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Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 4/29/20, PM


Some Businesses Allowed To Reopen As Shelter-In-Place Extends / San Francisco Unified Adopts New Grading Policy For Remainder Of School Year / Funding Needed To Continue Meal Program For Seniors / California To Require Automakers To Sell More Zero-Emission Trucks

California To Require Automakers To Sell More Zero-Emission Trucks

We’ve got more details, today, on the extension of shelter-in-place orders for the Bay Area, as well as what restrictions are being eased. People in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara should continue to generally stay at home through May 31. However, all construction activities can resume, so long as they adhere to current safety protocols. Certain businesses that mostly operate outdoors, can get back in action, too. That includes real estate transactions — with restrictions on open houses and in-person visits. Also, wholesale and retail nurseries can reopen and landscapers, gardeners, and such businesses can get back to work. And, some outdoor activities will be allowed to resume, with conditions. Skate parks can reopen. But activities that involve shared equipment or physical contact are still not allowed. The coalition of county health officers advocate for people to go out only as necessary, and to wear a mask when they do so.

San Francisco Unified Adopts New Grading Policy For Remainder Of School Year

Students in San Francisco’s public schools have some new clarity regarding their grades during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Tuesday night the San Francisco Board of Education adopted a resolution altering their grading policy for the remainder of the current school year. The resolution was introduced by Superintendent Vincent Matthews and moves most students in grades six through 12 to a pass/fail system. Fifth graders and younger will receive teacher comments on their report cards instead of letter grades. And students with individual education plans, or IEPs, will receive their grades according to those plans.

Earlier in the month SFUSD had signalled its support for a proposal to give all middle and high school students A’s for the semester. That idea faced criticism from some parents and administrators outside the district. They said that giving all students A’s would cheapen the letter grade and possibly disincentivize students from staying engaged in learning. In his presentation to the Board, Superintendent Matthews said that passing out all A’s could complicate admissions to colleges and would not be an accurate assessment of student progress. Both the UC and CSU systems have suspended the letter grade requirement for said that they view a pass/fail method as the most equitable way forward. 

Funding Needed To Continue Meal Program For Seniors

Just days ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a first-in-the-nation plan to deliver meals to vulnerable seniors during the coronavirus crisis. But government documents show money needed to support it could run out in less than two weeks. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will only fund the program through May 10 unless the state is granted an extension. It wasn’t clear how many cities and counties would be delivering meals by the time the funds dry up. The state will review the program before deciding whether to seek an extension. One state agency warned there is no guarantee the extension will come through.

California State And UC Students File Lawsuit 

Across California, students are seeking to recoup money paid for a college experience that has been dramatically transformed by the pandemic. 

A student at UC Davis has filed a class action lawsuit against the UC system. The suit accusing the university of profiting from the pandemic. The plaintiff claims that it is unfair and unlawful for the school to keep money paid for general campus expenses, in a semester when students are not on campus.

The suit alleges at least 280,000 students are affected by the fees. The plaintiffs say they agree with the decision to close campuses, but argue that it’s unfair for students and their families to bear the brunt of the financial losses related to the pandemic.

At California State University another student has filed a nearly identical suit. CSU said they vehemently disagree with the claim and will fight the case. According to the Bay Area News Group, CSU said that campuses continue to operate and provide student services remotely, such as counseling, advising, office hours, and even telehealth medical care. They’ve also set up a system for students to apply for refunds of dorm and parking fees.

California To Require Automakers To Sell More Zero-Emission Trucks

California regulators have strengthened a proposed first-in-the-nation rule that would force automakers to sell more electric delivery vans and work trucks. The California Air Resources board updated the proposed rule on Tuesday. It would require automakers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission trucks each year. By 2035, the board estimates at least 20 percent of these trucks on the road would be electric. Truck manufacturers had opposed the rule because they said it is unfair to require strict sales requirements on an industry whose customers invest in trucks that must be profitable. That's harder to do with electric trucks because they are more expensive.