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Migrant Education Program FAQs - COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions related to supplemental Migrant Education Program services during school closures due to COVID-19.

This web page provides responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Migrant Education Program (MEP) and the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Where can the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 be found?

For the most up to date information on COVID-19, visit the Official California State Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California External link opens in new window or tab. website.

For information on how to keep families and staff safe visit the California Department of Public Health External link opens in new window or tab. website.

For updates on statewide education policy guidance, visit the California Department of Education (CDE) Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.

Additional information is also available from the U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

Is there any financial assistance for undocumented workers in California?

California has set up funding to help support undocumented workers during the Coronavirus crisis, providing $125 million through a public-private partnership. The state will contribute $75 million to the fund, with the remaining $50 million coming from private philanthropic partners.

A group of 12 immigrant-focused nonprofits across the state will help roughly 150,000 undocumented adults impacted by the virus apply for the funds. The application period begins May 18 and runs through June 30.

The one-time payments will be $500 per adult, with a cap of $1,000 per household.

To be eligible, they must:

  • be at least 18 years old and undocumented
  • be ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief like the CARES Act
  • have experienced a hardship due to the virus

It’s imperative that we get this information to our families as soon as possible as applicants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and must reach out to the organization that is serving their county.

Please visit the California Department of Social Services Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants web page External link opens in new window or tab. to identify the organizations within your counties that are accepting applications.

Program Application and Instructional Activities

When is the funding application due?

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) funding application due dates remain the same (April 6, 2020, for Direct-Funded Districts and May 7, 2020, for Migrant Regions) in order to expedite grant approvals and disbursement of funds. However, local MEPs will not be penalized if the application arrives late. If applications will be submitted late, please contact the assigned CDE staff and provide a date for submission.

If local MEPs are concerned about programmatic changes that may take place in July 2020, please utilize the pre-approval process to request program changes once the application is approved.
Should MEP-funded local educational agencies cancel services and/or activities?

To determine if public events or student services and/or activities need to be cancelled or postponed, please follow the guidance of the local Superintendent. For example, if the Superintendent has closed the schools, subgrantees will not be able to have students enroll in services and activities. As school closures continue to extend into the summer, the CDE Migrant Education Office (MEO) recommends local MEPs plan to implement distance learning activities.

Can local MEPs plan distance learning services?

Yes. In the absence of providing onsite instruction, the local MEP needs to develop online programming, tutorials, and hard-copy study guides and packets to meet individual student needs. The local MEPs should also begin thinking about adapting and modifying other needed services to be made available virtually. For example, local MEPs may wish to deploy tele-health services and have counselors call families in their homes. Information on COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools is available from the CDE Distance Learning web page.

Will MEP distance learning services supplement core instruction?

Yes. To avoid supplanting, follow the recommended steps below:

  • Communicate with the district to determine how the core program will be deployed via online instruction.
  • Determine when core instruction is taking place.
  • Work with the local teacher to determine student academic needs.
  • Plan to offer supplemental MEP services that support student academic needs during a time when core instruction is not being offered.
Do MEPs still need to adhere to the teacher requirement for online course completion?

Federal guidance states that online credit accrual services require a credentialed staff to oversee online services. However, as online curriculum must be district approved, please contact the local district where the student is enrolled to determine the local policy for proxying exams for online learning during school closures. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) and the SBE issued guidance on this topic available on the CDE FAQs on Grading and Graduation Requirements web page.

How does CDE determine summer services?

For your grant application, summer services in the application align with the fiscal year July 1 through June 30.

For your funding, summer services are used to determine the Category 2 count (number of unique students served during the summer) which is part of the MEP grant funding formula. For the Category 2 count, summer services are counted by performance period, September 1 through August 31, just like the C1 county (the number of unique students).

For summer minutes required by the Education Code Section 54444.3, minutes are determined for your summer period, per your school calendar. For example, if summer if June through August, CDE looks at your programs in June, July, and August. This may cover two of your applications such as June from one fiscal year, and July and August from the next fiscal year.

