(updated March 26, 2019)

COVID-19 Updates from the State of California

New Guidance Documents from CDE/CHHS

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the California Department of Education, in conjunction with the California Health and Human Services Agency released guidance measures for schools amid the COVID-19 crisis. The resources provide guidance regarding distance learning, school meals, and childcare and student supervision. The guidance for childcare and student supervision includes those for:

  • Families
  • Local Educational Agencies
  • Temporary Emergency Childcare Facilities
  • Subsidized Childcare Providers

The Governor’s Office and CDE are deeply committed to the state’s students and, although this is a dynamic and fluid situation, there are dedicated officials who are focused on providing guidance and resources for the state’s students and families. Additional guidance will be released from the California Department of Education each Friday and updated guidance will be issued as necessary.

CDE’s Webinar Regarding Guidance on COVID-19 School Closures

On Wednesday, March 18, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, led a webinar regarding the newly-released guidance on COVID-19 school closures. The purpose of the webinar was to discuss the guidance and provide an opportunity for engagement and questions from participants. Presenters on the webinar included Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Linda Darling Hammond, Board of Education President, Ben Chida, Office of Governor Newsom, Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of Early Childhood Development of the Health and Human Services Agency,  Wesley Smith, ACSA and CDE staff Shanine Coats, Sarah Neville Morgan, and Kim Frinzell.  

Presenters discussed the three areas of the released guidance: Distance Learning, School Meals, and Childcare and Student Supervision.

CDE’s guidance for schools on how to arrange supervision and childcare included the following:

  • Consider the age of the students when providing group supervision.
  • Partner with community based organizations who may be operating childcare.
  • Allow sites for pop up childcare within the appropriate licensing and health requirements.
  • Use school campuses to provide childcare for parents who are first responders and health care professionals.

Additional highlights from the discussion:

  • California’s communities are distinct and unique, and as such, there is no “one size fits all” solution for students or families. 
  • Districts are urged to be innovative, not only in their delivery of distance learning resources and materials, but also in the delivery and distribution of meals. CDE stressed their intent to provide continuity of care for the state’s neediest families.  
  • Sarah Neville Morgan announced that CDE will be releasing a management bulletin by the end of the day to provide clarification and guidance regarding SB 117 which was signed by Governor Newsom on March 17, 2020.  

The webinar, as well as the slides covered during the webinar, will be posted to the California Department of Education’s (CDE) website by the end of the day March 18, 2020. 

Check the CDE site for this information and other updates.

New Legislation – SB 117

(03/19/20 Update) California Department of Education (CDE) sent a Management Bulletin to notify and provide guidance to state-subsidized early learning and care programs about updated apportionment, attendance, and reporting requirements after the enactment of Senate Bill, SB 117.

Please note: this is not a permanent change to statute or regulations. These requirements will apply until June 30, 2020, unless nullified or changed by the Legislature. As the situation evolves and more information is available, the California Department of Education (CDE) will issue additional guidance.

(03/18/20 Update) California’s Legislature pursued emergency legislation to respond rapidly to the COVID-19 crisis, passing SB 117 in order to provide relief and assurance for school districts across a host of issues impacted by the current health pandemic. The bill includes a provision to provide relief for state-subsidized child development programs that states: 

“To ensure continuity of payments to state-subsidized childcare and development programs, the attendance and reporting requirements imposed on childcare and development programs are waived for programs that comply with an Executive Order, subject to guidance from the Superintendent of Public Instruction pursuant to this section. Pursuant to guidance and direction from the Superintendent, childcare and development programs shall be reimbursed using the most recent certified record or invoice available.”

Governor Newsom signed SB 117 into law on March 17, 2020. The provision cross-references the following programs in California that are intended to be covered by SB 117:

8221.5: Monthly attendance records for AP providers
8230: Migrant Child Care
8235: State Preschool Program
8240: General Child Care
8245: Family Child Care Home Networks
8250: Child Care for Children with Disabilities
8351: CalWORKS, Stage 1
8353: CalWORKS, Stage 2
8354: CalWORKS, Stage 3

Read SB 117 here.


COVID-19 National, State, and Local Resources on Business and Paid Family Leave

National Resources

State Resources

Local Resources


Federal Information
Updates and resources at the federal level for the Early Learning community.

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Funds: Recovery Flexibility
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has released materials to help Lead Agencies understand the flexibilities in the CCDF law as they try to help meet the needs of families and communities in response to the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Click here to access ACF’s full memo on CCDF flexibility during state or federal emergencies. 
  • In addition, ACF has released a letter with updated resources and information about administrative relief strategies, as well as a list of FAQs about CCDF and COVID-19. 

National Early Learning Partners and Organizations: Joint Letter to ACF
National partners and organizations recently wrote a letter to ACF seeking CCDF and state flexibility.

Special Federal Approval to Feed Students
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave the California Department of Education (CDE) a special waiver that will enable California districts to feed students during Coronavirus-related closures.

COVID-19 Resources from NIEER
Information for various stakeholders working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

NAEYC Childcare Guidance
Recommendations for states; The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) prepared guidance about to support the childcare community in states that have closed schools.