Most CA Schools Unlikely to Reopen This Fall

Public and private schools in counties that are on the state’s coronavirus watchlist will not return to live instruction in the fall, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday. As of this writing, that includes over half of the counties in California.

The new mandate prohibits schools from reopening until a county has remained off the state's watchlist for 14 days. It requires masks and six-foot distancing for schools that do open. It also lays out protocol to follow in the event of an outbreak. If 5% of students and staff test positive within a 14-day period, a school would automatically transition to distance learning.

Newsom said the state will set aside $5.3 billion for virtual learning assistance.

“Today’s guidance from the California Department of Public Health lays out clear metrics for our schools so that they can best understand the conditions that determine when they must close,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a statement.

“As so many of our schools will begin their academic year virtually, we remain committed to continuing to work with the Governor, the Legislature, the State Board of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and educators across the state to address ways we can improve distance learning. We must accelerate this effort to ensure there is consistency and continuity moving ahead and that we are doing everything in our power to offset learning gaps that have been exacerbated by this pandemic.”