Coronavirus Resources for Schools

F3 Guidance for Remote and Emergency Board Meetings 3.25.2020

Contains resources from school districts and public health agencies.

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Guidance for Remote and Emergency Board Meetings UPDATE: March 25, 2020 On Sunday, March 22, 2020, the Governor signed yet another Executive Order, N-35-20, further relaxing a specific Brown Act requirement that now permits simultaneous informational updates to school boards from federal, state or local officials regarding COVID-19 without the requirement of an official board meeting. Executive Order N-35-20 permits non-noticed meetings allowing school board members to simultaneously receive updates from, and ask questions of, officials relevant to the declared COVID-19 pandemic emergency. These updates should specifically concern the impacts of COVID-19, governmental response to COVID-19, or other aspects of the emergency so that members of school boards are promptly apprised of emergency operations and impacts on schools and constituents. These informational updates may occur in any format (in person, telephonic, live-video, email). During these non-noticed informational updates, board members may ask questions of the appropriate officials but are not permitted to discuss this or any other matter amongst themselves or take any action. If the Board wants to discuss or take action regarding the COVID-19 emergency or any other topic within its jurisdiction, it must do so at a properly noticed meeting in accordance with the Brown Act and recent Executive Orders – which could be an Emergency meeting with one hour notice or less than an hour in case of a dire emergency. Below are a few practical tips: Practical Tips and Considerations: Before organizing an informational update, include clear reminders to the board of the informational purpose of the update. Under Executive Order 35-20, it is unclear whether superintendents or cabinet administrators are considered "local officials." However, given the underlying intent of the Order, to facilitate informational updates to legislative bodies regarding the COVID-19 emergency, we believe there is a low risk of a Brown Act violation provided that Board members only ask questions and do not take any action, articulate a position or attempt to develop consensus during these non-noticed informational update meetings. While board members may ask relevant questions of the officials, they should refrain from sharing their position with each other on the matter, engage in discussion aimed at building consensus towards a board decision, or take any action. (I recognize this may be difficult to do do.) Notwithstanding the permissible receipt of information, the other Brown Act rules and regulations, as modified by the recent Executive Orders, regarding improper serial meetings/discussions are still in effect.

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