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Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information & Resources

The health and safety of our Arizona communities is paramount, and we are closely monitoring the spread of novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Please see this webpage for information and resources on this topic to help keep your communities updated.

The Arizona School Boards Association supports and respects the very difficult decisions which have been made and will continue to be made in the coming days and weeks in the face of this public health crisis by the educators and leaders of school districts around the state, all with the health and safety of their students and communities at heart.

Important Information:

  • Effective March 31, 2020: An Executive Order was issued by Governor Doug Ducey which follows new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and comes at the recommendation of public health officials who are tracking data specific to Arizona. The Governor’s order promotes increased physical distancing, while encouraging social connectedness among citizens.
  • Effective March 30, 2020: Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Hoffman stated that the current school closure will be extended through the end of the school year. See the announcement by clicking here.

K12itc Provides Assistance to All Districts:

Whether you are a current K12itc customer or not, K12itc’s commitment to Arizona K12 public schools. If you need technology assistance, even just suggestions or advice, please click here to request assistance at no cost.

Receive ASBA Text Messages:

If you would like to receive ASBA text messages on COVID-19 updates plus other important information, please click here.

ASU researchers have provided the public with critical COVID-19 trends. Click here or the image below and stay up to date on the novel coronavirus in Arizona with continually updated graphs that provide insight and context on the pandemic in our state.

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Click here or the image below to view the Coronavirus and School Closures map.
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Click here or the image below to view the Map of Maricopa County Student/Children Food Distribution Centers.
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Member Support and Question Form

Concern. Resolve. Dedication. Compassion. Arizona’s school board members and superintendents have demonstrated them all in recent days. Your commitment to the safety and well-being of students, staff and communities in these challenging and uncertain times is evident. Arizona’s public school leaders are shouldering the responsibility of making unprecedented and difficult decisions for students, families, staff and communities across our state. ASBA acknowledges your service with deep gratitude and wants you to know we are there for you with our full support. We will get through this together.

Our staff is poised and ready to serve and support your districts as you work through the many complex and challenging leadership, governance and management/operational issues on the path ahead. We believe one of the most critical ways in which we can do so is to be responsive to your pressing questions by providing quick access to clear, consistent facts and information to all of our members.

Please use the new, online form on our COVID-19 page to submit your questions regarding this public health crisis and:

  • Board governance/meetings
  • District policy
  • School finance
  • Legislative/public policy issues

As questions arise, we will answer them ASAP in an online FAQ forum. This is a time for experts. If our staff and partners cannot answer your questions, we will direct you and/or connect you to those we believe can best do so. (Please note that this service is only for ASBA member districts).

COVID-19 FAQ Submission Form

ASBA FAQs

ASBA is updating these daily.

FAQ’s: Board Governance/Meetings

Canceling Meetings

Q. Can we cancel regularly scheduled or already scheduled board meetings due to the pandemic?

A. Yes. You would want to post notice of cancellation online and at your physical posting location (if possible) as soon as possible. (The board does not need to vote to cancel the meeting.) However, keep in mind that there is a legal requirement that the board must meet at least once per month during the school year and this requirement has not been waived.

Electronic Meetings

Q. We have a budget item that requires a public hearing. Do we still need to have one?

A. A public hearing does require public input. Whether that is in real-time at the meeting or through the ability to log comments is up for debate. We think the option that provides the greatest access is real-time participation if you can make it work. The public could be provided a separate call-in number for this purpose and you could call on people that have signed in – by logging in an email or filling out some other kind of form. Such comments could be subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions.

Q. Can the board meet electronically over a conference call or online meeting platform?

A. Yes. However, the normal notice requirements (and all other OML requirements) must be followed. The district also must allow the public to listen/view the meeting, providing call-in instructions or links to the meeting. If the physical posting location is closed and inaccessible, that should be noted in the web posting. (It is still recommended that physical posting be done if possible). If a web meeting platform is used, it should be one that does not require the public to download additional software and it should be easy to use across multiple platforms.

