Community briefs | January 14, 2022 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - January 14, 2022

Community briefs

Portola Valley Town Hall closed to visitors until Jan. 18

Portola Valley's Town Hall will remain closed until Tuesday, Jan. 18, while staff works remotely.

The town hopes the closure will help curb the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

Online resident services are available at portolavalley.net.

Las Lomitas district bond oversight committee recruiting

The Las Lomitas Elementary School District is searching for a community member to serve on the Citizens' Oversight Committee for Bond Measures.

Find the application on llesd.org and email the completed application to [email protected]

Part-time roles in the Las Lomitas district

The Las Lomitas Elementary School District is hiring for various part-time positions, including substitute teachers, bus drivers, para educators and playground monitors.

Apply at edjoin.org/llesd.

Vaping talk on Jan. 19

Erin Vogel, a senior research associate, at University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine will speak on how teenage use of tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vapes has changed during the pandemic on Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The online talk will also touch on how social media influences the health behaviors of adolescents. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available.

The San Mateo County Office of Education Tobacco Use Education program, Sequoia Union High School District, Sequoia Healthcare District, Peninsula Health Care District and The Parent Venture are sponsoring the presentation.

Register at erinvogel2022smcoetupe.eventbrite.com.

—Angela Swartz

State temporarily loosens rules for substitute teachers

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, Jan. 11, signed an executive order relaxing state regulations around the hiring of substitute teachers as districts grapple with staffing shortages exacerbated by the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"We're working closely with local education officials to cut red tape to allow qualified substitute teachers to help maintain safe learning environments," Newsom said in a news release.

Through March 31, the executive order allows for temporary certificates to be issued to substitute teachers who don't have credentials. The order also extends the length of time substitute teachers can be assigned to a class to 120 days and allows more flexibility for retired teachers to work as substitutes.

Districts must submit a "written finding" that the more flexible rules will allow them to maintain in-person instruction despite staffing shortages.

Anti-price gouging order for home COVID tests

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this weekend aimed at preventing price gouging on COVID-19 at-home test kits, which are in high demand due to the omicron variant surge.

The order generally prohibits sellers from increasing prices on the test kits by more than 10%.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert following the governor's signing of the order and encouraged anyone who has been a victim of price-gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits to file a complaint with his office or contact local law enforcement.

"Californians are doing their part to confront this challenge — whether by caring for loved ones, getting vaccinated, or working on the front lines — and they shouldn't have to worry about being cheated while dealing with the effects of coronavirus," Bonta said.

The order signed by Newsom prohibits sale of at-home COVID-19 test kits at a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price the seller charged for the item on Dec. 1, 2021.

Sellers who haven't previously sold at-home COVID-19 test kits may not sell them for 50% more than what the seller paid for them.

Violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. Violations would also constitute a violation of the Unfair Competition Law, which is subject to a $2,500 per violation civil penalty.

Price-gouging complaints can be filed at oag.ca.gov/report.

Stanford Blood Center seeks donors amid a shortage

Stanford Blood Center is seeking new blood donors in light of a significant increase in cancellations from the current COVID-19 surge, wrote Harpreet Sandhu, executive director of the center, in a letter on Tuesday.

Sandhu said the center only has a few days of blood on hand as regular donors are falling ill and companies initiate stricter visitor onsite policies.

"At the same time, demand at the hospitals has increased, and shows no signs of slowing down in the coming weeks," Sandhu said in a statement.

New donors can check their eligibility at 888-723-7831 or stanfordbloodcenter.org/eligibility. Appointments can be made online at sbcdonor.org.

—Bay City News Service

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