Lorena Gonzalez Bill to Ensure High School Seniors Get a Diploma Despite School Closures Passes Senate Education

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, July 29, 2020) – California high school seniors who were on track to graduate before their schooling was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to receive their graduating diploma under legislation by State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that passed the Senate Education Committee today on a 6 to 0 vote.

“A high school diploma represents 13 years of hard work and dedication by a student. This achievement should not be denied to a student because an unprecedented pandemic interrupted the final few months of that student’s journey,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said.

In response to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order to contain the spread of COVID-19, many school districts moved to distance learning models in March that use online methods. These digital learning tools have not been equally accessible, as nearly a third of California students don’t have a high-speed internet connection. This so-called “homework gap” is even more pronounced in Black, Latino and lower-income households. 

Given the unprecedented economic, social and health impacts of COVID-19, many older students have also faced added family responsibilities that detract from their education. This includes, but is not limited to, taking care of an ill family member, working to supplement the household income, and taking on childcare responsibilities.

Assembly Bill 1350 would allow school districts or other education offices to grant a high school diploma to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Students must have been in their senior year of HS during the 2019-20 school year;
  • Students are on track to graduate as of March 1, 2020;
  • Students were not able to complete statewide graduation requirements as a result of COVID-19.

AB1350 passed the Senate Education Committee with 6 votes and now heads to the Senate floor.

For questions on AB 1350 or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos: samantha.gallegos@asm.ca.gov