Weekly roundup: Volunteer tutors in OC go virtual, closing the digital divide, and more

Young Leaders of Orange County (YLOC) is a group that was established in 2011, comprising mostly high school volunteers who tutor elementary school students in low-income areas.

A news graphicBefore the pandemic, YLOC’s Buena Park branch had a team of about 30 that would assist dozens of kids every Saturday at the Walter D. Ehlers Community Center. But that model wasn’t an option once social distancing measures went into effect.

As the Daily Pilot reported this week, the branch has since found a way to continue serving students under the leadership of Stella Hong and Laura Park, who are high school juniors. They’ve created a YouTube channel and are uploading personalized tutorials.

Park says the experience has taught her about leadership “and how to be comfortable and flexible during these unprecedented times,” according to the Daily Pilot.

And here are some other education stories we’ve been following this week:

  • Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that schools must start the year with distance learning as long as their counties are on a state monitoring list for elevated COVID-19 rates. But, as EdSource and others have noted, a waiver provision could allow some elementary campuses to offer in-person instruction if they work with local stakeholders and get permission from their county health officers and the California Department of Public Health.
  • Some Orange County schools were holding out hope that they’d be able to stage traditional, in-person celebrations for the class of 2020 this summer. But with the state continuing to restrict large gatherings, several districts have officially announced the cancellation of in-person commencements.
  • The CIF’s Southern Section announced that high school sports are scheduled to be played between December and June and condensed into two seasons. Local and state health authorities will still be the ones to determine when it’s safe for students to return to campuses and activities.
  • The Orange County Register’s Artist of the Year program capped its seventh season by hand-delivering awards to student honorees in the categories of vocal music, dance, film/animation, computer-assisted visual arts, handcrafted visual arts, theater and instrumental music.
  • Once the state gives OC districts the green light for in-person instruction, families in the Fullerton School District will have the choice of sending their children to school five days a week, sending them a couple days a week, or having them learn at home virtually.
  • As local schools formulate plans to start the year with digital learning, the YMCA says it will offer in-person care for children at more than 40 sites in Orange County to help meet the child care needs of working families.
  • A recent OC Board of Education meeting, in which the board majority backed non-binding recommendations for reopening schools without masks or social-distancing, drew more than 4,000 public comments, the Voice of OC reported.

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.