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Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the closure of schools in response to COVID-19, the reporting of attendance for apportionment, and instructional time for the 2019–20 school year.

CDE's Main Coronavirus (COVID-19) Web Page

The information on this page is only applicable to the 2019–20 school year.

Executive Order and Senate Bill 117

Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-26-20 dated March 13, 2020 External link opens in new window or tab. established a streamlined process for school closures in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in lieu of the existing process for submitting Requests for Allowance of Attendance Due to Emergency Conditions (Form J-13A).

In addition, on March 16, 2020, the California Legislature passed and, on March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed, Senate Bill (SB) 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020) External link opens in new window or tab.. This bill is a companion to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-26-20 and mitigates the effect of lost attendance due to COVID-19 that occurred after February 29, 2020. For the purpose of preventing losses of attendance-based funding as a result of reductions in average daily attendance (ADA) due to COVID-19 this legislation provides that the ADA used for both the second period (P-2) and the Annual period apportionment includes all full school months from July 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020 for all local educational agencies (LEAs).

COVID-19 School Closures

  1. If an LEA closes schools in response to COVID-19, will the LEA experience a loss in funding? (Updated 25-Jun-2020)

    No, provided the LEA certifies to the California Department of Education (CDE) that closure of the school(s) was in response to COVID-19.

  2. If an LEA closes school in response to COVID-19, does a Form J-13A school closure request need to be submitted to CDE? (Updated 25-Jun-2020)

    No, in-lieu of the Form J-13A (Revised December 2017), an LEA that closed school in response to COVID-19 must submit to the CDE the COVID-19 School Closure Certification.

  3. Do I need a letter of substantiation from my local public health office for a COVID-19 school closure? (New 18-Mar-2020)

    No. While initially a letter from the local public health office was required to substantiate a COVID-19 school closure, the March 13, 2020 Executive Order N-26-20 provides the authority to reduce the number of school days offered for the 2019-20 school year by the number of days school was closed in response to COVID-19 without substantiation from the local public health office.

  4. In what way is the COVID-19 closure certification different than the J-13A approval process? (Updated 25-Jun-2020)

    Due to the provisions in the Governor’s March 13, 2020 Executive Order N-26-20 and SB 117 regarding school closures, LEAs that close in response to COVID-19 need to submit a COVID-19 School Closure Certification rather than a Form J-13A request.

    LEAs are required to certify the schools and number of days closed in response to COVID-19 and attest that the closure occurred to address COVID-19.

  5. Who should file a COVID-19 School Closure Certification? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    Any LEA that experienced a school closure due to COVID-19 should file a COVID-19 School Closure Certification.

  6. How do I access the COVID-19 School Closure Certification? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    The superintendent or charter school director of each LEA as listed in the California School Directory should have received an email from the CDE with an access code that has been assigned to that LEA.

  7. Can an LEA retrieve their access code if it has been lost or misplaced? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    Yes. The LEA can send an email to COVID19ClosureCert@cde.ca.gov for a copy of their access code.

  8. Is there a deadline for filing a COVID-19 School Closure Certification? (Updated 06-Jul-2020)

    There is no deadline for submitting the COVID-19 School Closure Certification. An LEA should submit the COVID-19 School Closure Certification to the CDE as soon as possible once the emergency is over. This way the LEA can determine the exact number of school closure days due to COVID-19 to be included in the certification. While there is no statutory deadline for submitting the COVID-19 School Closure Certification, for purposes of charter school funding based on 2019–20 Annual ADA and days of operation, charter schools should submit the COVID-19 School Closure Certification no later than August 1, 2020 in order for the closure days to be included in the total days of operation when the 2020–21 First Quarter Lottery Apportionment is calculated, and no later than October 1, 2020 in order for the closure days to be included in the total days of operation when the 2019–20 Annual Principal Apportionment is calculated.

  9. Can a charter school submit with their authorizing school district or county office of education? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    No. Charter schools, dependent or otherwise, must file separately from their authorizing school district or county office of education.

  10. What is the definition of a school closure for the COVID-19 School Closure Certification? (New 04-Aug-2020)

    For the COVID-19 School Closure Certification, a school closure day means the following:

    • A day that the local educational agency (LEA) was not able to offer a scheduled instructional day because the physical school site(s) was closed due to COVID-19.

    • A day that the LEA was not able to offer a scheduled instructional day because the physical school site(s) was closed due to COVID-19 and instruction was offered through distance learning.

    We understand that an LEA may have continued to offer distance learning while school sites were physically closed and all students were not able to physically attend school under the immediate supervision of a certificated employee of the LEA. However, it is not possible to meet the instructional time requirements through distance learning in fiscal year 2019–20. When an LEA does not meet the instructional time requirements, it is considered a school closure day for the purposes of attendance accounting and instructional time. Any LEA that experienced a school closure due to COVID-19 should file a COVID-19 School Closure Certification to avoid an instructional time audit finding.

