The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) team has been hard at work crafting assumptions and recommendations to support school districts and charter schools in reopening. Working with our elected officials, partners in public health, and school leaders, we are building reasonable and prudent contingency plans.
Closing school campuses wasn’t an easy decision, but we did it because we care about the health of our community. That care is also at the forefront now as we think about what school looks like for the rest of the 2019-20 school year and beyond.
Please let me know if you have questions about any of the items in this newsletter or what schools are doing during this challenging situation.
San Diego County school districts and charter schools have served more than 1 million meals since schools closed in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many districts have begun partnering with community organizations to get boxes of food to families in need. Also, we know there are still kids who might be hungry or worried about their next meal, so districts continue to reach out to their students and their families about this free, vital resource. SDCOE regularly updates our website and shares student meal information across social channels.View a full list of meal sites.
SDCOE’s Early Education department has been working with the Quality Preschool Initiative and First 5 California to assist child care programs, and to provide vouchers to essential workers so they can access the services of these child care programs. Over $250,000 has been provided to the child care centers to purchase cleaning supplies and additional materials necessary to keep the centers open during the crisis. More than $360,000 has been allocated to pay a COVID-19 stipend to each workforce member working directly with children at these child care centers, and $500,000 has been allocated to the COVID-19 Response Fund set up by San Diego for Every Child to pay for child care vouchers needed by essential workers.
Child abuse and neglect didn’t go away when COVID-19 safety measures closed schools. SDCOE has created a resource to help teachers, counselors, and school employees identify and report abuse or neglect.
Special education leaders from SDCOE have met with regional special education directors and non-public schools to develop supplemental agreements to continue to provide service to students during the school closures. In addition, SDCOE regional special education directors are holding trainings on special education and COVID-19 issues for all of the districts in their area. All SDCOE-operated schools — which serve students who are Deaf and hard of hearing, pregnant and parenting, in the foster care system, medically fragile, have mental health needs, have been expelled from traditional schools, or are in juvenile detention or on probation — have implemented distance learning programs. We’ve contacted students and families and made devices, internet access, and assignments available.