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Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Gov. Newsom Introduces $2 Billion School Reopening Plan

Safe Schools for All Plan would have some grades return to in-class instruction as early as February

By Evan Symon, December 30, 2020 2:35 pm

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced in a $2 billion plan to reopen schools across California beginning in February, with all grades expected to be back in classrooms by the spring.

The plan, known as the Safe Schools for All Plan, would allow grades to return to public schools in different phases, beginning with younger grades. Kindergarten through second grade children would be the priority grades to come back first, along with students disproportionally impacted by the pandemic such as special education students, foster students, low-income students, and those learning English. This would be followed by grades 3 through 6 being phased in, with all grades K-12 returning to public schools no later than early spring 2021.

Governor Newsom at the 12/30/2020 press conference. (Photo: Youtube)

Schools themselves will be able to reopen once a COVID-19 safety plan is approved by state and local officials, and that the county of the school needs to have a seven-day average case rate of under 28 cases per 100,000 per day.

“The idea is to take grades K through six, with special education and disproportionally affected populations by this pandemic, but also more broadly impacted by a series of issues better defined in this state,” said Governor Newsom during the press conference on Wednesday. “We also want to improve our efforts to get everybody moving in a similar direction to be back on track, across the spectrum by early spring of 2021.”

Governor Newsom also highlighted the four “pillars” of the planned reopening.

The first pillar, funding, would come in through the $2 billion being funneled into the plan, equaling out to around $450 per student for in-person instruction, with variances in the amount given per students based on if they are low-income, are foster youth, or if they are learning English.

Safety and mitigation was also highlighted as an important factor, requiring frequent testing for students and staff, with weekly testing being required for schools with high transmission rates of COVID-19. All students and staff will have to wear masks, with schools themselves being on-boarded onto the School Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) contract tracing service in case of any outbreak. School staff will also receive vaccination priority next year.

Safe Schools for All will also have an oversight plan as another pillar, with state education and health agencies such as the Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Cal/OSHA coming together to help schools develop and implement their COVID-19 Safety Plans.

The last pillar, transparency and accountability, will allow the public to see where schools are currently in their reopening plans, what school transmission rates are, and generally if it is safe for kids there.

The return of in-class instruction

Altogether, the state’s plan is pushing for classes to resume in schools statewide as long as COVID-19 rates continue to go down.

“As a parent of very young children, in-person instruction, there’s just no substitute for it,” said Newsom of bringing back in-person learning. “It’s just so much more difficult for a 4-year-old to focus on a device than a 14-year-old.”

Newsom also added that the lower risks and increased benefits from having in-person instruction would have a positive effect on students, especially younger students.

Many teacher reacted positively to the news while also noting that they wouldn’t think to go back unless masks were on at all times.

“Having students back in school is so important,” said Long Beach second grade teacher Monica Fernandez. “But we have to make sure it’s safe for everyone first. This plan seems to address that. But the approved school plans have to fill in all the details teachers are still concerned about. For example, we can’t have ‘mask breaks’ anymore. A lot of teachers nationwide have been giving ‘mask breaks’ to students to have a few minutes not wearing one during the day when it isn’t lunch. We cannot allow things like that, and we need rules that say that can’t happen.

“But, you know, kids need to come back for their education, we need to come back to teach better, and I’m sure parents would like their kids back at well. As long as it’s done safely you’ll be hard-pressed to find a teacher against this.”

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (Photo: CM)

Teachers and staff noted that being high on the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine would help the transition and would make many teachers more willing to continue in-class instruction.

“There’s no question that the vaccine, when it’s available, will be a game-changer,” said state Superintendent Tony Thurmond on Wednesday. “But until the doses are available, it seems to me that there’s nothing more important than robust COVID testing and contact tracing.”

During the conference, Newsom also addressed possible issues, such as schools not complying with the new state rules or schools needing more time to to instruct students properly. The Governor responded by saying that schools would be disciplined in some way by the state and that the school year might be extended to make up for lost in-class time.

More details on initial K-2 grade in-class returns are expected to be released early next month in anticipation of a February start.