Q. Our Governing Board approved our resolution to close schools and to authorize our Superintendent to take additional actions as necessary, however, they did it telephonically and I haven’t been able to get signatures. Does this document need signatures right away or is this something that can possibly wait until the next board meeting in April (if we are able to have one in person)?

A. It can wait until April. Telephonic voting has the same legal effect as in-person voting. Signing the document is a formality and not legally required.

Q. We plan to hold our regular meeting but suspending the public comments in order to abide by social distancing and allowing viewing of the meeting via live stream and recording. Are we able to post that the meeting is closed to the public due to social distancing concerns?

A. Yes but make sure you put down how they can see the meeting and offer technical assistance to anyone who needs it.

Minutes/Open Meeting Law

Q. Minutes of the meeting are going to be difficult to produce within the three working days OML requirement. Is there any relief from this requirement?

A. No. However, the OML requires written minutes OR a recording be made available within three working days of the meeting. So, if using teleconferencing or web/streaming platforms, you may want to record those proceedings and just provide a link to the recording. This would satisfy the OML minutes requirement with little staff time needed.

Q. We televise our meetings, but they are not available live. Our thought is to discourage attendance by stating we suspending meaty topics like high school boundaries and not allowing citizen comments temporarily. We would encourage the public’s input electronically and point to where they can view the meeting the next day. Any concerns with this approach?

A. The Open Meeting Law does not require public comment. Most board policies do allow for public comment at board meetings but that policy can be altered or suspended at any time. The approach they are taking seems reasonable. In an electronic meeting, the board could have the public in listen-only mode and not have public comment at all and still be compliant with the OML. Live access must be allowed or the OML is not satisfied. However, if they wanted to provide public participation they could do as they have suggested, taking written comments, or some other alternative like requiring signing up to comment and then calling on members of the public during the public participation period. There are a lot of ways to do it. The important thing is that they have lots of flexibility.

Q. Does Open Meeting Law require a physical location to be open to members of the public who do not have access to a computer or internet and therefore, cannot view/attend board meetings digitally?

A. The Open Meeting Law does require open access. You should provide technical assistance for anyone that cannot access the meeting. This could include conference call access, a physical space or a place where one could watch the online meeting.

Emergency Meetings

Q. Can our board meet in an emergency session with less than 24 hour hours notice to deal with issues relating to the pandemic?

A. Yes, so long as the issues to be decided are such that immediate attention is required. (This should not be hard to satisfy given the current landscape). If an emergency session is called, notice should be given as soon as possible and the details of the emergency – why the board had to meet on short notice – should be discussed at the meeting and read into the record. Special care should be made to ensure all board members receive notice of the meeting as soon as possible given the communication challenges.

Q. Is the governing board required to vote on suspending the public comments during the meeting or can we just post that public comments have been suspended due to emergency situation?

A. Either one is fine. There is no legal requirement of a public vote to suspend public comments and no requirement that it even be mentioned, though I think that would be a good idea.

Executive Session

Q. Regarding Superintendent Evaluation that are scheduled to take place in April. Evaluation is done in an Executive Session with the board. Can evaluation be provided to the board via email to complete then discuss in a zoom meeting or can it pushed to be done in June vs. April?

A. Either one would be fine. Just make sure that the superintendent receives the required written notice at least 24 hours prior and if the superintendent wants discussion in public you are ready to adjust. If the evaluation executive session is part of another meeting, you may have to provide two links – one for the regular session in which the public can call in and another that just goes to those board members and individuals that will be in the executive session. Also in executive session, make sure the confidentiality admonition is read and that board members are in a secure space when accessing the zoom meeting (so that others cannot see or hear).

FAQ’s: District Policy

Employees’ Rights Language

Q. Is ASBA drafting any policy advisories that will account for the new mandatory provisions of the subject act?

A. Pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response, The United States Department of Labor has updated its “model” notice of employees’ rights language. The updated language must be posted or distributed to employees electronically in time for the effective date of April 1, 2020. The new language is effective through December 31, 2020. Access the link for the DOL updated document, https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf. A policy advisory on the above information will not be sent out. The provisions are relatively short-term, as they are effective only through the end of this year, and the application of leave requirements may vary district-to-district, so changes to the policy manual are not suggested. Districts should contact their attorney for any legal advice.

