Keenan Blog

COVID-19 Updates: Americans with Disabilities Act, CA Legislation, CA CCD Emergency Regulations

March 18, 2020

The response of governmental agencies to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States continues to change daily. We will be using the Keenan blog to provide you with updates as appropriate.

We will feature updates, both federal and state announcements, that will impact California public agencies, schools (K-12, Charter and CCD), and U.S. healthcare providers with regard to their workers’ compensation, health benefits, and property and casualty insurance programs.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

On March 16, 2020, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance entitled, “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and COVID-19”. It provides the following guidance in Q&A form:

Q: How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: During a pandemic, ADA-covered employers may ask such employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.

Q: Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus?

A: Yes. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 should leave the workplace. The ADA does not interfere with employers following this advice.

The entire EEOC document can be found here.

California Emergency Legislation

On March 16, 2020, the California state legislature introduced two bills to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency declared by Governor Newsom on March 4, 2020. The bills, which are summarized below, have been passed by both houses of the California legislature and will become effective upon the Governor’s signature.

SB 89 - This bill appropriates $500 million and up to $1 billion from the state’s General Fund for any purpose related to the March 4, 2020, proclamation of a state of emergency.

SB 117 -This bill makes several changes to education programs adopted as part of the Budget Act of 2019 in response to COVID-19. Specifically, the bill:

  • Provides that for the purposes of local educational agencies (LEAs) claiming attendance for the 2019-20 school year for purposes of school funding, the school year shall include only full school months between July 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020. This section would ensure that LEAs continue to receive funding for the school year, regardless of the closure of schools in response to COVID-19.
  • Waives the requirements in the California Education Code for instructional days and minutes for LEAs during a school closure that is in response to COVID-19.
  • Provides that charter schools that do not currently have an independent study program or distance-learning program in their currently approved petition shall not be required to submit a material revision to its authorizer in order to offer those types of programs in response to closure due to COVID-19.
  • Provides that for the purposes of funding After School Education and Safety Programs, a closure due to COVID-19 qualifies as an event that prevents a program from operating its entire program, and grantees shall be credited for their entire average annual attendance as if the program had operated the full program. This provision ensures that grantees running after school programs do not lose funding due to COVID-19 closures.
  • Specifies that the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall consider the days following the school closure due to COVID-19 as days between a pupils’ regular school session, until the school reopens and the regular session convenes when determining a LEA compliance with special education timelines and service provision.
  • Provides that attendance and reporting for child care and development programs are waived for agencies complying with Executive Orders and pursuant to guidance provided by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Provides $100 million in one-time Proposition 98 General fund to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to apportion to LEAs on the basis of average daily attendance for classroom-based education programs, with a minimum of $250 per school site. These funds may be used for purchasing personal protective equipment or for supplies and labor costs of cleaning school sites.

A full copy of SB 117 can be found at:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB117

California Community Colleges Board of Governors Emergency Regulation

On March 16, 2020, the Board of Governors unanimously approved an emergency regulation providing the state chancellor with additional authority to help colleges continue to provide educational services to students, especially through online delivery, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Community Colleges can find resources and information at:

https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Chancellors-Office/Divisions/Communications-and-Marketing/Novel-Coronavirus


About Amy Donovan
Amy is Keenan's Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, authoring the firm's Briefings and position papers on legislation, regulation and litigation that have an impact on the firm and its clients.