Weekly roundup: Santa Ana Unified debuts new pilot program, OC moves to most restrictive purple tier, and more

To help students and families who require extra help with distance learning, the Santa Ana Unified School District recently launched a Learning Lab pilot program at three schools. The labs debuted Nov. 9 at Madison Elementary, Valley High School and McFadden Intermediate School, with plans to launch at additional sites soon.

Santa Ana USD Learning Labs
Santa Ana Unified pilots new Learning Lab program at three schools.

The new program will allow small groups of students with high needs to return to campus, with priority given to students served through McKinney-Vento programs, foster youth, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

According to the district, the new Learning Labs will provide a safe and supervised environment for students to access their virtual classroom. Social distancing and safety protocols will be used, and there will be 14 or fewer students per group.

And here are some of the other top stories we’ve been following this week:

  • A surprisingly fast economic rebound for higher-income Californians has resulted in an unexpected state budget surplus that will provide $13.1 billion in one-time revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported.
  • In related news, state public health officials on Thursday announced a limited stay-at-home order for all counties in the purple tier – this includes Orange County – that are seeing the highest rates of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
  • The Orange Unified School District announced the suspension of it’s CARES — Centers for Afterschool, Recreation, Enrichment and Safety — before-and after-school program, due to low enrollment. The suspension of the service is in effect for the duration of the 2020-21 school year and status for the 2021-22 school year will be announced this coming spring, the district says.
  • While state officials have yet to offer new guidance for high school and youth sports competitions to resume, California’s Health and Human Services Agency announced that the state has joined forces with Washington and Oregon to urge against travel and to recommend visitors — or those returning home from travel outside these states — to self-quarantine for 14 days to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  • From behind the scenes to the front line, OCDE is shining a light on the thousands of facilities and maintenance workers who are tasked with ensuring the approximately 616 public schools – plus special schools, private schools, and administrative and service buildings – in Orange County are clean and safe.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.