Second Reading

Q. Does adoption of district policy in an emergency require second reading?

A. Policy BGB allows a board to adopt a policy in a single reading in an emergency. You just need to invoke that policy before adopting the policy in first reading.

Resolutions

Q. Are school boards required to pass resolutions regarding: school closure, authorizing employee pay or giving superintendent authority to take additional actions? There are various districts doing this. Is this is required?

A. We do not believe it is required. We believe ASBA Model Governing Board Policy ID gives superintendents authority now to make these decisions. (Moreover, the resolution that many are considering raises some gift of public fund issues with regard to paying overtime to certain employees).

FAQ’s: Legislative/Public Policy Issues

Q. Will there be legislation to require teachers to work beyond their contract end date if we extend the school year?

A. HB2910/SB1693 passed by the Legislature guarantee that the school year will not extend beyond its previously scheduled end, and funding for the year will b guaranteed

Q. Can we count instruction we are providing during closure as instructional days?

A. Instructional time requirements have been waived for SY2019-2020

Q. How does the funding affect private schools, ESA funds?

A. ADE does not foresee any issues with the continued processing of ESA funds for students attending private schools.

Q. Some states have already announced that state testing is canceled for this year. When do you anticipate that decision being made?

A. Per recently passed Legislation (SB1693/HB2910), if mandatory closure extends beyond March 29, AZM2 testing will be canceled.

Q. What do you know, if anything, about what the Legislature is doing today to ensure that we have the funding and the legislative directives which will allow us to continue to pay our employees during the closure?

A. SB1693/HB2910 mandates that districts and charters pay staff throughout a closure if they are committed to be available to work during regular business hours, and can perform remote work or other tasks as assigned by the district.

Q. In the joint statement by the Governor and State Superintendent, they said they were discussing makeup days. Is that still a consideration? If we keep employees working, they will fulfill their contract and we won’t have funding for makeup days?

A. Per recently passed Legislation (SB1693/HB2910), there will be no makeup days.

Q. Can a district use instructional minutes only in determining meeting the minimum instruction time even if they don’t hit 180 days?

A. Instructional time requirements have been waived for SY2019-2020. Districts and charters will receive full payment based on 100-day ADM.

Q. Are staff members that are paid for through grant money continuing to be paid also?

A. Per federal guidance, grant-funded positions should be paid based on policy for state-funded employees. The Legislature has mandated that employees continue to be paid.

Q. In the City of Flagstaff, the Mayor has closed all non-essential services thru April 1. So there is now a gap between state and local?

A. Relief from various requirements for school closure is based on a state-mandated closure related to COVID-19. If a closure is lifted after March 30, districts will have the choice to resume normal operations or not.

Q. What about paying 10-month employees, long term substitutes, and staff funded through federal grants?

A. District employees can be paid through a closure. If the closure lasts past March 29, employees must be on-call and work from home or perform other duties as assigned in order to receive payment. Federal guidance is to pay grant-funded employees per state policy for state/locally funded employees

Q. Can a school count instructional days that are online that occur during the closures?

A. Instructional time requirements have been waived for SY2019-2020. Schools that have online capability can use it to continue serving students. Per SB1693/HB2910, a student taking an online course during June/July 2020 may generate up to 1.25 ADM for the year.

Q. What should candidates do if they are running for school board and need to get signatures on petitions?

A. Unfortunately, at this time there is no relief for signature requirements for school board members. The dates and number of signatures are unaffected by our current situation. Interestingly, the Legislature and other state offices (not ballot measures) are allowed to collect signatures online.

Q. Can schools require those on campus to wear masks?

A. Yes, schools can require masks to be worn by employees, students, and visitors. The only exception is someone has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing one.

ASBA Related Policies

Employees’ Rights Language

  • Pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response, The United States Department of Labor has updated its “model” notice of employees’ rights language. The updated language must be posted or distributed to employees electronically in time for the effective date of April 1, 2020. The new language is effective through December 31, 2020.
  • Access the link for the DOL updated document. A policy advisory on this information will not be sent out. The provisions are relatively short-term, as they are effective only through the end of this year, and the application of leave requirements may vary district-to-district, so changes to the policy manual are not suggested. Districts should contact their attorney for any legal advice.

