Will the district jeopardize its funding by not offering distance learning during COVID-19 related closures?The short answer is “no.” California Education Code Sec. 41422 does not require maintenance of educational programs to receive continued state funding. The Governor’s March 13, 2020 Executive Order (N-26-20) does not override this statutory provision, stating only that “if an LEA closes its schools to address COVID-19, as provided in Paragraph 4 of this Order, the LEA will continue to receive state funding to support the following during the period of closure,” listing four items that funding may be used to support, including: 1) continuing to deliver high-quality educational opportunities; 2) providing meals; 3) arranging for the supervision of students during school hours, to the extent practicable; and 4) continuing to pay its employees. The Order is clear that the LEA may continue delivering “educational opportunities to students to the extent feasible through, among other options, distance learning and/or independent study…”
Will my LEA have to make up days missed due to COVID-19 related school closures if it does not offer distance learning?
Again, the short answer is “no.” According to the California Department of Education (CDE), “when the State Superintendent of Public Instruction authorizes credit for days that school was closed, LEAs receive instructional time credit for the day(s) and minutes lost due to the emergency closure...The instructional time credit satisfies state law with regard to both the instructional day and minutes requirement.” (www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/ pa/formj13afaq.asp#SchoolClosure). Additionally, the Governor’s Executive Order states for “LEAs that initiate a school closure to address COVID-19, the closure shall qualify as a condition that prevents the maintenance of the LEA’s schools during a fiscal year for at least 175 days pursuant to Education Code section 41422...” Finally, the Executive Order suspends the affidavit requirements for waiver of the 175-day mandate, so long as the LEA’s top administrator certifies that the closure occurred to address COVID-19.
Do we have to ensure equity and equal access to learning?
If a school district continues to provide educational opportunities to the general student population during a school closure through distance learning, the school must ensure that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities. IEPs might need to be changed to accomplish this.
Will the closing of schools after my STRS retirement credit?
NOWhen will we know more about next week and the path forward?As directed in the Governor’s March 13, 2020 Executive Order, the California Department of Education will provide additional guidance on these issues tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17.