Common Purpose, Uncommon Times
ACSA Executive Director Wes Smith will host Common Purpose, Uncommon Times live on Facebook Mondays at 5:30 p.m., providing viewers with information from the state Capitol and how it impacts you, answering your questions live and helping you focus on being the student advocate that your community needs right now.
The health and safety of our members and the communities they serve are of paramount importance. ACSA is closely monitoring the fluid and rapidly evolving situation created by Novel Coronavirus 2019, otherwise known as COVID-19.
Update on the impact of COVID-19 on ACSA activities
We have three priorities as we conduct ACSA business: (1) protecting the safety and wellbeing of our staff, (2) serving our members, and (3) insuring ACSA’s continued fiscal solvency. As such we’ve closed all ACSA offices temporarily effective today to improve social distancing and better protect our employees and their loved ones. This decision was based on recent advisories from the state, CDC, and guidance for citizens to shelter in place in San Mateo County (where our Burlingame office is located). In the last hour, Sacramento County (where our largest office is located) also issued a shelter at home directive. We will continue to review CDC and public health advisories daily and will make a determination each Friday regarding whether to keep our offices closed or to reopen.
We will, however, continue to serve and support our members. We’ve identified necessary services and essential tasks that will be handled by assigned staff remotely so we can continue to provide key services. Many of our services can be provided virtually such as advocacy, communications, legal support, and professional development. Those that cannot will be postponed until we reopen our offices. While the situation requires us to think differently about our work, it also provides us an opportunity to innovate and come up with new solutions that we might not otherwise discover. Meanwhile, we will continue to serve and support our members throughout this challenging time.
Legislative Action Day
As announced last week, ACSA cancelled its Legislative Action Day slated for April 19-20 due to advice from public health officials to avoid convening large groups. ACSA staff has notified all registrants that their registration is cancelled in our system. Likewise, hotel reservations made within the ACSA blocks at the Sheraton, Hyatt and Citizen Hotels will be automatically cancelled and any pre-paid reservations will be refunded.
If you booked outside of our hotel blocks at any hotel, you’ll need to cancel your own reservation and any other travel plans or accommodations that you made separately. Please note that currently travel booked through Southwest Airlines can be cancelled and the funds can be used for future travel within one year of the date of purchase.
Given the quickly changing guidance related to group convenings, ACSA has postponed all Academy weekends scheduled through May 2. More information will follow in the coming weeks regarding rescheduled sessions and make-up options.
Other meetings and events
ACSA hosts a variety of other small meetings and events during the spring such as state committee and council meetings. All meeting will either be postponed, cancelled, or converted to online formats to allow our members to continue to participate in ACSA activities.
The ACSA Team will continue to closely monitor the fluid and rapidly evolving situation and continue to make decisions about group gatherings driven by the most recent advice from public health experts.
ACSA leaders are encouraged to share this information with members and other interested parties.
We continue to encourage everyday techniques to stop the spread of infectious disease including the following simple actions:
- Wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant;
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth;
- Avoid close contact with sick people;
- Stay home if you have a fever or show symptoms of a respiratory illness.
ACSA resources and advocacy on the issue
ACSA is committed to being a resource to education leaders as they face this challenging issue, and the ACSA Resource Hub is being updated daily with new materials from state agencies and school districts statewide. These materials include correspondence from districts to parents and employees, statements on school closures, and other toolkits.
We know this situation is highly disruptive to schools, impacting them in many ways from attendance and testing timelines to health practices and cleaning to labor relations. Please rest assured that ACSA is working hard to be sure that state and federal leaders understand these impacts and do what they can to mitigate them.
ACSA staff is monitoring this situation closely, with a named “point person” to follow and brief the management team on breaking news and advisories issued by regional, state and national agencies.
In addition to resources for districts provided on ACSA’s Resource Hub, this page will be updated on a regular basis with timely information as the situation unfolds.
Guidance from the state
On March 17, the California Department of Education issued COVID-19 Guidance based on the governor’s executive order to assist schools facing physical closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guidance focuses on school meals, care and supervision, and distance learning. Furthermore, this Guidance reassures Local Education Agencies that they will continue to receive state funding without specifically imposing additional mandates to receive funding.
The COVID-19 Guidance is intended to aid LEAs as they think through ways to provide the key services to their communities.
From ACSA’s perspective, the question for school leaders is not what we are required to do, but what we can and should do for our students and families. Although the Guidance creates many ambiguities, the governor’s administration continues to emphasize that the executive order and COVID-19 Guidance are not new mandates. This Guidance inserts “should” language to encourage and help districts during these challenging times.
We anticipate the COVID-19 Guidance issued today is just the beginning of regular communication between the state and LEAs. We recognize a variety of topics are not addressed in these documents. With thanks to ACSA members, we can share your questions directly with the governor’s administration and CDE.
Please know ACSA stands ready to be of assistance to you now and in the days and weeks ahead.
School Meal Guidance
- Schools that are approved to operate National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option or Summer Food Service Program can continue to serve meals during COVID-19 at school sites that are closed, and offer shelf-stable meals for multiple days by submitting a request to . The request will require specific information; please see the Guidance.
- To be eligible for federal reimbursement, meals can be served to all children where 50 percent or more of the children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. In communities with less than 50 percent free or reduced-priced meals, meal service must be focused on children who qualify.
- Schools do not need to distribute meals on-site and can distribute them at another site that is accessible and convenient to the community. It is also recommended that meals are consumed offsite, but may be consumed onsite if social distancing and sanitation guidelines are followed.
- To ensure families are aware of the availability of meals, a wide range of communication in multiple languages should be considered, such as public announcements on radio or television.
Care and Supervision Guidance
- LEAs that have physically closed should develop a plan to ensure students are supervised during school hours. Options include (1) using school sites as a pop-up childcare program (please work with the California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division regarding this option) or (2) partnering with local resource and referral agencies to connect families with care, and providing families with a list of programs that remain open.
Distance Learning Guidance
The guidance is meant to assist LEAs in creating high-quality distance learning during the pandemic. The ability of LEAs to create these programs will be challenged by the present circumstances. However, to the extent the district can create these programs, a careful review of this section will help assist in this process. Highlights include:
- A curated list of resources that will support educators and students with an online educational platform.
- Strategies to help teachers keep students engaged while learning remotely. This includes: being present as an instructor, encouraging group learning, and avoiding assigning long text passages or videos.
- It provides best practices to ensure resources are accessible for all students, specifically our students with disabilities, English learners, and economically disadvantaged pupils.
To review the Guidance documents, visit https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp
Coronavirus Resources for Schools
A growing library of materials, guides and tools on ACSA's Resource Hub.
California COVID-19 Response
A comprehensive website dedicated to the coronavirus disease.
New COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools
Part of the CDE COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools published on March 17, 2020.
CDC Guidance for School Administrators
Up to date guidance on responding to the coronavirus.
EdWeek School Closure Map
Track school closures throughout the U.S.
California Department of Education
Get the latest coronavirus disease advisories from CDE.
Centers for Disease Control
CDC content includes a digital press kit and notes from daily briefings.
California Department of Public Health
Daily updates in English and Spanish, as well as ways for people to protect themselves.
World Health Organization
Advice for the public from the WHO.
Global Meetings Industry
Learn about what the international meeting industry is advising about events.
Things to think about before holding a meeting.