Dear SBCSS Team,

With the start of the new school year, more and more County Schools’ employees are returning to administrative buildings and school sites. In response, SBCSS has created and implemented reopening plans and safety protocols in alignment with public health guidance. The SBCSS COVID-19 Workplace Plan and Protocols and Employee Injury and Illness Prevention Program COVID-19 Addendum can be accessed on eNet.

Following the one-time $5.3 billon distribution of learning loss mitigation in the K-12 education budget, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced last week that the CDE is collaborating with Apple and T-Mobile to facilitate technological access for up to 1 million students. The arrangement will consist of T-Mobile providing a discounted service and Apple offering special pricing for iPads with built-in Internet connectivity to assist school districts in ensuring all students have access to distance learning.

Last week, the California Department of Public Health released its waiver criteria for elementary schools wanting to reopen school campuses with in-person instruction. While San Bernardino County currently does not meet the state’s recommended criteria for granting waivers, school districts that believe they should be considered due to special circumstances may apply. Reopening plans must be approved by local public health officers and align with state public health guidance. The CDPH also released additional guidance on the return of student athletes. The guidance consists of youth sports and recreational programs resuming—excludes contact sports and contest—and limits activities to physical conditioning in smaller cohorts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Superintendent’s Message
“Our school communities turned the challenge of distance learning into innovative, virtual classroom environments and learning opportunities for our students. The work that is taking place by teachers and administrators to support students has been inspiring.” View this week’s message.

Business Services
Maintenance, Operations and Transportation is conducting roofing system repairs on SBCSS portable classrooms at Victor Valley High School, Hesperia High School and Hesperia Junior High School. Support Center staff is distributing the second allocation of personal protective equipment from the California Office of Emergency Services to county school districts. Districts are scheduled to stop by the Support Center to pick up their allotment of hand sanitizers and cloth and disposable masks in youth and adult sizes. As a reminder, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (#100007) and face coverings (#100009 youth cloth mask, #100010 adult cloth mask, and #100015 disposable dust mask) are available from the SBCSS stores catalog. Business Services prepared and submitted requests for COVID compliance signs for 17 school districts. Payroll is finishing the final retroactive payments from the 2019-2020 school year. Final payments will be paid on Aug. 15.

Human Resources
Human Resources has been working diligently to provide ongoing implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act through ongoing meetings and professional development. In alignment with Workplace Plan and Protocols and IIPP COVID-19 Addendum, Risk Management has worked directly with facilities staff to place organizational COVID-19 signage throughout SBCSS administration buildings and school sites. The signage reminds employees about preventive measures to be taken to reduce the spread of the virus. Thanks to Communications and Print Shop staff for the design and printing of more than 1,5000 COVID-19 compliant signs.

Student Services
As the new year starts via distance learning, Student Services staff is working attentively to support students, parents and staff to ensure a smooth start under these unprecedented circumstances. Last week, school started in 16 San Bernardino County school districts and in 68 school sites under Student Services (seven alternative education, 25 special education and 36 state preschools). Following this week, an additional 12 San Bernardino County school sites will start as well as 51 school sites under Student Services. Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Myrlene Pierre and County Superintendent Ted Alejandre will continue to join daily Back-to-School Zoom meetings with the three area directors to welcome back Student Services personnel to the new school year.

Innovation and Engagement
The first monthly Child Welfare and Attendance and School Attendance Review Boards meeting of the 2020-21 school year is scheduled for Aug. 26. The Gangs and Drug Task Force held its first general membership meeting of the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 5. Chief of Equity and Access Cherina Betters presented “The Imperative of Equity” to participants. The California Workforce Association Meeting of the Minds conference accepted “SBConnect—Virtually Connecting the World of Work to Education in San Bernardino County” to be presented at its conference. The workshop is scheduled from 1-2 p.m. on Sept. 9. Healthy SBCSS staff attended the virtual California State Assembly Health Committee meeting on behalf of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free San Bernardino County in support of the SB 793 (which prohibits flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol, to be sold at local retailers). The Health Committee voted in favor of the bill and sent it to the Appropriation Committee, where it awaits another vote before reaching the Assembly floor.

Education Support Services
ESS held its annual symposium on Aug. 6 as a virtual webinar. Staff were able to experience firsthand many of the virtual tools and platforms our teachers are incorporating into their classrooms and participated in mindfulness activities that focused on self-care both physically and mentally. CDE recently posted final templates and instructions for completing the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan. It also will host webinars to assist districts in the development of their plans. The LCAP Support and Advisory Services staff will provide two additional follow-up webinars for county districts on Aug. 12 and 14 to assist them in the development of their Learning Continuity Plans. Districts are required to submit their Learning Continuity Plans to local governing boards (in lieu of the LCAP this year) by September 30.

Office of the Superintendent
On Aug. 27, from 9-10:30 a.m., SBCSS will host its next event in the series of equity webinars called, “Equity Minded: Challenges Facing Vulnerable Students.” The event will be facilitated by Chief of Equity and Access Cherina Betters, in collaboration with Homeless Education Project Manager Brenda Dowdy and Foster Youth Services Managers Bunny Pinchback and Paul Durham from the Children Deserve Success program. The webinar is free and open to the public. County Superintendent Ted Alejandre and the San Bernardino County Board of Education celebrated the upcoming retirement of Assistant Superintendent of Education Support Services Dr. Beth Higbee on Aug. 3. Thank you for your years of service and dedication. Good luck on your new journey.

Technology Services
Last week, the Digital Learning Services team provided additional professional development centered on online lesson deployment for the San Bernardino City Unified School District. The DLS team provided high quality professional development on online lesson design and advanced Google Classroom training to more than 300 Adelanto elementary school teachers last week. On Aug. 5, the team delivered its first Webinar Wednesday, which addressed the importance of building an equitable online community. The next webinar is scheduled for Aug. 19 and will cover the use of Screencastify for educators. Thanks to the Technical Services staff for the ongoing support of Students Services teachers and students as the new school year revs up. The TS team delivered devices and hotspots to over 172 alternative and special education students as staff work to ensure all students in our programs have the tools necessary for distance learning.

We Need You!
Our current distance learning environment is off to a strong start. It’s truly remarkable to see our teachers, staff and communities working together to ensure our students are set up for success and receive equitable learning opportunities!

Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Please remember to follow all COVID-19 workplace protocols when present at SBCSS worksites so together we can stay safe and healthy and continue transforming lives through education.