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Bill helps California students recover from COVID-19 pandemic setbacks

Posted at 1:03 PM, Jul 07, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A bill recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom is giving California families more options to help their children overcome any lingering challenges that were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the 2020-21 school year, many students who were forced to learn virtually suffered setbacks in their education.

To help students bounce back, San Diego-based Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced Assembly Bill 104, which would “allow parents of students who fell behind during the last year to pursue a number of learning recovery options before the next school year begins.”

In a news release following the bill's signing, Gonzalez said, “As a mom of three boys who were in ‘Zoom school’ during the pandemic, I saw how much our kids struggled to adapt to distance learning. Knowing that hundreds of thousands of students across California weren’t able to log on at all during the past school year, it was clear we needed special interventions to help students overcome these unexpected setbacks.”

Gonzalez’s bill consists of three main pillars (according to information provided by her office):

Grade Retention
AB 104 will require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to implement a temporary process for students to be able to retake their grade level, if they are not passing at least half of their courses.

Under the new law, a parent can request for their child to retake a grade level, after which a consultation must take place within 30 days to allow the parent, student, and student’s teacher to determine if it’s in the student’s best interest. A final decision must be issued within 10 days of the consultation.

AB 104 also requires schools to provide supplemental learning and socio-emotional supports to students who are ultimately approved to retake a grade level.

Pass/No Pass Grading
AB 104 will allow high school students enrolled during the 2020-21 school year to change their letter grades to a “Pass" or “No Pass” designation on their transcript, keeping their GPA from being negatively affected so they are not unfairly disadvantaged for college admissions and still have access to state financial aid for higher education. The bill requires CSU and requests that the UC and private colleges accept transcripts with a “Pass” or “No Pass” designation.

Credit Recovery
For students who were enrolled in their 3rd or 4th year of high school during the pandemic, AB 104 would require schools to allow them to complete their high school graduation requirements, including an option to enroll in a 5th year of instruction to ensure students graduate with a high school diploma.

“A parent needs to contact a principal or administrator at the school if they want to exercise these options for their student. If you’re a high school student and you had one bad grade or a couple of bad grades but would rather turn that into a ‘pass/no pass’ option, you need to get in there as soon as possible,” Gonzalez said in an interview with ABC 10News.