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Information for Parents, PTA Leaders and Members

California State PTA is committed to giving you the most up-to-date information about coronavirus. Please scroll to the relevant section below to find information about:

If you are a PTA leader looking for information about how to handle meetings, elections and financial transactions during the coronavirus outbreak, visit our Resources for Leaders page.

If you are looking for helpful ideas, visit our Resources for Parents and Families page.

VACCINATION FACTS AND RESOURCES

Last updated August 16, 2021

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a wealth of resources for educating our communities about the vaccines available to prevent Covid-19.  This brief, animated video explains why scientists are confident about the safety of the vaccines.

Community organizations like PTA can play a vital role in getting the word out about the importance of getting vaccinated. This CDC toolkit provides up-to-date information and messaging we can all share with our members and school communities.

FAQS

Last updated August 2021

National PTA has thoughtfully provided answers to questions shared by families and communities navigating the pandemic, some of which we have gathered in this section.

How do I talk to my child about Coronavirus?

Children, as well as adults, continue to experience anxiety in these uncertain times. Several resources have been created by leading mental health experts on how to have age-appropriate, fact-based and reassuring conversations with your children about the pandemic and the steps they can take to stay healthy.

Where can I go for information on Coronavirus and its impact on education and children?

There are several U.S. government resources available for parents about the Coronavirus. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) regularly updates this website, which includes a wealth of resources related to the needs of students with disabilities, the latest guidance on school reopening, and much more.

The U.S. The Department of Education also released important information for K-12 educators on flexibilities the Department could grant when it comes to the accountability standards required by law under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We particularly recommend reviewing COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional, regularly updated guidance and further resources, including:

Colorín Colorado is a good resource for English Language Learners and their families, as well as educators. We particularly want to call attention to their Multilingual Coronavirus Resources for Schools.

What if I do not have internet access in my home? What is being done to support equitable access to the internet for student learning?

Several internet providers have announced that they will make their services available for free for households with K-12 and/or college students who don’t already have internet through the company. Further installation fees may also be waived for new student households. Please contact your local internet provider for additional information.

California State PTA’s partner, the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), can also connect families with low-cost or free internet access. Click here to learn more, or click here to watch a recording of the April 2020 webinar that CETF and CAPTA held about how leaders can support those in their schools and communities who need access to low-cost and free internet and computers.

National PTA has joined several other education groups in calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to temporarily allow schools to utilize E-Rate program funding to provide Wi-Fi hotspots or devices with Wi-Fi capability to students who lack internet access at home. This action would help ensure that all students can remotely continue their education during the current public health emergency.

The coronavirus pandemic is shining a bright light on the long-standing “homework gap” experienced by 12 million students in this country. The gap refers to those students who do not have internet access at home and are unable to complete their homework—at a time when over 70% of educators assign schoolwork that requires the internet.

As a parent, how can I support learning at home?

Recognizing that not all families or children will have the resources to access and leverage digital learning opportunities, PTAs should work with their local school and district to understand what plans are in place or are being developed to equitably support student learning. PTAs can (and should!) work with schools to help develop student distance learning plans and help communicate these plans to families.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), has developed 10 Strategies for Online Learning During Coronavirus Outbreak (Published in March 2020). The Today Show has curated some free educational activities that students and families can engage in here. (To see distance-learning resources compiled by California State PTA, click here.)

What is being done to ensure vulnerable youth have access to school meals?

Nearly 22 million students depend on subsidized breakfasts and lunches served at schools. All Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs—including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs—have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow them to respond to on-the-ground realities in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. You can view the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Response to COVID-19 here.

GENERAL CALIFORNIA INFORMATION

Last updated August 2021

California State PTA encourages families to work closely with school and school district officials to find out what types of measures are being implemented in their area to re-open schools safely.

Local decisions, in turn, are guided by state officials. In particular, California’s Safe Schools for All Plan provides support to schools and assures accountability. The state’s goal is to establish a clear path to minimize in-school transmissions and enable a return to in-person instruction, and then ongoing safe in-person instruction.

The Safe Schools For All Hub consolidates key resources and information related to COVID-19 and schools. New resources are added regularly.

Written specifically to address parent concerns, the Safe Schools Parent Page is continuously updated with information about everything from vaccinations to the state budget for schools. It includes a wealth of information about school safety measures and is provided in both English and Spanish.