Can I provide a distance learning service to a student in another state and count it as a Category II (summer) service?

Migrant Education Program (MEP) services are not limited to a face-to-face format and States may include children served remotely during  the summer in their Category II child counts, even if the children have moved to another State for the summer.

A child residing in another State may be included in California’s Category II child count, assuming all of the following are true: the child is included in California’s Category I child count for the performance reporting period, the child is still MEP-eligible while being served by the California MEP during the summer, and the California MEP is providing a “service” as defined it in the non-regulatory guidance (NRG).

The NRG states the following: “Services” are those educational or educationally related activities that: (1) directly benefit a migrant child; (2) address a need of a migrant child consistent with the SEA’s comprehensive needs assessment and service delivery plan; (3) are grounded in scientifically based research or, in the case of support services, are a generally accepted practice; and (4) are designed to enable the program to meet its measurable outcomes and contribute to the achievement of the State’s performance targets.

Read U.S. Department of Education's Non-Regulatory Guidance External link opens in new window or tab. (DOCX), page 53, for further information.

State Service Delivery Plan

Will there be a modification to the State Service Delivery Plan (SSDP) to allow non-certificated staff to provide instructional support?

No. Teacher preparation requirements will not be waived. If the State Board of Education (SBE) issues policy to waive teacher requirements for the core program, the MEP will adjust accordingly.

Has the Office of Migrant Education (OME) provided any guidance on modifying the SSDP measurable program objectives (MPOs) requirements due to COVID-19?

Yes. In order to address these extraordinary circumstances, the OME offers two possible approaches to MEP MPOs that your State may wish to consider:

  • Continue to apply the current MPOs and in documenting the results, note the circumstances that contributed to not meeting the previously established targets and/or missing data for this period (e.g., pandemic-related modifications to services and waiver of Statewide assessments).
  • Document a modified plan for MEP services for summer 2020 and include this information as an Appendix or Addendum to the current SS DP. The Appendix or Addendum should clearly specify why the modifications are necessary, the assessed needs upon which the modified services are based, the modified services to be provided, the modified MPOs to measure the implementation and results of those services, and the duration of the modifications (e.g., applicable to summer 2020).
Is the CDE going to modify any of the MPO requirements based on guidance from OME?

No. Due to the resources and time required to modify and publish MPOs, the CDE will continue with the current MPOs and note the circumstances that contributed to not meeting the previously established targets or missing data in the Annual Performance Progress Report provided to subgrantees. This method will be utilized for the 2019–20 grant year as well as summer services for the 2020–21 summer services. The CDE will seek additional guidance from OME if additional Covid-19 related issues affect school services.

Fiscal

Can we pay for MEP staff while schools are closed?

Yes, generally, if it is consistent with the organization's policies and procedures for paying compensation from all funding sources, federal and non-federal, during extraordinary circumstances, such as a public health emergency. See item number 1, in the federal guidance fact sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Due to the postponement or cancellation of services, the CDE stated the remaining balance of 2019–20 funding will be added to an upcoming allocation. In what fiscal year will subgrantees receive the balance of the 2019–20 funding?

The CDE will add the remaining balance of each subgrantees' 2019–20 fiscal year grant award to the 2021–22 grant allocation. Funding is based on the prior year's counts and carryover, so subgrantees will not receive the balance until 2021–22.

How should local educational agencies handle cancellation fees?

On April 8, 2020, the federal government issued guidance that allows the use of federal funds to pay for cancellation fees. See the federal guidance fact sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). However, in item two of the guidance, it requires that you make an effort to recover the non-refundable costs and that you maintain records and documentation to justify the payment of cancellation fees. As the Governor has issued a State of Emergency and a Stay At Home Order, and as local school districts are closed, contractors should be flexible and be willing to refund the majority of funds. If you incur cancellation fees, the MEP recommends you discuss the costs with your supervisor. If you have additional concerns, please contact your assigned CDE staff person.

