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August 2021 Vol. 27, 8
State masking guidance causes more confusion
Changes are misaligned with independent study law and likely to face pushback in some communities
The California Department of Public Health on July 12 released updated COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools. Like guidance released July 9 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the foundational principle of the CDPH guidance is that all students should have access to safe and full-time, in-person instruction at the start of the 2021–22 school year, and that practices should be designed to minimize any missed days throughout the year. While the CDPH guidance adheres in most ways to the CDC’s, one major difference that appeared in CDC guidance released July 9 was in the rules for indoor masking. However, by July 27, the CDC reversed its guidance that fully vaccinated individuals, including students, need not wear a mask indoors and recommended universal masking in K-12 schools. Outdoor masking is optional in both guidances.

“The delta variant behaves uniquely, differently, from past strains of the virus that cause COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a press call. “Information on the delta variant from several states and other countries indicate that, in rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others.

young boy does school work on a laptop with the help of his father/guardian
Assembly Bill 130, the education budget trailer bill, contains revisions to the Education Code provisions regarding independent study that became effective immediately.
Superior court denies preliminary injunction in Cayla J. v. State of California
Lawsuit will continue with a court date in spring 2022
Lady Justice holding scales
On June 15, 2021, the Alameda County Superior Court made its first ruling in Cayla J. v. State of California, denying a motion for preliminary injunction against the state in a lawsuit alleging that California has failed to offer equal education to low-income students of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court declined to mandate prescriptive solutions to inequalities that California’s Legislature is already attempting to address. Courts often defer to the Legislature, preferring not to make policy from the bench.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Nov. 30, 2020, claims that low-income students of color have been further left behind academically during the COVID-19 pandemic by disparate access to educational opportunities and digital resources, as some students struggled with obtaining the technology they needed to connect for distance learning and faced other barriers to engaging in remote schooling. The lawsuit also alleges that students have been harmed by schools that fail to meet required minimum instructional times and to provide adequate training and support to teachers.

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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:


Staff Writers and Contributors:
Alisha Kirby |
Heather Kemp |
Mike Ambrose |

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Susan Heredia | Natomas USD


Vice President:
Susan Markarian | Pacific Union ESD

Immediate Past President:
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

CEO & Executive Director:
Vernon M. Billy

The California School Boards Association is the essential voice for public education. We inspire our members to be knowledgeable leaders, extraordinary governance practitioners and ardent advocates for all students.

California School News (ISSN 1091-1715) is published 11 times per year by the California School Boards Association, Inc., 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691. 916-371-4691. $4 of CSBA annual membership dues is for the subscription to California School News. The subscription rate for each CSBA nonmember is $35. Periodicals postage paid at West Sacramento, CA and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to California School News, 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691.

News and feature items submitted for publication are edited for style and space as necessary.

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President’s Message: Susan Heredia
The importance of community… and community schools
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many hidden or underreported truths about American society. One of the most significant revelations is the extent to which schools are not just institutions of learning, but also hubs of community in neighborhoods across the country. This is old news for most CSBA members, but it was an epiphany for much of the public. Californians discovered that, without schools, our society can’t function properly. When schools close, the workplace fractures, home life is made more complicated and many families struggle to get the food, health care, child care and mental health support they need.

As governance teams, we can use this realization to bolster support for community schools and improve our ability to serve the whole child, increase equity and strengthen the integration of schools with their surrounding neighborhoods. With that in mind, The Coalition for Community Schools identifies five conditions for learning that are necessary for successful community schools:

  • The school has a core instructional program with qualified teachers, a challenging curriculum, and high standards and expectations for students.
Key measures to be addressed when Legislature returns from break
AB 104, which took effect immediately, implements certain requirements for students that struggled academically during the pandemic
Kid holding his hands on his head from frustration
The Legislature headed home for its summer recess on July 15, capping off a busy budget season. When they return in mid-August they will enter the final stages of this year’s legislative session. While big moves were made in the budget on expanding and creating new programs, bills on late start and education funding have been delayed to 2022 and it remains to be seen how the Legislature will proceed on other key measures when they return from recess.
Independent study provisions for the 2021–22 school year
LEAs are required to offer an independent study program
Teacher and student working together on school work
Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 9 signed the education budget trailer bill, Assembly Bill 130, which contains several revisions to the Education Code provisions regarding independent study. Because it is a trailer bill, AB 130 became effective immediately.

CSBA issued an update to Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 6158 – Independent Study on July 20 so that local educational agencies may adopt them and be in compliance with AB 130.

Nominations for CSBA Directors-at-Large due Oct. 1
October First Block Calendar
Nominations for CSBA Directors-at-Large African American, American Indian and County are being accepted through Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Directors-at-Large play an important role at CSBA, helping shape policy and set organizational direction.

Nominations must be made by a CSBA member board of education and each nominee must be a board member from a CSBA member district or county office of education. Nominees must submit a candidate statement and two letters of recommendation by the Oct. 1 deadline. Nominees may also submit an optional one-page, single-sided resume.

