Dear Migrant Education Program (MEP) Directors and Identification and Recruitment (I&R) Coordinators:
Guidance for I&R Activities During COVID-19
Beginning July 1, 2020
The California Department of Education (CDE) Migrant Education Office (MEO) has closely monitored the status of the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months, including information from the Governor’s Office and reputable health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, the CDE MEO has gathered information and feedback directly from the field by way of virtual meetings with the State I&R Advisory Committee and California’s I&R Coordinators Network. These meetings focused on the evolving needs and challenges in I&R at the local level. The health and well-being of migrant education staff, students, parents, and their families continues to be at the forefront of our priorities.
On the basis of information gathered, the following updated guidance for California I&R activities is being issued for July 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020 (subject to updates as necessary). This guidance will supersede prior COVID-19 guidance issued for I&R.
Given the size and diversity of California, the effects of COVID-19, and the variability of readiness at the local level for a cautious and safe reopening, local county and district policies and guidelines differ notably across the state. The differences are such that the CDE recognizes the need for a more locally controlled approach to I&R activities.
The CDE continues to recommend remote recruiting as the safest option for I&R staff and migratory families and youths. However, beginning July 1, 2020, MEP subgrantees will be allowed flexibility to adopt an approach to recruiting depending on the Governor’s guidance and their local needs and ability to conduct I&R activities safely with the completion of a self-certification form. The two options for local recruiting are as follows:
Option 1. Continue following the remote recruiting protocol in place since April 3, 2020 (see Remote Recruiting Protocol below and at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/me/mt/remoterecruit.asp).
Option 2. Determine locally what is the best and safest way to move forward with I&R activities, with the requirement that the MEP subgrantee has a written plan and self-certifies that its modified approach to I&R activities complies with local county or district policies and health guidelines (see Attachment A, MEP Self-Certification for Safe Local I&R Operations During COVID-19 form at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/me/mt/documents/irguidancecert.docx).
- The no-contact recruitment method, Option 1, is the preferred, cautious approach.
- As allowed by the US Department of Education’s May 11 guidance in response to COVID-19, in-person interviewee signatures continue to be waived during this updated guidance period (July 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020) for both options, as long as the instructions to handle signatures described in the Remote Recruiting Protocol are followed.
- Subgrantees may adopt either option for part of or the entire duration of this guidance period (July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020).
- Multi-county and multidistrict subgrantees may adopt Option 1 and Option 2 for different geographical areas if necessary and if doing so is in the best interest of the health and safety of migrant education staff, students, parents, and their families. To do this, subgrantees would be required to complete the Self-Certification for Safe Local I&R Operations During COVID-19 form for the specific areas operating under Option 2.
- Any subgrantee electing to follow Option 2 is responsible for reevaluating and modifying their self-certified local I&R practices immediately (including returning to remote recruiting if necessary), should the California Department of Public Health, the Governor, or local health department issue stricter orders due to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.
- Options 1 and 2 also apply to state and local re-interviews (except for the not-applicable procedural steps, such as the interview framework and signatures handling instructions).
Remote Recruiting Protocol
Migratory families and youths may be recruited and enrolled remotely (e.g., through video calls or telephone calls) and the requirement for signatures on Certificates of Eligibility (COEs) is waived if the following steps are taken:
- Recruiters must continue to use the Interview Framework (eligibility screening pattern) to determine the eligibility of families and youths before completing the COE.
- After recruiters have determined eligibility and have completed a COE electronically (through the Migrant Student Information Network [MSIN] system), they must explain to the interviewee the statements in Sections IX and X of the COE and attain verbal agreement.
- Once this verbal agreement is attained, recruiters must write “See XII” in the interviewee’s signature box in Section IX. This can be done with a stylus pen, mouse, or other method normally used.
- Recruiters must add the following note in Section XII Local Comments, exactly as written here:
Sections IX and X: In accordance with the state’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place order and guidance, verbal agreement was obtained from the interviewee in lieu of signatures.
- Interviewer and designated State Educational Agency (SEA) Reviewer signatures are still required in Section XI.
- Recruiters are responsible for securing personally identifiable information (pii) according to local and state data privacy policies.
Important note: SEA Reviewers must not verify a COE if these steps are not followed or the date of the recruiter’s signature does not fall within the term of the remote recruiting guidance (April 3, 2020, through December 31, 2020).
You can stay informed and find useful information on how different industries have modified their operations in response to COVID-19 by following the resource links provided below:
- California Governor’s Office: https://www.gov.ca.gov/
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH): https://www.cdph.ca.gov/
- US Department of Education COVID-19 Response: https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus
- CDE MEO FAQs on COVID-19: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/me/mt/mepcovidfaq.asp
- Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safer Opening of California’s Public Schools: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/documents/strongertogether.pdf
- Statewide Industry Guidance to Reduce Risk: https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/
- CDC Contact Tracing: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/open-america/contact-tracing/index.html
The situation with COVID-19 continues to change daily; therefore, updates will be provided as often as necessary in response to federal and state guidance. Questions regarding state I&R policy can be directed to Jamie Contreras, Education Programs Consultant, Migrant Education Office, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 916-319-0391.
Thank you for everything you do to care for the health and well-being of your staff and families.
Celina Torres, Administrator
Migrant Education Office