    For the COVID-19 School Closure Certification, the LEA should report all school closure days (based on the definitions provided above) during their COVID-19 school closure period. For most LEAs this will be a lengthy span of instructional days that extends from the initial closure date through the end of the calendared school year. If the LEA’s 2019–20 school calendar included any built-in days, please reference Frequently Asked Questions #11, 25 and 26.

  11. How will built-in days be credited if they fall within the period that school was closed for COVID-19? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    To the extent that the LEA was unable to use the built-in days included in the calendar because the built-in days fell within the period that schools had to close to address COVID-19, the LEA will receive credit for the built-in days that they were unable to offer by including those days in the COVID-19 School Closure Certification submitted to the CDE.

  1. Is it possible to make changes to the COVID-19 School Closure Certification after it has been submitted to the CDE? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    Yes, it is possible. The LEA can send an email request to the CDE at COVID19ClosureCert@cde.ca.gov to unlock their previous certification submission.

  2. Will LEAs receive additional funding after submitting a COVID-19 School Closure Certification? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    No. The COVID-19 School Closure Certification is used to certify to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) that an LEA was closed due to COVID-19 pursuant to Executive Order N-26-20 and SB 117, (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020). LEAs that certify that they closed school due to COVID-19 will not receive instructional day and minute penalties for COVID-19 closures.

  3. Is CDE’s acceptance of a school closure certification in response to COVID-19 conditional on an LEA complying with the requirements in #2 of the Executive Order? (New 18-Mar-2020)

    No, although LEAs are being held harmless to a loss in K-12 ADA based school funding as to not disrupt the school system and as such are expected to the extent possible based on local circumstances, to provide services to students in the three areas highlighted in paragraph 2 of the Executive Order and to continue paying staff as reasonably anticipated if the school had not closed.

Calculating and Reporting P-2 and Annual Attendance

  1. How did SB 117 change how ADA is calculated for the P-2 and Annual apportionment periods? (Updated 25-Jun-2020)

    SB 117 provides that the ADA used for both the P-2 and the Annual period apportionment includes all full school months from July 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020. The application of this provision applies to all ADA reported by LEAs for the 2019-20 school year and is in concurrence with the Department of Finance and the Legislature. This bill is a companion to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-26-20.

  2. How does the language in the Executive Order and in Section 2 of SB 117 impact programs where attendance is calculated with a fixed divisor? (Updated 05-May-2020)

    Programs where attendance is calculated using a fixed divisor are permitted to reduce their divisor for the 2019-20 P-2 and Annual reporting periods. There are specific instructions for P-2 and Annual because there are different fixed divisors for each reporting period. This information does not apply to Extended Year Special Education.

    Instructions for the P-2 reporting period:

    Step 1: When calculating attendance for programs with a fixed divisor for P-2, LEAs will need to determine their last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020. Depending on the start date of the LEA's calendar and whether or not they include all, one or none of the school weeks used for winter break, their last full school month will end on either February 7, February 14, February 21, or February 28, 2020.

    Step 2: The LEA should calculate the difference in number of school days between the last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020 and what their last full school month would have been under the original P-2 cutoff date of April 15, 2020. Please note that holidays or planned non-instructional days should not be included in determining the number of school days offered or planned to be offered.

    • If the February cutoff date is February 7, 2020, the LEA’s original cutoff date is April 3, 2020.
    • If the February cutoff date is February 14, 2020, the LEA’s original cutoff date is April 10, 2020.
    • If the February cutoff date is February 21, 2020, the LEA’s original cutoff date is March 20, 2020.
    • If the February cutoff date is February 28, 2020, the LEA’s original cutoff date is March 27, 2020.

    Step 3: To calculate the divisor used for the February 29, 2020 cutoff period for P-2, LEAs operating a fixed divisor program should subtract the number of school days between their last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020 and their last full school month ending on or before April 15 from 135. The result is the divisor to be used for calculating ADA for the P-2 reporting period for the fixed divisor programs.

    Example: P-2 fixed divisor of 135


    Step 1: Last full school month ending on or before February 29 = February 21

    Step 2: Last full school month ending on or before April 15 (original P-2 cutoff date) = March 20
    • Total number of school days between February 21 and March 20 = 19

    Step 3: Subtract 19 from 135, which equals 116. The result is the divisor to be used for calculating ADA for the P-2 reporting period for the fixed divisor programs.

