Newsom Proposes $2B to Start School Reopenings
Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday a proposed $2 billion in stimulus to reopen California's elementary schools by early spring for kindergartners and second graders.
Why it matters:
Nearly all of California's 6 million public school students have been learning online remotely since the start of the pandemic, and Newsom's announcement arrived as parents and cities have been insisting on reopenings schools for weeks.
What's the plan:
Newsom's reopening plan comes as Los Angeles County has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, and nearly all of the state is under the strict purple phase.
The attention-grabbing $2 billion price tag is part of the state's 2020 revenue that was already allocated to education anyway, but not until July, but under Newsom's plan would make the funding available by February, per SF Chronicle.
Newsom prioritizes younger children in kindergarten and second grand returning to the classroom, especially children in working-class communities. Older students would be phased back into the classroom.
Virtual learning will continue to be an option for parents who are not ready to send their kids back to school.
The state would pay up to $740 per elementary student.
Newsom's proposal would require school staff and students to wear a mask and provide funds to procure Covid-19 tests, personal protective equipment for school personnel and students, contact tracing programs, and vaccinations.
Of note: Governor Newsom mentioned evidence that younger students encounter "decreased risks" when it comes to the virus and benefit more from in-person education rather than learning virtually through a Zoom class.
What Newsom said:
“In-person instruction ..., there’s just no substitute for it. It’s so much more difficult for a 4-year-old to focus on a device than a 14-year-old."
“That’s why this is so important that we move forward in a phased way, prove that we can do this right and effectively and safely, with an eye on everybody’s health and safety first and foremost.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci on School Reopendings:
The California Teachers Association said that it still believes campuses should not reopen until counties reach the state's red tier of infections, a level far lower than where most counties are now, per Politico.