Source: Office of the Governor of California Gavin Newsom (Information and Press Release):
California: Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday, July 17th, 2020 new guidelines Friday to determine which school districts are allowed to reopen classrooms in the fall of 2020.
The announcement came during a press conference update on the COVID-19.
According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, in order to resume in-person class instruction, a county must have been off the state’s COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days.
Districts in counties on the watch list will only be able to do distance learning.
As of Friday, 33 of California’s 58 counties are on the COVID-19 watch list, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which represents more than 80% of the state’s population.
Until now, decisions on how and when to reopen classrooms have largely been left up to individual school districts.
California’s former guidelines for reopening schools recommended mask wearing for students, but now face coverings will be required for students in third grade and higher.
Face coverings are recommended but not required for kindergarteners, first graders and second graders.
Masks will be required for all teachers and staff, who will also be required to get tested for the virus regularly.
The California Governor also announced new rules on when schools will be forced to close back down:
– A classroom cohort has to go home when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case.
– The school also has to close when multiple cohorts have cases or if 5% of all teachers and students test positive.
– An entire school district must close when 25% of its schools close within a 14-day period.
“Schools must provide meaningful instruction during this pandemic whether they’re physically open or not. We all prefer in-classroom instruction for all the obvious reasons, but only if it can be done safely,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Even for schools that only do online distance learning, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state will be making sure there are “rigorous” standards.
“If we’re going to have distance learning, we will make sure that it’s real, that we address the divide and it is quality. Learning is non-negotiable,” said California: Governor Gavin Newsom.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said the new guidelines apply to K-12 education in the state. He added he is working with California’s universities to agree on health and safety guidelines that should be released in the coming weeks.
California reported 9,986 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours.
As of Friday, COVID-19 patients occupy about 16% of the state’s ICU capacity.