Prior guidance from the White House can be found here: Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidance, # 6 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

What are the considerations for purchasing Chromebooks for online learning?

Given the unprecedented circumstances, there is a lot of flexibility in allowable use of funds—including costs “necessary to resume activities supported by the award”. See OMB Guidance, # 6 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). However, education grants are somewhat unique in that there are supplement not supplant provisions—provisions that cannot be waived, even under the Secretary’s broad waiver authority in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Section 8401. Accordingly, the request should be reviewed in light of what is being provided to all students—if Regions are only purchasing the Chromebooks for Migratory students in order to continue/resume Migrant programming during the extended period of school closure, generally this will be allowable. Grantees should consider what internal controls will be implemented—such as tagging the Chromebooks. Also, grantees should consider the capacity to implement programming—will Informational Technology staff need to load software or otherwise configure the Chromebooks; are there accessibility issues (particularly for English learners), etc.

If Chromebooks are being purchased for all students in the district, and the district simply wants to use Migrant funds for the Migratory students—this is where a potential supplanting issue may arise.

Also, Congress is in the process of passing a stimulus bill that will provide additional education funding to districts. One of the allowable uses of that funding includes purchasing technology to convert programming to online instruction—which includes Chromebooks or other devices. Accordingly, the stimulus funding may be a better source for these purchases.

Can MEP funds be used to pay for food?

During this emergency, if food is not immediately available from other programs, the MEP may provide food to meet the identified needs of migratory children for a limited period of time, until other resources become available.

Food should generally be provided by other Federal and non-Federal programs (e.g., school meals programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, community food banks). USDA has implemented automatic flexibilities and expanded waivers specifically to address the pandemic—visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Service External link opens in new window or tab. web page for additional information.

We recommend that MEP staff document any efforts to obtain food from other sources prior to using MEP funds. As with any use of MEP funds, the costs must comport with the principles outlined in the Uniform Guidance in 2 CFR Part 200 (e.g., the costs are necessary, reasonable, and allocable to the MEP). The provision of food must also be consistent with the program purposes in ESEA section 1301 (e.g., to help migratory children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit the ability of such children to succeed in school).

Can MEP funds be used to pay for toilet paper or other necessary supplies like masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer?

During these extraordinary circumstances, State may take a similar approach to ensuring eligible migratory children are able to access other necessities when there is a delay or lack of availability from other sources. Such necessities may include, but are not limited to, the specific supplies referenced (diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper). The provision of such necessities must be consistent with the program purposes in ESEA section 1301 (e.g., to help migratory children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit the ability of such children to succeed in school).

Can a district transfer money out of the MEP into another program that is more flexible?

On April 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a Fact Sheet for Transferring State-and-Local Level Funds External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). Per this guidance, a Local Education Agency (LEA) may transfer all or a portion of funds allocated under Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A.  An LEA may transfer funds at any point during the 27-month period of availability of the grant into a grant award for the same fiscal year. An LEA may only transfer funds into an ESSA program for which that LEA is receiving an allocation including the Migrant program as long as the purpose of both programs is maintained. The guidance does not provide any new authority to transfer funds out of the MEP.

Will the California Department of Education Migrant Education Office be extending the period of availability for Fiscal Year 2018–19 funds to September 20, 2021, because of the approval of the federal waiver?

The MEP in California operates on a 12-month funding cycle. Therefore, the MEP 2018–19 grant period ended on June 30, 2019. Funds not utilized were reallocated to MEP regions and direct-funded districts as carryover for the 2020–21 fiscal year (FY). Therefore, FY 2018–19 funds cannot be extended as they have been reallocated for 2020–21 grants.

Can a district temporarily utilize MEP equipment and supplies for general education use during the COVID-19 school closures?

