It’s the question on everyone’s minds: When will Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers announce a school reopening deal?
Though Newsom said he hoped to unveil a plan last week, Friday came and went without any mention of an agreement — or of the issues on which the governor and legislators disagree, though negotiations were rumored to be intense and difficult.
But the state on Friday did release, for the first time amid the pandemic, maps that reveal which of California’s schools have physically reopened — and the divide is stark, CalMatters’ Ricardo Cano reports. Most private schools appear to offer some form of in-person learning, while the majority of public schools remain in remote learning. Similarly, hundreds of small, rural or inland elementary schools have reopened, while many of the state’s largest urban districts are physically closed.
Further complicating California’s fraught debate over returning to campus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Friday new school reopening guidelines — ones that are generally less restrictive than the Golden State’s. For example, the CDC guidelines would permit middle and high schools to reopen in areas with double the infection rate currently allowed by the state. The CDC also does not see vaccinations as a prerequisite for returning to campus — a stance shared by Newsom, but opposed by powerful teachers unions.
- Newsom on Friday: “The CDC guidelines are very consistent with where we want to go with our efforts.”
However, both the CDC and Newsom emphasized the importance of local control — suggesting that California’s school reopening map may not change much in the months to come.
Plans to resume school sports also appear to have slowed down. Though Newsom last week said he hoped to release updated guidance within “the next number of days,” his office on Thursday said “details” would be forthcoming within the next “two weeks.” This frustrated many supporters of Let Them Play CA, which on Thursday delivered more than 12,000 letters to Newsom’s office asking him to let sports continue.