    Instructions for the Annual reporting period:

    Step 1: When calculating attendance for programs with a fixed divisor for Annual, LEAs will need to determine their last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020. Depending on the start date of the LEA's calendar and whether or not they include all, one or none of the school weeks used for winter break, their last full school month will end on either February 7, February 14, February 21, or February 28, 2020.

    Step 2: The LEA should calculate the difference in number of school days between the last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020 and their original Annual cutoff date of June 30, 2020. Please note that holidays or planned non-instructional days should not be included in determining the number of school days offered or planned to be offered.

    Step 3: To calculate the divisor used for the February 29, 2020 cutoff period for Annual, LEAs operating a fixed divisor program should subtract the number of school days between their last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020 and their original Annual cutoff date of June 30 from 175 or 180. The result is the divisor to be used for calculating ADA for the Annual reporting period for the fixed divisor programs.

    Example 1: Community day school – Annual fixed divisor of 180

    Step 1: Last full school month ending on or before February 29 = February 21

    Step 2: Original Annual cutoff date of June 30 = May 15
    • Total number of school days between February 21 and May 15 = 53

    Step 3: Subtract 53 from 180, which equals 127. The result is the divisor to be used for calculating ADA for the Annual reporting period for the fixed divisor programs.

    Example 2: Juvenile court school – Annual fixed divisor of 175

    Step 1: Last full school month ending on or before February 29 = February 7

    Step 2: Original Annual cutoff date of June 30 = June 26
    • Total number of school days between February 7 and June 26 = 98


Step 3: Subtract 98 from 175, which equals 77. The result is the divisor to be used for calculating ADA for the Annual reporting period for the fixed divisor programs.

  1. How are school months determined for average daily attendance reporting? (New 18-Mar-2020)

    For the purpose of attendance accounting, the attendance calendar begins either the week of July 1 or the first week that students are scheduled to attend. Each school month consists of four weeks, five days each. All school months consist of 20 days, begin on a Monday, and end on a Friday. Winter break may be included or excluded when configuring the school months for ADA reporting. A school month for the purpose of attendance accounting differs from a normal calendar month.

    It is common for charter schools to operate a five-day school week, however charter schools have the option to operate up to a six or seven-day school week (Sunday-Saturday). If the charter school offers classes on the weekend, it is counted as another instructional day and would be included in their divisor when calculating their ADA. Each school month consists of four full school weeks.

  2. Should LEAs claim attendance for apportionment for participation in independent study or other types of distance learning while school is closed in response to COVID-19? (New 18-Mar-2020)

    No. For purposes of attendance accounting to claim apportionment, days school is closed are considered non-instructional days. Although LEAs are encouraged to provide independent study or other types of distance learning to the extent possible while closed, no attendance for apportionment should be claimed for days that school was closed. See question #14 above for additional information.

  3. Are absences due to COVID-19 student illness or quarantine considered a qualified condition for a material decrease request? (Updated 25-Jun-2020)

    Yes, although due to SB 117, LEAs will be funded for attendance that was generated for all full school months ending on or before February 29, 2020. With the shorter window for ADA, a material decrease is only needed for losses of attendance that occurred prior to the end of an LEA’s last full school month ending on or before February 29, 2020. To the extent an LEA has a material loss of attendance due to students with COVID-19 symptoms or quarantine prior to the end of February 29, 2020 please contact the CDE at attendanceaccounting@cde.ca.gov for additional guidance.

  4. Will the May 1, 2020 P-2 reporting deadline for attendance stay the same? (New 03-April-2020)

    Yes. The P-2 ADA reported to CDE by the May 1, 2020 reporting deadline is used to determine an LEA’s June 2020 Principal Apportionment and Education Protection Account payments and this data is needed in order for CDE to determine an LEA’s accurate and appropriate funding level. Given the adjustment to the P-2 attendance period as a result of SB 117 (see question #14 for more information), LEAs are encouraged to prepare the P-2 attendance reports now and do their best to provide accurate data to the CDE by the May 1, 2020 reporting deadline. Please note, LEAs will have an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments to reported ADA after the May 1, 2020 P-2 deadline which will be reflected in the LEA’s 2019-20 Annual Apportionment that will be certified with the 2020-21 First Principal (P-1) Apportionment. A complete list of due dates is available on the Principal Apportionment Deadlines, FY 2019–20 web page.

Instructional Days and Minutes

  1. Did SB 117 change the instructional time requirements for LEAs in the 2019-20 fiscal year? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    No. LEAs have the same annual instructional day and minute requirements in fiscal year 2019-20. Executive Order N-26-20 and SB 117 provided a mechanism for LEAs that closed due to COVID-19 to receive instructional time credit for the instructional days and minutes they would have offered if they had not closed schools.

