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Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19

FAQs about the closure of school in response to COVID-19, Form J-13A, the reporting of attendance for apportionment, and instructional time.

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

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 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 and the annual period apportionment includes all full school months from July 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020 for all local educational agencies (LEA).

Additional FAQs will continue to be posted to this web page as additional information becomes available.

COVID-19 School Closures

  1. If an LEA closes schools in response to COVID-19, will the LEA experience a loss in funding? (New 18-Mar-2020)

    No, provided the LEA certifies to the California Department of Education (CDE) that closure of the school(s) occurred to address 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? (New 18-Mar-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 Certification Form for COVID-19 Closure (COVID-19 Closure Form) (Coming Soon).

    An LEA does not need to submit the COVID-19 Closure Form now, but should submit the COVID-19 Closure Form to CDE as soon as possible once the emergency is over. This way the LEA can determine the exact number of school closure days to be included in the 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 that the J-13A approval process? (New 18-Mar-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 Certification Form for COVID-19 Closure rather than a Form J-13A request. The Certification Form for COVID-19 Closure (COVID-19 Closure Form) is available on CDE’s website (Coming Soon).

    The required certification is as follows:

    • County Office of Education: for county office programs, county superintendents must submit a certification to the SSPI of the number of days closed in response to COVID-19 and attest that the closure occurred to address COVID-19.

    • School District: for the closure of school district sites, district superintendents must submit a certification to the SSPI of the number of days closed in response to COVID-19 and attest that the closure occurred to address COVID-19.

    • Charter Schools: for the closure of charter school sites, charter school directors must submit a certification to the SSPI of the number of days closed in response to COVID-19 and attest that the closure occurred to address COVID-19.

  5. 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 second principal (P-2) and annual apportionment periods? (Updated 03-Apr-2020)

    For the purpose of preventing losses of attendance based funding as a result of reductions in ADA due to COVID-19, SB 117 provides that the ADA used for both the second period 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 local educational agencies for the 2019-20 school year and is in concurrence with the Department of Finance and the Legislature.

    In effect, SB 117 mitigates the effect of lost attendance due to COVID-19 that occurred after February 29, 2020. 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
  3. 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 #6 above for additional information.

  3. Are absences due to COVID-19 student illness or quarantine considered a qualified condition for a material decrease request? (New 18-Mar-2020)

    Yes, although due to SB 117, LEAs will be funded for attendance that was generated for all full school months through 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 a LEA’s last full school month up to February 29, 2020. To the extent a 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 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 #6 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

FAQs for this topic will be coming soon.

Questions:   Principal Apportionment Section | attendanceaccounting@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4541
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 7, 2020
Recently Posted in Allocations & Apportionments