Schools can reopen physically this fall – but only if they on the state’s COVID-19 watch list for 14 days. If schools do not meet this requirement, they must begin the fall with distance education. The LA Unified School District has already announced that it will open remotely this fall.
While students, teachers, staff and parents prefer classroom instruction, it is only if it can be done safely, Newsom said, adding that safety is determined by local health data .
Learning in California is not negotiable, Newsom said, adding that schools must provide meaningful education during the pandemic – whether physically open or not. However, security is also non-negotiable for staff and students, he said.
The governor presented five elements of the state’s school pandemic plan:
- Safe school based on local health data
- Mask requirements
- Physical distances + other adaptations
- Regular test + dedicated contact tracking
- Rigorous distance training
All school staff and students third year and older must wear masks in accordance with the new guidelines. Students in Grade 2 and under students are encouraged to wear masks or face shields, but are not required to do so. The ability to see expressions through face screens is important for young children, said the governor.
Staff should maintain a distance of at least six feet from other staff and students. The school day should start with checking for symptoms, Newsom said, and there are expectations around handwashing stations, sanitation and disinfection, and quarantine protocols. Each school site must also have continuity and attendance plans.
There is a need to regularly test rotating cohorts of staff, and government contact tracing staff will prioritize schools.
When it comes to distance learning, new statewide requirements understand:
- Access to devices and connectivity for all children
- Daily interaction with teachers and other students
- Challenging assignments equivalent to in-person lessons
- Adapted courses for English language learners and special education students
The state has established criteria for when schools should close due to COVID-19 after previous reopening for in-person instruction:
- Schools should see a public health worker first
- A class cohort returns home when there is a confirmed case
- School returns home when multiple cohorts have cases or more than 5% of school is positive
- A district closes all schools if 25% of their schools are closed within 14 days
The guidelines include public and private schools up to grade 12 – the state is working with higher education leaders on guidelines for colleges.
The state is also investing funds to help students who cannot afford distance learning tools. California has invested $ 5.3 billion in additional funding to prioritize equity in learning, Newsom said.
Additional standards and advice will come on how to help students with special needs, said Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the State Board of Education, at the press conference. One of the tools under consideration is the Zoom chat room, to give students individual attention.
According to Darling-Hammond, officials have trained educators to teach best practices for both distance education and students with special needs.
Newsom said today’s announcement was personal for him as a father of four young children. He declined to say whether slower action on the reopenings would have allowed more schools to reopen this fall.
LATEST CORONAVIRUS ISSUES
There was 9 986 new COVID-19 cases yesterday – seven-day average is 8 838.
the positivity rate is down modestly, Newsom said – the 14-day positivity rate is 7,4%, while the seven-day rate is 7,1%. That’s an increase of 7.3% over this period, said Newsom.
There was 129 000 of people tested, Newsom said – the average is 124,000 tests per day. The goal remains to increase testing, he added, although the goal of who gets tested is changing.
COVID-19[feminine[femininehospitalizations continue to increase – a 22% increase in the last 14 days, from 5595 to 6 808.
COVID-19 patients occupy 9.2% of the total state hospital beds, while 63% of the total are occupied.
Intensive care admissions are up to 15% in the last two weeks at 1 941. That made 16,6% of the state’s total intensive care beds.
Thirty-two of the state’s 58 counties are now on the state’s COVID-19 watch list, although he’s likely to be 33 soon, Newsom said.
There is greater use of fans in Stanislaus, Imperial and Tulare County in particular, Newsom said. Napa and other counties no longer have much intensive care capacity, he added, but the state hospital system is in place to absorb patients from other counties.
Newsom reminded people to wear a mask, physical distance, wash your hands, and minimize mixing to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
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