  2. Does an LEA meet the instructional time requirements if the LEA closed school due to COVID-19 and offered distance learning? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    No. For purposes of attendance accounting and instructional time, days school is closed are considered non-instructional days even with offering students distance learning on those days. These closure days due to COVID-19 should be included in the COVID-19 School Closure Certification.

  3. Will LEAs that had to close school due to the COVID-19 receive instructional time penalties? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    For the 2019-20 fiscal year, LEAs that certify that they closed school due to COVID-19 will not receive instructional day and minute penalties for COVID-19 school closures. Instructional days and minutes that an LEA would otherwise have offered students to meet the instructional time requirements during the period of time the school was closed due to COVID–19 will be deemed to be met, provided the LEA certify to the SSPI that the school was closed due to COVID–19.

  4. How will auditors confirm that an LEA has submitted a COVID-19 School Closure Certification to the CDE? (New 04-Aug-2020)

    Once the LEA has submitted their COVID-19 School Closure Certification, they should print a copy of the submission for their LEA’s records and to provide to their LEA’s independent auditor. They may use the same access code to logon to the COVID-19 School Closure Certification web page to access the LEA’s submission.

  5. How will auditors verify that an LEA has met the annual instructional day and minute requirements for the 2019–20 fiscal year? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    Auditors will use the procedures in the 2019-20 Guide for Annual Audits of K-12 Local Education Agencies and State Compliance Reporting External link opens in new window or tab. to verify if LEAs are in compliance with the annual instructional day and minute requirements. For LEAs that closed due to COVID-19, auditors will verify that the LEA submitted a COVID-19 School Closure Certification for the days that they were closed due to COVID-19. For LEAs that submitted a COVID-19 School Closure Certification, auditors will credit LEAs the instructional days and minutes that were scheduled to be offered per the LEA’s bell schedules and calendars that were in effect prior to the COVID-19 closure.

  6. If an LEA had a planned built-in emergency day that fell within the COVID-19 school closure period, will the LEA lose the opportunity to use that built-in emergency day to make up for a previous school closure day to avoid instructional time penalties? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    If the LEA had a built-in emergency day scheduled on the school calendar that fell within the COVID-19 school closure period, then the LEA would be able to include that built-in emergency day in the COVID-19 School Closure Certification. The LEA would receive instructional time credit for the instructional days and minutes for days included in the COVID-19 School Closure Certification, including the built-in emergency day(s) that were planned to be offered during the COVID-19 school closure period.

  7. If an LEA did not use their built-in emergency day scheduled prior to the COVID-19 school closure period, will the LEA incur any instructional time penalties? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    If the LEA had a built-in emergency day that was scheduled on the school calendar to be offered on a date that occurred prior to the COVID-19 school closure period, then the LEA should have used that built-in emergency day to make up for other emergency closures that occurred earlier in the school year. The LEA would not be able to include built-in emergency days that were scheduled to be offered on a date that occurred prior to the COVID-19 school closure period in the COVID-19 School Closure Certification. Therefore, the LEA would receive instructional time penalties for failing to meet the instructional time requirements if the instructional day and minutes of the LEA’s built-in emergency day was needed to meet the instructional time requirements.

  8. If an LEA was aware of its instructional time shortfall and was planning to make up the instructional days and/or minutes later in the school year but was unable to do so due to the COVID-19 school closure, will the LEA incur any instructional time penalties? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    Possibly. If the LEA had modified their school calendar and/or bell schedules to include the additional make up instructional time prior to closing due to COVID-19, then the auditor would be able to credit the make-up instructional days and/or minutes that the LEA planned to offer in the 2019-20 fiscal year even though the LEA had to close due to COVID-19. If the LEA was aware of its instructional time shortfall but did not make any adjustments to their school calendar and/or bell schedules prior to closing due to COVID-19, then the LEA would have instructional time penalties.

  9. Does the February 29 cutoff date apply to the days of operation field on the charter school entry screen in the Principal Apportionment Data Collection (PADC) Software? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    The February 29 cutoff date applies to the P-2 and Annual reporting periods and not the days of operation field on the charter school entry screen in PADC Software (see question #28 for more information).

  10. What should be reported in the days of operation field on the charter school entry screen in the PADC Software? (New 25-Jun-2020)

    For the days of operation field, charter schools should report the actual days of instruction offered in FY 2019-20. It should not include any adjustments for approved J-13A waivers or days when school was closed due to COVID-19 and offering distance learning. For purposes of attendance accounting to claim apportionment, days school is closed are considered non-instructional days. Therefore, non-instructional days should not be included in the days of operation field.

Questions:   Principal Apportionment Section | attendanceaccounting@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4541
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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