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In This Moment (8/27): California Department of Public Health Guidance

August 27, 2020

This week brings the release of multiple guidance and frequently asked questions (FAQ) materials for the start of the new school year. For schools starting the year in person, or planning to transition to in-person instruction in the near future, the much anticipated California Department of Public Health’s Guidance for Small Groups and the associated FAQs for Small Groups or Cohort Guidance has now been released.

To meet the complex needs of English Learners navigating instruction from home, the California Department of Education (CDE) has provided multiple resources to help both educators and parents effectively engage English Learners during this time, including newsletters and FAQs.

Additionally, Senate Bill (SB) 820, the “trailer bill” to the state budget, includes language that would add the Lieutenant Governor of California as a voting member of the California Community College Board of Governors. Governor Newsom is likely to sign the bill.

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California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Issues Guidance for Small Groups

On Tuesday, the CDPH issued Guidance for Small Cohorts/Groups of Children and Youth. The guidance includes definitions, considerations around cohorts, and precautions such as physical distancing and use of face coverings by students and staff to ensure safety. The guidance applies to:

  • public and private schools,
  • licensed and license-exempt child care settings,
  • and organized and supervised care environments including distance learning hubs, recreation programs, before and after school programs, youth groups, and day camps.

CDPH also issued an FAQ for Small Groups or Cohort Guidance, which focuses on how to safely serve students with “acute” needs using limited in person environments with cohorts of no more than 14 children and no more than two supervising adults.

Supports for English Language Learners (ELs) Released as the School Year Begins

The English Learner Support Division at CDE offers two monthly newsletters in several languages to support parents and educators of English Learners. The Distance Learning Parent Newsletter provides information and resources for parents to help them start the school year off strong during distance learning. The English Learner Updates Newsletter focuses on issues such as COVID-19 guidance, parent notification, distance and hybrid learning, and immigrant resources. These newsletters can be accessed by sending a blank email to

The CDE has also released ELD Distance Learning FAQs focused on designated and integrated ELD within distance learning instruction. Additionally, CDE has recently posted additional information on EL Services During COVID-19, including responses to FAQs relating to topics including reclassification procedures, the use of Title III funds, and more.

California Community Colleges Board of Governors May Get a New Member

SB 820, which is the trailer or clean-up bill to the state budget, includes language that would add the Lieutenant Governor of California as a voting member of the California Community College Board of Governors; Elani Kounalakis currently holds this role. The Lieutenant Governor already sits on the Board of Regents for the University of California and the California State University Board of Trustees. If this proposal remains in the bill, which the Governor is likely to sign, the Lieutenant Governor will then sit on all three segments of the California public higher education system.