Professional/Support Staff Telecommuting

  • ASBA policy subscribers were recently sent model policy GCKA on professional/support staff telecommuting. View a portion of the policy by clicking here.

School Closure

  • Please refer to your district’s policies ID and EBCD-R on school closure which can be found on PolicyBridge.

ASBA’s PolicyBridge software is designed to expedite the process of delivering Policy Services to member districts, by using a web-based platform that is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If your district is not a current policy subscriber, please contact Renae Watson, ASBA’s Policy Technician for additional questions and further assistance.

Election 2020: Gathering Signatures in a Pandemic

It’s clear that the election in 2020 will feel different given the global pandemic with which we are faced. And, while we are still just over six months away from election day, candidates and campaigns are already being impacted, nationally and right here in Arizona.

Those running for school board are among the candidates being impacted now by the challenge of collecting signatures to get their names on the ballot when strict physical distancing is necessary and electronic signature gathering is not a legal option, as it is for state-level offices.

We hope to give you some insight into the process and some helpful tips to make signature-gathering a bit more tolerable.

County and local elections are run by local county elections departments and have different signature-gathering options than state offices. Currently, county elections do not allow, per state statute, for online signature gathering. (Electronic signature gathering is not allowed for local or state ballot initiatives, either.) That, of course, makes the job of getting signatures to qualify for the ballot more challenging for county and local offices, including school board – especially now. In recent weeks, ASBA has raised this issue with policymakers, however, given the current circumstances, an immediate legislative solution to provide relief for 2020 is unlikely at best.

So, what’s a school board candidate to do in these unusual times to safely collect the required number of signatures and submit them between June 8 and July 6, 2020? We’ve put together a few tips from those running that may provide you with some safe and effective approaches:

  1. Set up a table outside your door with sanitizing wipes or fresh gloves, a jar of clean pens and a jar for “used” pens and send out a call to friends and neighbors to sign your petition.
  2. Host a “drive-thru” to gather signatures with a similar set up as above. Allow signers to wear fresh gloves to sign and ask them to bring a pen of their own from home.
  3. For your close friends and supporters, drive to their homes and leave the signature sheet on a clipboard at the front door, ring the bell and stand at least 6 feet from the door while they sign and have them close the door before you pick up the clipboard.
  4. You can send petitions via email and ask supporters to print it to sign. You will need to ensure the petition is printed properly (check with your county superintendent’s office for directions on printing them correctly). Remember to have the signer complete the reverse side of the petition for circulators since you will not be present when the petition is signed.

One of the positives to come out of this difficult time is a wealth of creative solutions to problems we never thought we’d be facing. Certainly, there are more great approaches to signature gathering and we’d love to hear how you’re doing it so that we can share more of them with ASBA members. Please email Julie Bacon at jbacon@azsba.org if you have tips and tricks for us to share!

Legislative Updates

March 31, 2020, State Board of Education Special Board Meeting

  • On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 the State Board of Education held a special meeting to open emergency rulemaking with regard to high school graduation, A-F letter grades, the manner in which schools are to attest to their provision of educational opportunities to students, and other more minor details relating to school closures.
  • All of the items on the agenda passed unanimously. Click here to view a summary of Board Action for the meeting. The Board approved an attestation form for districts to fill out regarding what educational opportunities they’re offering to students until the end of the school year.
  • The form is due by April 15, 2020. While the form is meant to be filled out on a school-by-school basis, school districts can fill out just one and list all the schools within the district (assuming all of the schools are offering similar educational opportunities).

