• Matt Esnayra

Gov.Newsom instructs schools on the COVID-19 watchlist to go online only.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a Friday press conference a new set of guidelines for schools reopening in counties where the coronavirus is surging. Newsom’s new guidelines go in the face of President Trump’s threats of withholding federal funds if schools don’t return to normal.

  • About 80% of California’s population lives in a county on the monitoring list.

Why it matters:

Newsom initially allowed school districts to reopen on their own terms but under the direction of local public health officials. Now, public schools and private schools within the 30 counties on the state’s monitoring list will remain shut down, compelling schools to educate 6.1 million students virtually.

  • Schools can physically reopen for in-person teaching when the county they’re operating in has been off of the state’s monitoring list for 14 consecutive days, said Newsom.

  • All schools that are allowed to physically reopen to staff and students must wear a mask.

  • Students in the second grade or a grade below are only encouraged, not required to wear masks and face shields.

  • School staff must maintain at least a six-foot distance between themselves and a six-foot distance between students.

  • Schools that can reopen must check temperatures daily, install hand-washing stations, conduct “deep disinfectant” practices, and have quarantine protocols.

The other side:

  • Fourteen million children in the United States are experiencing food insecurity, since the start of the pandemic, according to a report by the Hamilton Project.

  • The coronavirus pandemic not only disrupted our nation's educational system but as a side effect placed a spotlight on how prevalent the digital divide is in America when it comes to working-class families’ lack of access to computers and internet service.

But wait, there’s more:

  • Long Beach City College’s winter session will be entirely online; officials announced Friday, July 17, per L.B Press-Telegram.

  • L.A. and San Diego Unified, the state’s largest school districts, jointly announced this week they will administer online classes instead of in-person because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Long Unified School District Superintendent Jill Baker announced the district would start online-only, at least until October 5th.

What they're saying:

  • CA Governor Gavin Newsom said, "Remember, public education broadly is absolutely about our kids, but we cannot deny the fact that we have hundreds of thousands of adults. That are responsible for taking care and educating our kids as well. And their health has to be considered as well"

  • CTA President E. Toby Boyd said in a statement, “Today’s updated guidance from Governor Newsom through the California Department of Public Health is a good step in providing some clarity and uniformity across the state. We cannot reopen schools unless it is safe!

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