SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 12:45 p.m. Update
California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out strict criteria for school reopenings that makes it unlikely the vast majority of districts will have classroom instruction in the fall as the coronavirus pandemic surges.
The rules announced Friday include a mandate that students above 2nd grade and all staff wear masks in school. Newsom’s new guidance mandates that public schools in California counties that are on a monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections cannot hold in-person classes and will have to meet strict criteria for reopening.
With many of the state's 1,000 districts just weeks away from returning to school and undecided on whether to allow students back in classrooms, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to spend Friday's press conference discussing his plan for reopening schools.
Although the governor’s office hasn't confirmed any details prior to the noon press conference, Newsom is expected to outline his plan. Earlier this week, he approved several new rules related to coronavirus, but did not immediately make them public.
The announcement comes as coronavirus cases surge across the state and many districts, including all public schools in Sacramento County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Oakland, are choosing to start the school year with distance learning. Just last week, the governor said distance learning is the best decision, especially in areas where the virus is spreading at alarming rates.
"What we need to address is safely reopening the schools and we need to make that a foundational principal, that to me is non-negotiable,” Newsom said.
However, although distance learning is the safest option for much of the state, classroom learning can still happen in counties where it can be safely done.
Chemistry teacher at Foothill High School, Magda Rahardja Huynh says it's difficult to accommodate for all students.
"As a teacher you accommodate to all kinds of learners," Rahardja Huynh said. "Your student is not just visual or auditory but they are also kinesthetic. Some are and those are the students that are I feel like we haven't been able to cater to them."
Rahardja Huynh also said it's hard building a curriculum for all students who have different home environments.
Some are taking care of their siblings while others have trouble getting access to computers.
"A lot of my students come from backgrounds where they don't even have technology at home," Rahardja Huynh said. "It's hard for them to even get internet connection and their the ones who help their parents out with a lot of paperwork."
A parent from Elk Grove is facing her own set of challenges.
Her son is getting ready to go to Sheldon High School and has autism.
She is trying to fit in his lessons while also working from home.
"The challenge I have is these kids typically look for the social cues," said Cassandra Klein, parent. "The words of encouragement like gestures, facial expressions. Things like that for them to know they're on the right track and they know they're doing something positive."
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