March 30, 2020 School Closure & State Board of Education Meeting

  • School Closure Update: On March 30, 2020, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman announced that schools will remain closed until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. In accordance with HB 2910 (public school closures; coronavirus disease), schools will continue to receive funding if they continue to provide educational opportunities to pupils. The State Board of Education will determine the manner in which schools attest that they are doing so. (See below).
  • Staff must continue to be paid as long as they are committed to work, are able to work remotely, or are available to perform other tasks as assigned as outlined by the district.
  • The governor issued an executive order he is calling “stay home, stay healthy, stay connected.” It calls on all Arizonans to remain home as much as possible, except to access essential services or to perform essential functions or operations. The continued provision of learning opportunities to students is designated as an essential operation under EO 2020-12 prohibiting the closure of essential services except in consultation with the state.
  • Special Board Meeting: In response to the signature of HB 2910, the State Board of Education held a special meeting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 10am to open emergency rulemaking with regard to high school graduation, A-F letter grades, the manner in which schools are to attest to their provision of educational opportunities to students, and other more minor details relating to school closures. Click here to view the agenda.

Due to the public health concerns, this meeting was held without an audience in attendance. However you can watch the meeting via the Board’s YouTube channel. More information will follow.

March 24, 2020 Webinar: FY2021 Budget & School Closure Update

Online Resources
K12ITC – Four Areas of Focus for Successful Virtual Learning

It goes without saying, COVID-19 has thrown a new challenge at schools, parents, and students. The big question on everyone’s mind is “Can we virtually educate in an effective, efficient, and secure manner?”

The answer is YES! However, there are four essential areas your district will need to consider:

  • Remote IT Support –With all users going remote, the district must be able to handle an influx of remote IT issues. This new dynamic can overload the IT staff as they struggle to adapt quickly to trouble shooting, diagnosing, and repairing issues remotely. Managed Technology Services companies, such as K12itc, can help. K12itc provides remote IT Support to more than 80,000 users across the United States.
  • Connections at Home – Secure connectivity at home is crucial for remote teaching and learning. K12itc offers several solutions to assist including, teleworker devices, VPN connectivity, and remote application hosting to ensure users are connected to the files and applications they need.
  • Cybersecurity – With students and staff remote, there are now thousands of uncontrolled environments. School districts need to make sure that the proper web filtering, email security, and anti-virus are in place. It is important for your district to enlist a trusted partner, such as K12itc, to ensure a secure network at school and at home.
  • Deploying Video Conferencing – Districts will need to tap into video conferencing to help staff and even students connect remotely. Cisco Webex, the leading enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, and screen sharing, is offering free accounts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact K12itc to set up your district account.

Again, please know that we are here for you as a technology resource, whether you are a current k12itc customer or not. If you would like to discuss WebEx, or any technology topics at all, please reach out to Allen Barton, Allen.Barton@menloinc.com at your convenience. We are here to help you!

NortonLifeLock Family Offer 2020

NortonLifeLock is committed to helping the community in these unprecedented times by helping keep families protected and safer as kids connect online for school and play. Click here to learn more.

COX Connect2Compete

Do you qualify for COX Connect2Compete? This program was created specifically for the current at-home learning/working environments COVID-19 has caused many of our communities to work through.

COX Connect2Compete Extends COVID-19 offer with Free Service for Students until July 15 Nationwide

Fact Sheet (ENGLISH AND SPANISH)
Download a fact sheet you can distribute to your district staff and families.

School Operations Frequently Asked Questions

It is important you keep your families and staff updated as much as possible. Below are questions to think about when sending information out to your school district community. Also, ensure your most updated information is posted on district and school websites, social media and all other communication platforms.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  • If my student has been home with a cough and fever, when can they return?
  • Are field trips canceled?
  • Is staff out-of-district travel restricted?
  • Are volunteers able to continue working in schools?
  • Will online learning be available to students if school is canceled?
  • Under what circumstances would Public Health recommend school closures?
  • If schools are closed how will the instructional time be made up?
  • If our school is closed because of a confirmed case, how long will the closure last?
  • Are public activities at schools canceled?
  • My child is immune compromised or has an underlying health condition. Should they attend school?
  • Children are not at high risk for novel coronavirus, but many of them live with people who are. What can be done to protect more vulnerable household members?
  • What about staff who are pregnant, over 60 years of age, or those who have preexisting health conditions?
  • What about athletic competitions/games?
  • My child is sick or I am fearful of my child getting sick. How do I excuse their absence/s?
  • Can you answer a specific question about the health of my child and the potential impacts of this virus?
  • If my school closes, will the district provide food services or childcare options?
District Disinfecting Information for Schools

Please consider your schools and district facilities to receive extra attention regarding the spread of viruses. Below are some ideas to consider.