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13 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Introduces $2 Billion School Reopening Plan

  1. He wants to discipline schools for “lost time in the classroom.” Why don’t the parents and schools discipline Newsom for “lost time in the classroom?” What a joke! He loves threatening discipline to all businesses, citizens while letting real criminals out of jail. So, foreign, non English speaking children are given priority over English speaking, taxpaying citizens children? Let them all go back to school. Every situation in every household should be a priority without another ridiculously unachievable case rate number based on false positives and Newsom deciding which kids go back first based on socioeconomic status. Talk about inequality. PLEASE SIGN THE RECALL PETITION!!

  2. Hard to even read this article. “Mask breaks” are not allowed!!! These poor children have been through enough. If I was a parent, I would have already pulled my children out of public school. I used to be a substitute teacher and it is hard enough as it is. Putting all of these ridiculous “precautions” in place is only increasing the OCD, paranoia, and complete utter lack of real, healthy socialization for these kids. This has gone too far. Look around you – none of this is normal. You will see parents and teachers fighting to keep their children muzzled. If you need some common sense, follow Kevin Kiley’s blog. Better yet, find a way to save yourself from this madness.

    1. Could not agree more K!
      More studies are being published that there was no asymptomatic spread. Children were never super spreaders! Yet here we are phasing in school openings with a 2 billion dollar price tag.
      What a complete sham!

    2. My son is a special education student and thankfully has completed High School. There is absolutely no way in hell I would send him to school with a muzzle. First of all he refuses to wear it and second I’m not going to be restricting my son’s oxygen over a virus with a 99% recovery rate. Stop letting these dictators control our lives. I hope most families homeschool if they’re able to. Or get the heck out of dodge. Newsom is a tyrant and he needs locked up for crimes to humanity. We will never forget he killed the elderly placing them in nursing homes. Sign the petition. Recallgavin2020.com
      Follow *Kevin Kiley*

  3. People in authority like to think they can control things, some even want to use the virus to effectively control police for the political agendas they want. But the bottom line is a virus is a virus and it’s still going to do its virus thing. Without vaccination and immunity leading to herd immunity, there’s not a heck of a lot you can do to cut it off. And the place where they’re spreading it isn’t in the restaurants that Gavin Newsom is constantly trying to shut down and destroy. It’s in the private homes where people are gathering.

    It’s over 99% survivable, as we say again and again, across all age brackets. Yet they’d rather kill everything else in the interests of it. California needs to open everything up.
    Unless you have an agenda?

    1. Ya know the agenda looks more and more like ”trickle up poverty”. A dream of the far left to “level” the playing field. Mmm, where have I heard that before?

      With the lack of tax revenue, the schools will be offering a sub par education for years to come, if they are ever fully open. How is that for educational equity?

  4. My daughter is in her first year of teaching unfortunately. At this point all I can hope for is that she decides to move from California. It’s unreal what a corrupt governor can do without arrest he has destroyed millions of lives and he’s not done yet….I’m beyond disgusted with the politics of California…

  5. Comrades
    They make it up on the fly…..each day a new directive, special announcement, a billion here/there, a dark winter, maybe.
    Everything and everywhere mush…. like just plain unsteadiness, incomplete, unmeasurable, uncertain….
    As you sink……further…..while hanging on their ever word-

  6. Eff you Newsom…

    This is just another funding ploy for his teacher union donors, coupled with his command & control thru fear and disinformation…


  7. Apparently ole Nuisance doesn’t have even a 5th grade education. He’s not capable of reading Medical/Science reports. Kids are NOT susceptible to the virus, the masks are unsafe by harboring germs AND have kids inhale more CO2 than they should. Add to that – masks aren’t capable of keeping the virus either in or out. But, Nuisance is incapable of learning. The man is a total IDIOT!! Just what CA deserves – talk about SHEEPLE!!! Look at all the idiots driving and wearing a mask – AND alone in the vehicle. A sure fire way to get sick, have an accident, and/or get brain damage. DUH!!!!!

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