Yes. Equipment and supplies purchased with MEP funds may be temporarily repurposed for general education use during the closures. Therefore, if there are MEP-funded laptops, tablets, etc., that are not currently being used due to the school closures and disruptions of COVID-19, but the district could use these items in providing distance education to students (even non-migrant students), then the district may temporarily repurpose the items. The following documentation should be maintained: description of the items being repurposed, the funding used to buy the items, where the items are assigned for use during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, and the date when the equipment or non-consumed supplies are returned.

This authorization includes supplies, which may be consumed by the general-core program, again, without regard to Migrant status or students. The supplies and equipment should have been purchased before the disruption in programming. This is not authorization to use Migrant funds to make new purchases for general/core programming. Rather, it is to repurpose existing items to facilitate distance learning. For more information see Fact Sheet For Repurposing Federal Equipment and Supplies to Combat COVID-19 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Identification and Recruitment (I&R)

Do we stop recruiting because of COVID-19? If not, do we conduct interviews and obtain signatures for Certificates of Eligibility (COEs)?

The CDE continues to recommend remote recruiting as the safest option for identification and recruitment (I&R) staff and migratory families and youths. However, for a limited term beginning July 1, 2020, (Migrant Education Program) 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 written plan and 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.

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. Use the MEP Self-Certification for Safe Local I&R Operations During COVID-19 form (DOCX).

For more information, please review the June 30, 2020, Guidance for I&R Activities During COVID-19 Letter sent to MEP Directors and I&R Coordinators on the Identification and Recruitment web page.

If recruiters are unable to interview families in person or by phone, what alternative I&R activities can be conducted?

Suggested remote activities are as follows:

  • Checking in with families and youths (e.g., so families stay in touch with the MEP and to provide needed resources).
  • Developing recruitment leads by contacting current and former families for referrals.
  • Confirming presence in the district via annual contacts.
  • Checking-in with professional contacts (e.g., known contractors or farmers, partner agencies).
  • Establishing new professional contacts.
  • Networking and collaborating with other local MEPs and I&R counterparts (e.g., for ideas or shared resources).
  • Focusing closely into the local, county, and regional agribusiness (e.g., researching new areas, new data, new farmers, etc., or further researching the already known areas).
  • Planning, organizing, strategizing future recruitment activities (e.g., creating distinct but interconnected plans for specific geographical areas, crops, or work activities that can be implemented in either two weeks, one month, two months, or six months).
If the time recruiters spend enrolling families and youths is reduced by the limited-term guidance, what other activities can a recruiter be involved with?

Local administrators know the employment contracts and conditions of their staff better than the state MEP office. Therefore, local administrators can identify other tasks that recruiters can be assigned during temporary remote work periods to support the overall local MEP (e.g., by temporarily supporting the setup of virtual of remote MEP services). This is a good time for recruiters and other staff to work on tasks for which they normally do not have sufficient time and to assist migrant families obtain the services they need. There are additional needs for migrant families to be connected to: food, childcare, technology, internet connectivity, health, and other resources due to COVID-19.

Does the CDE have any suggestions for monitoring remote work?

Local remote work guidelines should clearly lay out the expectations for staff as they embark on their temporary remote work routines. Staff should also be informed of what accountability methods may be used during this time (e.g., for tasks to be completed in the MSIN system, the Login Audit feature which tracks login and usage information; detailed daily calendars; and periodic progress reports). Explain to staff how they can help their local program maintain “as normal as possible” business operations during this time.

Consider all aspects of staff work and make sure that besides understanding what is expected of them, that staff also have structured, reliable, and timely methods to communicate with MEP Directors, direct supervisors, and colleagues (e.g., chat features and daily or weekly virtual staff check-ins).

Most importantly, administrators and supervisors should, to the extent possible, understand and provide the items and support that support staff needs, both professionally (e.g., equipment, materials, supplies, technology, or training) and personally, as they too may be trying to manage personal situations that may be disrupting their routines (e.g., caring for family members or children who are not in school or their own health).

