Most California Schools Unlikely To Open In Fall Under New State Rules

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Most California schools will likely remain closed when the academic year begins, under new rules announced Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Richard Vogel/AP hide caption

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Richard Vogel/AP

Most California schools may remain closed when the academic year begins in the fall, according to new state directives, with a majority of campuses likely having to shift to distance-learning instead.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new rules Friday, days after ordering bars and restaurant dining rooms closed amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

The new requirements stipulate how and when schools may reopen for in-person learning when the academic school year begin. These rules mandate social distancing and health screenings for anyone entering a school. Staff and students in grades 3-12 would be required to wear masks, with younger students being encouraged to do so.

Under the new rules, a county must also not be on a list of counties being monitored for rising coronavirus infections. Thirty-two of the states 58 counties currently don’t hit that benchmark. To open schools for in-person instruction, those counties would have to be off that list for 14 consecutive days, according to the directives.

Newsom said schools that couldn’t reopen would have shift to distance-learning programs.

“Learning is non-negotiable,” said Newsom in a statement. “Students, staff, and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely.”

Schools and districts that reopened would also have to shut down if infections breached a certain threshold over a 14-day period – 5% for schools, 25% for districts.

The directives are on the heels of announcements that some of the state’s largest districts had already decided to enter the academic year with no in-person classes. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco all recently said they planned online-only learning when students returned.

To accommodate the shift to online learning the state has earmarked $ 5.3 billion to “support learning, and set requirements to ensure schools provide rigorous and grade-appropriate instruction.”

New state laws also require districts to provide devices and connectivity for students and support for English learners and students with special education needs.

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, Health : NPR reports

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