Newsom expects K-12 schools to be open full time in the fall

All K-12 schools in California should be open in the fall for full-time, in-person instruction five days a week, according to guidelines released Tuesday by state officials.

Gov. Gavin Newsom paused Tuesday by saying this guide would become a mandate, but added that he is considering additional measures, as needed, to make sure school-age children are not left behind on June 15, when the state has scheduled a radical economic reopening. .

Newsom said that campuses at all levels, including higher education, should be open. He added that this is consistent with his actions to date to reopen classrooms, which have included financial incentives and accelerated vaccinations for school employees.

“I want children to return to school safely for in-person instruction,” the governor said at a news conference in San Francisco. “We have made this very clear.”

Newsom left open the possibility of a more definitive action in coordination with the Legislature, “but there will be no barrier for our children to return in in-person instruction and that’s the expectation. “

He added: “You will hear more about our efforts to further and fundamentally advance that cause.”

The language of the guidelines sets a clear goal: “Schools and institutions of higher education must provide full-time, face-to-face instruction in accordance with Cal / OSHA temporary emergency regulations and public health guidelines.”

The question of what will happen in the fall has preoccupied parents across the state, including in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The nation’s second-largest school system will gradually begin opening campuses next week after more than a year of distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s hybrid format will continue to rely heavily on remote instruction.

Elementary level students will be able to attend classes in person five days a week, but only part time. Middle and high school students will be able to return to campus, but once there, they will remain in a classroom from which they will continue their online class schedule, taught by teachers elsewhere. Meanwhile, the teacher in the room will also work online with students in various classrooms.

So far, about 3 in 10 students will return, according to the survey results. Many families have ongoing safety concerns, while others choose to keep students at home due to dissatisfaction with the hybrid plan. A group of new parents, United Students of California, has been soliciting donations to file a lawsuit to force the district to provide full-time in-person education. A similar effort met with substantial success in San Diego County.

Other parents say they are willing to tolerate the hybrid format for the remainder of the current academic year, as long as the schools reopen full time in the fall.

On Tuesday, the state superintendent. Instructional Officer Tony Thurmond said he shared Newsom’s optimistic outlook, but officials must also meet the needs of parents who are not ready to return to campus.

“We must prepare for the possibility that there are some families who are unable or may choose not to send their students back to school campuses this fall, and schools may need the flexibility to offer some form of remote learning,” he said Thurmond in a statement. .

He added: “A return to in-person instruction must include an urgent focus on addressing the opportunity gaps most experienced among students who were already disadvantaged before the pandemic disrupted learning.”

Thurmond, who has limited authority over school districts, said he has convened a task force “to better understand and identify ways” to help with the academic and emotional needs of students.

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