Desert Sun: Schools could reopen as early as July? Coachella Valley districts surprised by Newsom outline
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement Tuesday that schools could reopen in a few months took Coachella Valley districts by surprise.
California schoolchildren could return to their classrooms as soon as late July, though likely with modifications, Newsom said as he outlined plans for easing stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom said no official decisions have been made, but he acknowledged there have been “learning losses” as parents have sought to teach their kids from home since most schools and classrooms closed in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
School districts and families have struggled to adapt to at-home learning and the deficits have been even greater in homes without technology or where parents are essential workers who are not at home to do home-schooling, he said.
“That learning loss is very real,” Newsom said. “If we can maybe start up the school year a little earlier, maybe we can help close that gap.”
In response to Newsom’s remarks, state Superintendent Tony Thurmond issued a statement Tuesday, saying he had heard of the early-opening plan for the first time that day.
Nevertheless, reopening the schools this summer could “help us address equity issues facing our most vulnerable students,” he said. But, he added, the state will need to answer some major questions, including, “can this be done in a way that protects the health and safety of our students, teachers and school staff?”