California Governor Announces $6.6 Billion Deal to Accelerate School Reopenings

Author : ktureos
Publish Date : 2021-03-02 01:27:54


California Governor Announces $6.6 Billion Deal to Accelerate School Reopenings

California’s embattled governor on Monday announced a deal with state legislative leaders that will fund school reopenings to the tune of $6.6 billion.

The budget package will fund contact tracing efforts, school safety measures, and other aspects of returning to in-person instruction.

The rest will go towards expanding children’s opportunities to learn, with one example being summer school.

To pressure districts into reopening faster, schools must offer in-person instruction to grades K-2 and all high-needs students regardless of grade by the end of March. If they do not, they will lose 1 percent of eligible funds every day they delay.

“Single mothers in particular, that are celebrating I imagine this day, compared to many other previous days,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, told a press conference. “So many of our kids and caregivers are celebrating this day because we all are united around coming back safely into the schools and helping with the social emotional supports that our kids so desperately need.”

Part of the plan involves boosting the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses available to teachers, whose unions have pushed for vaccinations to precede a return to in-person learning.

But officials do not view vaccinations as a prerequisite for reopening, Newsom said, citing Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top federal health official, among others.

“That’s not my opinion. That’s the opinion of the CDC, Dr. Fauci, the opinion of educators and experts around the globe, including the opinion of President Joe Biden,” he said.

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Studies conducted in multiple countries have shown that a return to in-person instruction did not drive a major increase in community transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19. Schools in a number of states reopened last year for in-person instruction, with little impact.

Approximately 42.6 percent of U.S. primary students were attending in-person, everyday schooling as of Sunday, according to school data aggregator Burbio, including over 54 percent of K-5 students. But few schools in California have resumed such traditional schooling, the organization said in its latest update.

Newsom made the announcement at Franklin Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District, the state’s fifth-largest. The district was among the first to close school doors last year; officials last week announced plans to reopen grades K-6 in mid-March and the rest of the grades next month.

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Republicans had blamed Democrats, who hold the trifecta in the state with control of the governor’s mansion and both state chambers, for not moving faster to reopen schools.

“For months, Republicans have been calling to reopen schools safely, in accordance with CDC guidance,” Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron said last week. “Yet, the Governor’s confusing and ineffective tier system is keeping schools closed and is causing hardship for parents and, most importantly, is causing irreparable harm to students.”

Newsom is facing a serious recall effort in part because of backlash against his harsh orders during the pandemic, which haven’t prevented California from being the state with the most COVID-19 cases and the most deaths involving the disease. California is the country’s most populous state.

The special election to recall Newsom, who is in his first term, will likely be held by the fall, according to a senior adviser to the Recall Gavin 2020 effort.



Category : news

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