On March 13, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-26-20 to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) that close during the COVID-19 crisis. A school district, county office of education, or charter school that closes its schools to address COVID-19 will continue to receive state funding during the period of closure to support the following:
- Continue delivering high-quality education opportunities to students to the extent feasible through options such as distance learning and independent study; and
- Provide school meals:
- Arrange for, to the extent practicable, supervision for students during ordinary school hours; and
- Continue to pay its employees.
LEAs are also allowed a school year shorter than the 175 school days required in law to receive state funding if the school closure is to address COVID-19.
As a follow up to the Executive Order, various agencies are charged with issuing guidance to address several topics. The California Department of Education and the Health and Human Services Agency shall develop and issue guidance by March 17, 2020, regarding:
- The implementation of distance learning strategies and equity and access considerations for Internet connectivity and technology;
- Ensuring students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education consistent with their individualized education program; and
- Providing meals in a manner that protects the safety of students and staff.
The Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Health and Human Services Agency will issue guidance covering how to support parents to care for their children while schools are closed. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development will work with the California business community to encourage employers to exercise flexibility in the event of a school closure to enable parent to care for their children.
The list of school districts around the state that are shuttered in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 has grown by the day and by the hour. The Governor’s Executive Order recognizes the massive and cascading effect that school closures have on communities during this crisis.