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CDE FAQs for 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Frequently asked questions regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

1) Why didn't California close all of the public schools statewide at the same time in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

School closure decisions are not easy and are made with the safety of students and staff as the top priority. For California’s more than 1,000 districts and 10,000 schools, school closure decisions are made at the local level, by the district or charter school, in cooperation with their local public health officials.

2) Does the California Department of Education (CDE) have a list of school closures?

Nearly all of California’s public schools are closed at this time. Contact your local school district or county office of education for specific information.

3) Will schools lose funding if they are temporarily closed?

On March 13, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order regarding the physical closure of schools by local educational agencies (LEAs) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order provides that even if schools close temporarily because of COVID-19, LEAs will continue to receive state funding for those days so that they can:

  • Continue delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students to the extent feasible through, among other options, distance learning, and/or independent study;
  • Safely provide school meals through the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option, consistent with the requirements of the California Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • To the extent practicable, arrange for supervision for students during ordinary school hours;
  • Continue to pay employees.

This funding is conditional upon submitting a certification form to CDE. Please see https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/covidfaqs.asp for more information about funding as it relates to COVID-19 school closures.

4) Are meals still available for students?

Yes, the CDE has updated the CA Meals for Kids mobile application with a layer for “Emergency Meal Sites” to continue to serve students during school closure. Information about the app is on the CDE web page: https://www.cde.ca.gov/re/mo/cameals.asp.

We also recommend contacting your local school or district for the latest school meal site information. The federal child nutrition meal programs administered by the CDE have approved flexibilities in place to support local communities during the COVID-19 school site closures.

For complete information on meals being distributed during COVID-19 school closures, please visit https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/schoolmeals.asp.

5) Are meals being served to students in a way that promotes social distancing?

Yes. Some districts are distributing “grab and go” meals take-out style. Others are allowing students to eat at school following social distancing protocols. Check with your school or district for more information

6) Has statewide assessment testing been suspended?

On March 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order to waive, pending federal approval, statewide testing requirements for the 2019–2020 academic years. The State Board of Education is seeking waiver authority afforded by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies to cancel testing requirements.

7) Have the State Special Schools, which includes California’s School for the Blind and School for the Deaf been closed?

The California School for the Blind and the California School for the Deaf are physically closed until further notice, but are now offering distance learning opportunities for their students.

8) What is meant by “distance learning”?

Distance learning is defined as when the student and the instructor are in two different locations. Instructional methods vary depending on the needs of the student. Possible methods include online instruction, televised instruction, and independent study packets. You can find more information about distance learning here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/distancelearning.asp.

9) Are schools required to take daily attendance of distance learning students?

As a result of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 13, 2020, local educational agencies (LEAs) will not be penalized for not offering regular school days as result of closure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. LEAs that certify that they closed school due to COVID-19 will not receive instructional day and minute penalties for COVID-19 closures. Average Daily Attendance will be based on full school months only from July 1 to February 29 * for the 2019-20 academic year.

* Full school months in the preceding paragraph previously indicated 'June 1 to February 29, but this has been updated to be 'July 1 to February 29. (Updated 01-Apr-2020)

While LEAs should not record regular daily attendance on school closure days for apportionment purposes, LEAs are encouraged to track participation and engagement in distance learning while schools are closed. LEAs should work with their software vendors to ensure that tracking participation in distance learning is done separately from regular attendance accounting.

10) Should teachers be grading assignments that are being sent to distance learning students whose schools have closed from the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

It is a local decision to require graded work from students. The California Department of Education will be providing guidance on best practices on grading for distance learning options. Part of that guidance will include an understanding that grading assignments should not be punitive to students during this time.

11) During the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus and the shift to distance learning, must local educational agencies (LEAs) continue to implement their Mathematics Placement Policy pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 51224.7?

The Mathematics Placement Act of 2015 External link opens in new window or tab., set forth in EC Section 51224.7, requires that governing boards or bodies of LEAs that serve pupils entering grade nine have a mathematics placement policy in place, with specified elements, for pupils entering grade nine.

The decision of how a LEA is to implement its Mathematics Placement Policy is a local one. During this time of distance learning, each governing board or body of a LEA will need to determine what action(s), if any, to take regarding its Mathematics Placement Policy for mathematics course placement for the 2020-21 school year. As equity is at the heart of the Mathematics Placement Act, it is pertinent to note that each policy is required to have a checkpoint within the first month of the school year. For more information see the Algebra I/Mathematics I Graduation Requirements web page.

12) COVID-19 and Physical Education Exemption

During Executive Order N-56-20 due to the coronavirus, which waives the requirement of the PFT, are LEAs able to provide a temporary or permanent exemption from PE pursuant to California EC Section 51241(b)(1)?

EC Section 51241(b)(1) External link opens in new window or tab. states:

The governing board of a school district or the office of the county superintendent of schools of a county, with the consent of a pupil, the authority to grant a pupil an exemption from courses in physical education for two years anytime during grades 10 to 12, inclusive, if the pupil has met satisfactorily at least five of the six standards of the physical performance test administrated in grade 9 pursuant to Section 60800.

If an LEA was not able to administer the PFT in grade nine to a pupil in the 2019–20 school year, the pupil will not be eligible for a PE exemption in the 2020–21 school year pursuant to EC 51241(b)(1).

Each governing board of a school district or the office of the county superintendent of schools of an LEA will need to determine what action(s), if any, to take regarding its policy for providing exemptions pursuant to EC 51241(b)(1) for the 2020–21 school year.

13) COVID-19 and Physical Education Exemption

During Executive Order N-56-20 due to the coronavirus and shift to distance learning, which waives the minimum instructional minutes in PE for grades one through twelve, are LEAs still required to provide PE instruction?

EC sections 51210(a)(7) External link opens in new window or tab., 51220(d) External link opens in new window or tab., 51222 External link opens in new window or tab., and 51223 External link opens in new window or tab., requiring minimum instructional minutes in PE for grades one through twelve, are waived.

Although the minimum instructional minutes for PE have been waived, PE requirements have not changed. LEAs will still be required to provide PE instruction and should provide distance learning options in alignment with local policy. Local policy will determine implementation of PE based on student need and access to resources. The CDE Resources that Support Distance Learning web page provides resources to assist LEAs in providing distance learning for PE. For more information see the PE FAQ web page.

Questions:   California Department of Education | COVID19@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 6, 2020
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