate the food obtained from the district?
The general rule is a public entity (which includes school districts and county offices of education) is not liable except where a statute imposes liability. The statute that imposes the most “general liability” is negligence. Government Code § 815.2 imposes liability on public entities for negligent acts — for an injury proximately caused by an act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his or her employment if the act or omission would have given rise to a cause of action against that employee. Said another way, a public entity, as the employer, is generally liable for the torts (injuries) of an employee committed within the scope of employment if the employee is liable. In an action for tort (injury), to hold a school district employee liable (and by extension, the school district), a plaintiff would need to allege that a school district employee had a duty and they breached that duty by acting negligently. Because school attendance is mandatory (at least in grades 1 through 12, ages 6-18), the law deems that a “special relationship” exists between school personnel and students, such that school personnel have a duty to protect students while they are attending school or on school campuses. School personnel can breach their duty to students for foreseeable acts — acts that are foreseeable from the activity undertaken. For example, school personnel can breach their duty by failing to adequately supervise a child on a playground, resulting in the student being injured, or by failing to properly supervise teachers who abuse students, or by failing to dismiss employees who pose a risk to students.
The question asks, in general, whether liability can attach to a school district from the actions of a school district employee who has contracted COVID-19 providing food to a student/family, resulting in the student/family contracting COVID-19. There is no case holding a school district liable for injuries resulting from the provision of food thus far. Schools were deemed essential employers, and in addition, were required to provide food to students during the pandemic, due to the Governor’s executive order — and thus, there was a “duty” to provide food to students. In providing the food, did the employee (or the school district) act negligently? When a school district provides food to students, are the employees properly supervised such that anyone showing signs symptoms of COVID-19 was sent home, and cleaning was undertaken, or were directed to stay home if they needed to self-quarantine? Were the employees provided “adequate” personal protective equipment (PPE) (based upon the current county health officer’s recommendations at the time of the act) to deliver food to students?
If employees were properly supervised and were provided adequate PPE, we believe it would be difficult for a plaintiff to prove negligence, and thus, difficult to hold a school district liable for contracting COVID-19. There are two assumptions here that are important to defend the school district — that employees were properly supervised and directed to stay home if they had COVID-19 or had to self-quarantine; and that employees were provided adequate PPE (depending on the county health officer recommendations at the time the food was provided). If the employees were not adequately supervised, were directed to report to work in unhealthy or unsafe conditions, or were refused adequate PPE, liability could result. Unless the district failed to provide what was, at the time, deemed adequate PPE, or the district knew or should have known the employee was sick and failed to send them home, they should not have liability. Because school districts and county offices of education were deemed essential employers and were directed to continue to provide meals to students, those facts will work in the district’s favor when continuing to allow healthy or asymptomatic employees serve meals.
*Note: The information provided here by CSBA is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. Please contact your legal counsel for questions related to this information.
- Suggestions for educators on addressing the social and emotional needs of students from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
- Materials for schools and districts to support for their students and community around COVID-19 and pandemics from the National Association of School Psychiatrists
- Resources for COVID-19 from the California Association of School Psychologists
- Pandemic flu checklist: K-12 school administrators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Countering coronavirus stigma and racism: Tips for teachers and other educators from the National Association of School Psychologists
- Social-emotional learning resource hub from Poway Unified School District
- FAQ for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- California surgeon general’s playbook: Stress relief for caregivers and kids during COVID-19 guidance from the Office of the Surgeon General
- Tips for stress and coping from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak from the World Health Organization
- Crisis Text Line Text MHA to 741741 and be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line provides free, text-based support 24/7
- Disaster Health Helpline Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) provides crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S. experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including ublic health emergencies
- Teen Line Call (310) 855-4673 or Text TEEN to 839863 to be connected to peers to offer support and education
- Trevor Project Call (866) 488 -7386 or text START to 678678. A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth
- Help for Students in Crisis by California Department of Education
- Fostering connectedness in the pandemic era: Policy recommendations to support social, emotional, and academic development from The Aspen Institute
- Counseling from a distance from the California and Wisconsin associations of school counselors
- Distance learning guidance and appendices for K-12 schools from the California Department of Education
- Video: Best practices for online teaching from the Center for Distance and Online Learning
- “Three ways to turn your classroom remote in a hurry” article from KQED
- Resources for online learning during school closures from the National Education Association
- COVID-19 response: Preparing to take school online from the Consortium for School Networking
- Guides, daily schedules and tools for teachers and parents during school closures from Khan Academy
- Zoom Video Communications is temporarily lifting the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by the coronavirus
- 10 strategies for online learning during a coronavirus outbreak from the International Society for Technology in Education
- Kahoot! Premium is offering free access to any educational institution impacted by the coronavirus
