California governor to outline plans for reopening schools

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce new guidance for reopening California schools.

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 8:28 AM
Updated: Jul 17, 2020 11:52 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce new guidance for the reopening of California schools Friday, with many of the state’s 1,000 districts just weeks away from returning to school and still undecided on whether to allow students back in classrooms.

Several school districts have already said their schools will begin the new term virtually, including Los Angeles and San Diego, the state’s two largest with a combined population of 720,000 K-12 students. San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Bernardino are among the other districts opting not to immediately return to classrooms.

The decisions were made amid growing concern from teachers and parents over the state’s surge of coronavirus cases and uncertainty surrounding the safety of both students and staff on campuses. The state this week reported its second-highest one day totals in infection rates and deaths since the start of the pandemic and more than 7,200 have died.

State officials have placed at least 31 of California’s 58 counties on a watch list because of concerning coronavirus transmission and hospitalization rates. Being on the list puts restrictions on the ability to reopen various segments of the economy.

Earlier this week, Newsom said he had approved new rules on wearing masks, playing sports, singing, busing and “keeping our kids safe and furthering our efforts around distance learning.” His administration did not immediately make those rules public but his office said Newsom would “announce COVID-19 guidance for schools” on Friday.

The decision of whether to reopen rests with local districts and school boards, but Newsom’s administration and the state Department of Education released guidelines in early June for districts to follow when reopening, which include implementing temperature checks for students, remaking activities such as lunch and recess, and recommending cloth face coverings for students and teachers.

“Since we’ve issued our guidance, conditions have changed dramatically,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said during a media briefing Wednesday, adding that he expects more districts will decide to begin the term virtually. “In any place where there is uncertainty, we should proceed with caution. In many cases, that’s going to be opening in distance learning.”

Many small, rural communities argue they shouldn’t have to comply with the same rules as big cities where infection rates are higher. Thurmond indicated Wednesday he agreed.

“We have some counties in this state where the number of cases is actually quite low,” Thurmond said. As long as schools in those counties follow state guidance on hand washing, 6 feet (1.8 meters) of spacing, maintaining physical distance and face coverings, Thurmond said, “we believe that those schools can open safely.”

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 526685

Reported Deaths: 9684
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
Alameda11909192
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare9990193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8176131
Ventura787777
San Francisco698961
Santa Barbara652663
San Mateo5744120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma311339
Madera211432
Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
Mendocino3419
Glenn3321
Nevada3161
Tehama2461
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1451
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo641
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Paradise
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Chester
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Red Bluff
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Willows
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
It was a slightly cooler day for northern California today, but a more significant cooling is arriving tomorrow, along with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms over the mountains of northwest California.
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