California schools unlikely to reopen this academic year

California school districts should plan on teaching from afar for the rest of the academic year.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 2:56 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California schools should plan on teaching from afar for the rest of the academic year because it’s unlikely the coronavirus will allow them to reopen before summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

“The right thing to do for our children, the right thing to do for the parents, for households, for the community which they reside, is to make sure that we are preparing today to set our school system up where we are increasing class time, but increasing it at home,” Newsom said.

That means, he said, “fulfilling obligations through distance learning and other mechanisms to make sure that we’re educating our kids, but not doing so physically on the school sites.”

His comments follow guidance to districts Tuesday night from state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. It’s not a mandate, but it will give school districts the cover to do what many already felt was necessary, said Troy Flint, spokesman for the California School Boards Association.

Flint said Thurmond’s letter gives districts the “security they feel they need to make a decision and explain that to their communities.”

Still, many districts, teachers and students are struggling to adapt to at-home learning, particularly in California’s rural areas where access to wireless internet can be sparse. Google announced Wednesday it will give free Wi-Fi to 100,000 rural households and provide 4,000 Chromebooks to students in need. The Wi-Fi will be delivered through mobile hot spots provided by T-Mobile.

Linda Darling-Hammond, president of California’s State Board of Education, said roughly 20% of California students lacked internet access at home when schools closed several weeks ago. Districts have found resources to cut that by half.

“We need more Googles,” Newsom said. “We still have a little bit more coverage that we’re going to need in some of the more remote parts of the state.”

California Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes interpreted Thurmond’s letter as tantamount to a statewide closure order. He said such a move is unnecessary. A rural school of fewer than 100 children in Nunes’ Central Valley district remains open.

“The schools were just canceled out here in California, which is way overkill,” Nunes said in an interview on Fox News. “It’s possible kids could have gone back to school in two weeks to four weeks, but they just canceled the rest of the schools.”

Virginia, Kansas and Arizona already closed schools for the rest of the year. California, the nation’s most populous state, has more than 6 million students across 10,000 schools.

Californians are under a statewide stay-at-home order that requires most people to stay inside except for essential activities such as grocery shopping or going for a walk.

Newsom, the father of four children 10 and under, thanked women — moms and teachers, in particular — for bearing the brunt of coping with the new reality of children being at home rather than at school.

“There’s a gender reality connected to this, and I just want to go deeply to express an appreciation to all of the moms, all those teachers, all those caregivers. I know how stressful this is. Trust me, I know,” he said.

The California Federation of Teachers, one of the state’s unions, supports the recommendation that schools close for the academic year, said president Jeff Freitas. Looking ahead, teachers need more access to professional development as well as guidance on online learning, grading and teaching students with special needs from afar, he said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
Oroville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Chico
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 54°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 54°
Red Bluff
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 54°
Chico
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
It was a bright and breezy Friday for northern California, however the wind has been much stronger over Modoc County where a High Wind Warning is in effect through this evening. Stronger wind and cooler air will define our weather Saturday.
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