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Family engagement
District and county boards of education can play a significant role in shaping family and school partnerships. Students benefit greatly when schools elevate families as true partners. When boards support families through thoughtful, equitable policies and programs, it encourages broader community engagement that can help to enrich student learning and optimize student success. Decades of research outline a clear need for parent and guardian involvement in a child’s educational experience. When parents and guardians are engaged, their children are more likely to succeed.

Family engagement strategies might include any or all the following characteristics:

  1. Informing: Increasing awareness of school, district and county office of education routines, activities, issues, policies, programs and performances.
  2. Educating: Providing accurate, up-to-date information to the community about current educational trends that affect the district or COE.
CSBA publishes FAQs on ethnic studies and critical race theory
CSBA has released frequently asked questions on two pressing topics in response to requests from district and county board members across the state: critical race theory (CRT) and ethnic studies. It is important that school trustees have a basic familiarity with and understanding of these concepts as they have become points of public interest.

The FAQs provide information that may be used to help guide what can be difficult and controversial conversations.

Critical race theory
In recent times, CRT, a once obscure topic, has hit the mainstream and caused quite a stir on social media and during school board meetings. Facing questions, advocacy and protests related to CRT, local governing boards have requested information to assist trustees in responding to this surge of interest. The Critical Race Theory FAQ ( includes background on CRT that can allow for productive discussions on the matter.
State Board
State Board approves state plan for remaining ARP funds
The board also extended the timeline for review and adoption of the revised state math framework
man doing math on a whiteboard
Among the most significant actions taken during the State Board of Education’s July 14 meeting was the approval of the draft California State Plan for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for submission to the U.S. Department of Education. The ARP Act created the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III fund, of which California was allocated approximately $15.07 billion. Two-thirds of each state’s allocation was released in March with state education officials required to submit a plan to the federal education department for approval to receive the remaining one-third of their ARP ESSER allocations.

Local educational agencies are also required by Oct. 29, 2021, to develop a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan and an ESSER III Expenditure Plan detailing their proposed use of ARP ESSER funds to address opportunity gaps, and students’ academic, social-emotional and mental health needs. These plans must be developed with meaningful stakeholder engagement.

Board Vice President Ilene Straus said it will be important moving forward that local education officials craft plans thoughtfully with state and local data.

Schools play an important role in immunization awareness
National Immunization Awareness Month provides the opportunity to review student vaccination records at “check-point” grades
close view of arm receiving a shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination dose orders in the United States declined from mid-March 2020, the beginning of the emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to mid-April 2020 by 2.5 million compared to previous years. While the decrease was lower for children under 2 and recovered by May 2020, it was more severe in older children. This trend is reflected around the world, as nearly 23 million children missed out on routine childhood vaccinations last year, according to a World Health Organization and UNICEF report.

“When vaccination rates decline, we worry about an increase in vaccine-preventable diseases that can be harmful to children,” said Dr. Bradley Ackerson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and lead author of a study examining the pandemic’s impact on childhood vaccinations published in Pediatrics. “Also, we know there has been a reduction in childhood vaccinations worldwide, and as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, there will be an increased risk of outbreaks due to vaccine-preventable diseases among children returning from outside the United States, unless children here are vaccinated.”

Don’t miss the CCBE Annual Conference in Monterey
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There’s still time to register for the CCBE Annual Conference Sept. 10–12 at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. With both in-person and virtual options, this conference is specifically designed to address the issues unique to county offices of education and the students they serve. Both board members and county superintendents can also benefit from the learning opportunities at this inspiring event.

One of the conference themes will focus on increasing access to computer science education for underserved students. On Sunday, Sept. 12, the keynote will be delivered by Dr. Allison Scott, CEO of the Kapor Centerand Julie Flapan, from the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and co-director of CSforCA. Their presentation will be followed by a panel discussion including two CS education leaders from COEs: Kat Goyette, Educational Technology and Integrated Studies staff development and curriculum specialist with the Tulare COE, and Stephen Callahan, STEM programs coordinator with the San Joaquin COE.

Nominate a CCBE Legislator of the Year

There’s still time to nominate an exemplary state or federal lawmaker for CCBE’s 2021 Legislator of the Year Award. The deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 5 p.m.

The award is presented to a state senator, assemblymember or congressmember who has been actively involved in legislation or legislative activities supporting the work of county offices of education and their programs. A nomination should include why the individual is being recognized and share the story explaining how the work they are doing supports COEs and their student populations. The nomination should include photos, supporting articles and/or other documentation and information about the legislation the nominee is supporting.

Completed nomination forms and documents can be emailed to, faxed to (916) 371-3407 or sent by standard mail to 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA, 95691. For more information and to download the nomination form, visit

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: All listed events will take place virtually. For more information about events, visit
Virtual Events
August 19 & 21
MIG COE Course 1: Foundations of Effective Governance/Setting Direction
August 23 & 25
MIG Course 2: Student Learning & Achievement/Policy & Judicial Review
August 27–28
MIG Course 1: Foundations of Effective Governance/Setting Direction
August 27
The Brown Act
Sept 13 & 15
MIG Course 3: School Finance
Sept. 17-18
MIG Course 2
In-person events
Sept. 10-12
CCBE Annual Conference
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Thanks for reading our August 2021 newsletter!