Weekly NewsBrief 8/24/20 - 8/30/20

News Clip


State Supreme Court orders Newsom to respond to Orange County Board of Education petition to reopen schools – By Sara Cardine, LA Times

The Orange County Board of Education’s legal battle to reopen school campuses for in-person learning gained steam this week when the state Supreme Court ordered Gov. Gavin Newsom to defend his executive authority to keep students at home during the pandemic.

The court on Monday compelled Newsom to respond to two legal petitions questioning the constitutionality of a July 17 mandate that ordered schools in counties on a statewide coronavirus watch list to resume distance learning in the 2020-21 school year.

One of the documents filed Friday by Murieta-based law firm Tyler & Bursch represents the Board of Education, an Anaheim public charter school and three public school parents. A second filed at the same time speaks on behalf of private school petitioners.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom recently ushered in a new wave of COVID-19 restrictions which bar in-person schooling for most children in California,” the public-school petition states.


Secretary DeVos Congratulates 2020 President's Education Awards Program Recipients – From the US Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos congratulated the 2020 President's Education Awards Program (PEAP) recipients, recognizing nearly 1.75 million elementary, middle, and high school graduates on their educational accomplishments. The students come from more than 18,750 public, private, and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American military bases abroad.

"The President and I are pleased to congratulate this year's honorees and celebrate their success alongside their families, teachers, and mentors who have guided them along the way," said Secretary DeVos. "These students excelled even in the face of the unique adversity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their dedication to overcoming obstacles in pursuit of education will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys."

PEAP was founded in 1983. Every year since then, the program has provided our nation's schools with the opportunity to recognize graduating students who meet high standards of academic excellence and those who have given their best effort, often overcoming obstacles to their learning.



Virtual learning sites sprout up to help working parents – By Heather Hollingsworth and Freida Frisaro, The Associated Press

A dance studio in Florida. A martial arts center in Missouri. Libraries in San Francisco. These and other places are taking on a somewhat unlikely new role this fall — welcoming children for supervised distance learning while their parents go to work.

With many schools still closed by the coronavirus pandemic, public and private alternatives are sprouting up across the nation to watch over children as they study.

The sites provide a lifeline for families that struggled through virtual learning last spring, but organizers acknowledge they are a poor substitute for schools with professional educators. And by inviting students to congregate in new spaces, experts say, the programs risk subjecting caregivers to the same virus dangers that closed schools.

“It’s creating the same situation as we would for having the children in school,” said Florida International University epidemiologist Dr. Aileen Marty. “So the only way that that works is if you know everybody in that group, a very small group, and everyone is tested and tested negative.”

When schools in Broward County, Florida, announced plans to begin the new year with remote learning, dance studio owner Katie Goughan recognized immediately the challenges for working parents. Her Dance Explosion Co. in Hollywood, Florida, has hired a substitute teacher who is on site from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to keep students on task. The studio is charging $150 a week, or a daily rate of $35.


School districts plan COVID-19 trauma support, even as classes resume online - By Natalie Gross, Education Dive

A teenager in Fulton County, Georgia, lost both parents to COVID-19 this summer. 

When he returns to school, staff members will be ready to help.

“There’s multiple layers to this,” said Christopher Matthews, Fulton County Schools assistant superintendent of student support services, of the district’s role in providing support. Services include everything from home visits to connecting him with school counselors, social workers or other mental health professionals and “trying to maintain as much consistency for the student.”

The district is also planning to start school with four weeks of lessons that incorporate social-emotional learning around emotions, stress management, support systems and resilience for most grade levels.

It’s just one example of how school districts are preparing to support students who have endured grief, rough home situations or other forms of trauma since schools switched to remote learning in the spring, even as delays in in-person instruction could make things more difficult.