News Briefs | FYI
October 3, 2022
Schools should be aware of dangerous ‘rainbow’ fentanyl
California’s Public Health Officer is warning educators to be aware of a new form of the dangerous and extremely potent synthetic opioid fentanyl.
In a letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón warned that brightly-colored “rainbow” fentanyl has been identified as a new trend according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Rainbow fentanyl can be found in many forms, including pills, powder and blocks that can resemble sidewalk chalk or candy. Any pill (regardless of its color, shape or size) that does not come from a health care provider or pharmacist can contain fentanyl and can be deadly.
Fentanyl continues to be a major contributor to drug overdoses in California, including among youth. According to the California Department of Public Health California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard, emergency department visits related to non-fatal opioid overdoses in California youth ages 10-19 more than tripled from 2018 (379 total) to 2020 (1,222 total). Opioid-related overdose deaths in that age group also increased from 54 to 274 in that same time period.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication used to reverse an opioid overdose. The Department of Health Care Services Naloxone Distribution Project offers free naloxone to qualified organizations, including schools and universities.
Some California schools have created naloxone policies in response to increases in opioid overdoses among youth. CDPH encourages schools that are interested in developing these policies and receiving free naloxone to review relevant regulations and apply for a Statewide Standing Order for Naloxone, which authorizes non-prescribing entities to distribute naloxone.
Visit the Overdose Prevention Initiative webpage for more information.
Unvaccinated school employees no longer need COVID testing
The Newsom administration has rescinded the Vaccine Verification for Workers in Schools public health order effective Sept. 17. This order has been in place since August 2021. Unvaccinated school employees will no longer have to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing as previously mandated.
The state will now align with ACSA’s policy position and the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that was released Aug. 11. As communicated in ACSA’s advocacy letter sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom last month, the CDC’s school guidance no longer recommends routine screening and testing in K-12 schools and instead recommends that testing focus on either “high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak.” CDC’s latest guidance also recommends that any screening program include both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Lodi USD one of Forbes’ best employers in CA
Lodi Unified has once again been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers by State in its 2022 edition.
Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to compile the fourth annual list of “America’s Best Employers by State.” The list was collected by surveying 70,000 American employees who work for businesses with at least 500 employees. Forbes’ award honors 1,382 employers across multiple sectors that received the most recommendations.
“I am very proud that Lodi Unified has received this award again from Forbes,” said Cathy Nichols-Washer, superintendent of Lodi Unified. “This designation is a direct result of our strong, stable, and dedicated workforce, and our supportive and innovative board of education. We have outstanding employees, many of whom dedicate their entire careers to our district and educating the children of our community. We are truly honored.”
Lodi Unified previously received this distinction in 2019. Lodi Unified is one of the largest employers in San Joaquin County with over 3,000 employees.
Other school districts on the list include Elk Grove USD (22) San Diego USD (64), and Long Beach USD (76).
Newsom unveils new plan to transform kids’ mental health
Gov. Gavin Newsom has unveiled California’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health to ensure all California kids, parents and communities have increased access to mental health and substance use services.
The governor unveiled the plan Aug. 18 at McLane High School in Fresno, which provides social-emotional support services for students with a dedicated social emotional support staff made up of psychologists, social workers and welfare specialists. Over the past decade, the Fresno Unified School District has increased mental health staffing from around 50 to more than 200 professionals. The Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health provides funding to schools across the state to offer the same kind of resources Fresno USD does.
“Mental and behavioral health is one of the greatest challenges of our time. As other states take away resources to support kids’ mental health, California is doubling down with the most significant overhaul of our mental health system in state history,” Newsom said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom unveils new plan to transform kids’ mental health at McLane High School in Fresno.
Start your ACSA Awards nomination today
The nomination window for ACSA’s 2023 Administrator of the Year and special awards is now open. Visit to use the online portal to submit a nomination. The deadline for submitting nominations for the awards, in all regions, is Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. Regions will then select their region winners and state finalists, which are forwarded to the statewide Awards Committee.
Leadership magazine seeks submissions on EdTech
Leadership magazine is seeking submissions for its March/April 2023 issue with the theme “EdTech.” Topics include next steps and ongoing implementation; what we learned from online learning; STEM; the digital divide; pandemic innovations; expanding internet connectivity; equity in digital access; online privacy; cyber security; digital classroom resources; blended learning; data tools; integrating gaming in schools; and digital career pathways. Email your article to Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Naj Alikhan. Find Leadership online at The submission deadline is Nov. 30, 2022.
Grants help teachers get computer science training
The Computer Science Supplementary Authorization Incentive Grant Program awards of up to $2,500 per teacher to LEAs to support credentialed teachers to obtain a supplementary authorization in computer science. The request for applications is now available at and completed applications are due to the Commission by Nov. 18, 2022, by 5 p.m. PST.
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