- Helping teachers and students make the switch to remote learning article from Microsoft 365
- “With school closures, teachers can keep their lessons going remotely” blog article from Google
- Distance learning solutions from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
- Rapid response resources: COVID-19 from Policy Innovators in Education
- Rapid Transition to Online Learning from Academy of Learning Arts and Sciences
- Parent’s Guide to Google Classroom presentation from Google
- Getting Internet access: Available plans, list of telecom and data companies extending services on the California Department of Education website
- Office of Civil Rights short webinar on online education and website accessibility
- Guidance on COVID-19 school closures California Department of Education presentation slides from March 18 webinar (also includes slides with guidance related to child care, nutrition services and distance learning for students with disabilities)
- FAQ on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and implications for distance learning due to school closures from the U.S. Department of Education
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and virtual learning related resources from the U.S. Department of Education
- Resources and Solutions to Providing Connectivity from Connected Nation
- Internet options for students on low income by Reviews.com
- CSBA Sample Board Policy: Working Remotely (PDF) (Word)
- CSBA Sample Board Policy: Distance Learning (PDF) (Word)
- Digital Teaching & STEM Resources to Go Virtual by AVID Open Access
- Non-comprehensive list of publishers offering free distance learning resources from the California Department of Education
- Distance learning instructional resources by content area from the San Diego County Office of Education
- PBS LearningMedia, a free pre K-12 online library of curated resources for teachers from PBS
- Free daily projects and lessons for various grade levels from Scholastic
- Coronavirus lesson plans and resources shared on ShareMyLesson
- Discovery Education Experience request free access to Discovery Education Experience through the remainder of the school year
- Tools and lessons for virtual teaching and digital communication from Common Sense Media
- Education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings compiled by the Amazing Educational Resources Facebook group
- Stuck-at-Home Science by the California Science Center
- The ultimate guide to virtual museum resources, online collections and e-learning from MCN
- Central portal highlighting an array of distance learning resources from the Smithsonian
- Virtual field trips listing on Google Docs
- National Emergency Library by the Internet Archive
- Guide to making online learning more accessible, engaging and effective for students with disabilities from the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities
- List of the best special education applications and websites from Common Sense Media
- COVID-19 information for special educators (including a forum for members on how to adapt IEP services during school closures) from the Council for Exceptional Children
- Activities and strategies for families to support diverse learning at home for special populations from the New York City Department of Education
- Strategies and resources for ensuring that online learning supports students with IEPs from the State Educational Technology Directors Association
- Supporting individuals with autism through uncertain times from UNC Child Development Autism Team
Teaching special education online during COVID-19 webinar from the Council for Exceptional Children (recording)
- Addressing the risk of COVID-19 in preschool, elementary and secondary schools while serving children with disabilities fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
- Special education guidance for COVID-19 Q&A from the California Department of Education
- Special Considerations for Students with Exceptional Needs Related to School Closures Due to COVID-19 – Part 1 from Lozano Smith
- “How to handle IEPs during the coronavirus crisis? Some expert advice” article from Education Week
- Special education distance learning webinar notes from the California Department of Education
- Serving students with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis: Spotlight on policy & practice part 1: Providing a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) guidance from the National Center for Learning Disabilities
- Serving students with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis: Spotlight on policy & practice part 2: Family-school collaboration guidance from the National Center for Learning Disabilities
- Information Sheet for Prehearing Conference and Video Due Process Hearing from California Department of Education
- Implementation of Section 504 During COVID-19 School Closures – FAQ from Atkinson, Andelson, Loy, Rudd & Romo (AALRR)
- Collection of multilingual fact sheets and infographics from Colorín Colorado
- Repository of fact sheets, posters, multimedia resources and links to live updates in multiple languages about COVID-19 on Switchboard
- Thousands of videos in English/Spanish that include lessons, activities and visuals from Twig Education
- California-focused resources in English and Spanish on early learners for a range of stakeholders from Early Edge
- Providing services to English Learners during the COVID-19 outbreak from the U.S. Department of Education
- “How to talk to your kids about coronavirus” article from PBS
- Video: How to talk about COVID-19 with children from the Los Angeles County Office of Education
- Talking to children about COVID-19: A parent resource from the National Association of School Nurses Association and the National Association of School Psychologists
- Just for kids: A comic exploring the new coronavirus article from NPR
- Countering COVID-19 stigma and racism: Tips for parents and caregivers from the National Association of School Psychologists
- Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day! Tip sheets for families, caregivers and early learning educators from the U.S. Department of Education
- Curated lists of media to support home learning from Common Sense Media
- Free online enrichment resources for families compiled by Natomas Unified School District
- Educational toolkit for at-home learning from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy
- Supporting kids during the COVID-19 crisis: Tips for nurturing and protecting children at home from the Child Mind Institute
- Coronavirus and parenting: What you need to know now from NPR
- Guidance on school meals during closures from the California Department of Education
- Press release on USDA waiver to feed students during closures from the California Department of Education
- FAQs on Child Nutrition Program Meal Service during COVID-19 outbreaks from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Meals to You: Rural districts can apply for shelf-stable foods, packaged for five days at a time.
