Gov. Newsom says schools unlikely to open for rest of school year

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state education officials said Wednesday that public schools throughout the state are unlikely to open for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic but classes are expected to remain in session.

With COVID-19 cases expected to continue rising at least through May, Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and state Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond said that schools should remain closed through the end of the school year, with online learning programs, physical homework packets and other “distance learning” methods replacing traditional class time.

To help educators achieve that goal, Newsom announced that Google will provide 100,000 points of WiFi and broadband internet access throughout the state for at least three months, as well as thousands of Chromebook laptops to help teachers and their students access schoolwork online and communicate effectively during the pandemic.

Thurmond also said the state Department of Education will hold a webinar at 3 p.m. Thursday for teachers and education experts to discuss effective ways to teach during the pandemic. “This is a tough challenge, but as it relates to educating our kids, it’s a challenge that we must meet,” Thurmond said. “We can do more together, we’re stronger together and together we will support the educational needs of our 6 million students.”

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