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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.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Oroville
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 46°
Chico
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Red Bluff
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 45°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 45°
Chico
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 50°
As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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