Is there updated guidance for conducting re-interviews?

Re-interviews should be conducted by telephone through the month of December 2020.

Parent Advisory Councils

Can subgrantees cancel parent advisory council meetings for the 2019–2020 grant year?

California Education Code Section 54444.2 requires six meetings per year of the Regional Advisory Council (RPAC). In addition, California Code of Regulations (§ 12021) requires an RPAC meeting in the spring of 2020 to nominate a member for the State Parent Advisory Council (SPAC) and a separate meeting of the RPAC to elect a member to the SPAC.

  • If subgrantees held all six meetings and also nominated and elected a parent to the SPAC, additional PAC or RPAC meetings are not necessary.
  • If subgrantees have not completed the required meetings, additional virtual meetings need to be held to meet the legal requirements. The CDE has requested a waiver of this timeline but until CDE receives direction from the Legislature, the required number of meetings cannot be waived.

Omnibus Trailer Bill Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) signed by the Governor on June 29, 2020, amends EC 54444.2 to include language that changes the required six meetings per year to three meetings per year for the 2020 calendar year (January through December 2020).

Additionally, SB 98 amends EC 54444.2 to suspend all requirements for 2020 nominations and elections to parent advisory councils until September 1, 2020. The MEO recommends subgrantees hold the nominating meeting prior to September 15, 2020, as the next SPAC meeting will be held on September 26, 2020 and all newly elected SPAC members must be present.

Can a parent advisory council meeting be held virtually?

Yes. Meetings may be conducted remotely (e.g. landline phone) or via any virtual platform accessible on participants' mobile phones, tablets, and/or computers. This includes social networking platforms, which may be more accessible than virtual meeting technology for some parents. Information and assistance on obtaining internet access for parents can be found on the CDE Getting Internet Access: Available Plans web page.

Are there any requirements I need to follow when holding parent advisory council meetings?

Yes. California Education Code Section 35147, the Greene Act, requires the council to have to public meetings and post a meeting agenda at least 72 hours before the meeting with the date, time, location of the meeting, and a description of each item of business to be discussed or acted upon.

On March 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed executive order N-29-20 stating that, subject to notice and accessibility requirements set forth in the order, "a local legislative body or state body is authorized to hold public meetings via teleconferencing and to make public meetings accessible telephonically or otherwise electronically to all members of the public seeking to observe and to address the local legislative body or state body." On April 23, 2020, Governor Newsom signed executive order N-56-20, which extends the language about public meetings to include parent advisory committee meetings. This means public meetings may be held virtually, provided the local educational agency (LEA) follows the requirements specified in N-29-30, including providing parents with advance notice of the meeting time, agenda, and teleconferencing information.

Executive order N-29-20 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) (see paragraph 3) and Executive Order N-56-20 External link opens in new window or tab.(PDF) (see paragraph 10) can be found on the State of California website.

Please note that prior to these two orders, Governor Newsom signed N-25-20, which addressed public meetings in paragraph 11. Although the language is similar, paragraph 3 of N-29-20 withdraws and supersedes the language in the previous order.

Webinar

MEP Directors Meeting May 13, 2020: Distance Learning Plans - Part 1

Fact Sheets and Memorandums from the U.S. Department of Education

May 11, 2020: Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 While Serving Migratory Children External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

April 29, 2020: Fact Sheet for Transferring State-and-Local-Level Funds External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

April 29, 2020: Fact Sheet for Repurposing Federal Equipment and Supplies to Combat COVID-19 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

April 21, 2020: Federal Flexibility Approval (PDF)

April 8, 2020: Fact Sheet: Select Questions Related to Use of Department of Education Grant Funds During the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

March 19, 2020: Memorandum M-20-17, Administrative Relief for Federal Programs due to Coronavirus External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Questions:   Migrant Education Office | 916-319-0851
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Recently Posted in Migrant/International