Specialized Flu/Virus Cleaning Routines

  • Each school and district facility will have all touchpoints disinfected at least once each week in addition to daily cleaning of door handles, push bars, etc.
  • Touchpoints include:
    • Door handles & push bars & push plates everywhere
    • Light switches
    • Classroom door windows
    • Classroom sinks and faucet handles, counters
    • Classroom tables/chairs
    • Elevator push buttons
    • Water fountains/bottle filling stations
    • Restroom doors, handles and push plates
    • Toilet and urinal handles
    • Sanitary napkin dispensers
    • Sink and faucet handles
    • Toilet paper, soap, and paper towel dispensers and handles

Daily Cleaning Routines

  • In addition to the special work outlined above, custodians are performing their regular daily cleaning, including wiping down tables, chairs and other surfaces, emptying trash, cleaning restrooms, vacuuming and cleaning floors.

Approved School Cleaning Products:

  • Approved products and wipes to be placed in all classroom.

Hand Sanitizers:

  • Wall-mounted hand sanitizing stations are being installed in all school offices.
  • The hand sanitizing product being used meets the minimum 60% alcohol threshold recommended by the CDC.
  • Adults should always supervise the use of hand sanitizers by children.

Computer Keyboards and Touch Screens:

  • Identify products approved to disinfect computer equipment.
Traveler Information (NSBA Conference Canceled)

View information by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for travel in the United States, travelers returning from high risk countries and more. PLEASE NOTE the National School Boards Association has terminated its Annual Conference scheduled for April 4-6, 2020 in Chicago.

All attendee registrations will be refunded in full. Hotel cancellation also will be handled for you. Due to the high volume of cancellations, registration and hotel deposit refunds may take up to 7-14 business days.

Hotel reservations that were not booked through NSBA Housing will not be cancelled for you. If you booked a room outside of the official NSBA room block or online at another hotel, you will need to cancel your own reservation.

For more information, an FAQ with related information will be posted in 24 hours to www.nsba.org/Events/NSBA-2020-Annual-Conference-and-Exposition/termination-statement-faq

Talking to Your Children About COVID-19

A new type of coronavirus, abbreviated COVID-19, is causing an outbreak of respiratory (lung) disease. It was first detected in China and has now been detected internationally. While the immediate health risk in the United States is low, it is important to plan for any possible outbreaks if the risk level increases in the future.

Concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious. While we don’t know where and to what extent the disease may spread here in the United States, we do know that it is contagious, that the severity of illness can vary from individual to individual, and that there are steps we can take to prevent the spread of infection. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking actions that reduce the risk of illness. Helping children cope with anxiety requires providing accurate prevention information and facts without causing undue alarm.

View the Parent Resource by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Links by AZEdNews
External Resources from Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS COVID-19 Webinar Series (Meeting Passwords)

  • If you were unable to attend the Schools (K-12) & Childcare webinar, ADHS will host this webinar again (same content) on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 10-11AM
  • If you were unable to attend the Healthcare Providers webinar, ADHS will host this webinar again (same content) on Friday, March 13, 2020 from 12-1PM
  • (New!) COVID-19 Information Webinar for Faith-based Organizations and Social Services March 13, 2020 from 10-11AM
  • Please direct any questions to the form here.

More information can be found online.

Additional Information

Request On-Site Training
Learn more about training opportunities for ASBA member boards by emailing Nikkie Whaley, Board Support and Training Specialist, or calling 602.254.1100 or 800.238.4701.

ASBA’s Job Search Website
Check it out now to build your profile. First time AppliTrack users will need to complete a one-time profile.

Be Training Prepared
Your district must be an active or associate member to request a training. Please visit our ASBA Membership page for more information.