- Food safety and coronavirus: A comprehensive guide from Serious Eats
- State Guidance on Coronavirus Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Approval of California State Plan for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Information about P-EBT
- Q&A on providing services to children with disabilities during the coronavirus outbreak from the U.S. Department of Education
- Fact sheet: Addressing the risk of COVID-19 in schools while protecting the rights of students from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
- Fact Sheet: Impact of COVID-19 on assessments and accountability under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from the U.S. Department of Education
- COVID-19 resources from Lozano Smith
- Coronavirus news and alerts from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo
- COVID-19 resource page from Dannis Woliver Kelley
- COVID-19 resource page from Fagan Friedman & Fulfrost
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) guidance for ed. tech companies and schools during the coronavirus from the Federal Trade Commission
- Virtual Board Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance and Helpful Tips for Board Members and Superintendents
- Virtual Board Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance and Helpful Tips for Executive Assistants
- Virtual Board Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance and Helpful Tips for Board Presidents
- CARES Act – Federal Funding for COVID-19 Prevention by Lozano Smith
- SB 117 COVID-19 LEA Response Funds by the CDE
- Effective Cash Management During Uncertain Times by Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT)
- California Teleconnect Fund application information
- Preparing Budget Scenarios for 2020-21 by Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT)
- FAQs on Grading and Graduation Requirements by the California Department of Education
- The University of California’s Response to COVID-19: Admissions and Financial Aid
- COVID-19 Interim Impacts on CSU Undergraduate Admissions Policies and Practices
- AICCU Institution Activities to Serve High School Juniors and Seniors by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
- A blueprint for back to school: Guidance from the American Enterprise Institute
- Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic: Guidance on reopening schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Distance and hybrid learning playbooks to support California LEAs: Guidance from the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence
- COVID-19 Industry guidance: Schools and school-based programs: Guidance from the California Department of Public Health
- Stronger together: A guidebook for the safe reopening of California’s public schools: Guidance from the California Department of Education
- CIF Guidelines for Return to Physical Activity/Training by the California Interscholastic Federation
- Interim Considerations for K-12 School Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing from the CDC
- Joint statement from Higher Ed organizations
- COVID-19 Interim Impacts on CSU Undergraduate Admissions Policies and Practices
- The University of California’s Response to COVID-19: Admissions and Financial Aid
- Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU): AICCU Institution Activities to Serve High School Juniors and Seniors
- California Department of Education (CDE): FAQs on Grading and Graduation Requirements
- California Department of Public Health and California Department of Education Joint Guidance
- World Health Organization
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Considerations for school closures
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- The Educational Coalition
- Office of the Assembly-member Patrick O’Donnell
CSBA President Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez and staff are conducting a press tour of dozens of California and national media outlets. The press tour is the latest phase of CSBA’s multipronged effort to ensure the school board member perspective is included in discussions about reopening schools safely and effectively. In her remarks, Cruz-Gonzalez stresses that better coordination is needed between state leaders and local educational agencies and significant security, policy, and funding concerns must be met before a statewide return to on-campus instruction.
Please see below for clips from completed interviews and upcoming appearances.
- June 9: KUSI-IND (San Diego)
- June 9: KSJO-FM (San Francisco)
- June 9: KGO-AM (San Francisco)
- June 10: KCBS-CBS (Los Angeles)
- June 10: KPIX (San Francisco)
- June 10: KTVU-FOX (Los Angeles)
- June 11: KKFX-FOX (Santa Barbara)
- June 11: Radio Bilingue (National)
- June 12: ABC 10 News (San Diego)
- June 15: KMIR-TV (Palm Springs)
- June 15: KXTV-TV (Sacramento)
- May 1: KFBK-AM (Sacramento)
- May 1: KTVU-TV (San Francisco)
- May 3: KGO-TV (San Francisco)
- May 3: KPIX-TV (San Francisco)
- May 4: KUSI-TV (San Diego)
- May 4: KKFX-TV (Santa Barbara)
- May 4: KTNQ-AM (Los Angeles)
- May 4: KGO-AM (San Francisco)
- May 4: Radio Bilingue (National)
- May 4: KNBC-TV (Los Angeles)
- May 5: KTXL-TV (Sacramento)
- May 5: KFMB-TV (San Diego)
- May 5: KOGO-AM (San Diego)
- May 6: KXTV-TV (Sacramento)
- May 7: Radio Santisimo (Sacramento)
- May 7: KMIR-TV (Palm Springs)
- May 8: KUVS-TV (Sacramento)
- May 11: KSWB-TV (San Diego)
- May 11: KMET-AM (Riverside)
- May 11: KOGO-AM (San Diego)
- May 11: KXTV-TV (Sacramento)
- May 11: KTVU-TV (San Francisco)
- May 12: KCBS-TV (Los Angeles)
- May 13: KSTS-TV (San Francisco)
- May 14: FOX BUSINESS (National)
- May 14: KMET-AM (Riverside)
- May 14: KNBC-TV (Los Angeles)
- May 18: KNTV-TV (San Francisco)
- May 18: KTXL-TV (Sacramento)
- May 18: KFMB-TV (San Diego)
- May 20: KGTV-ABC (San Diego)