Gov. Newsom hosts a news conference Friday on California public schools.

published on July 17, 2020 - 12:39 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday announced new guidelines for public schools as they ponder reopening in the fall.

The guidelines would bar local schools from reopening to in-person instruction since Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties are on a monitoring list for spiking Covid-19 cases.

Local school districts are currently in the process of determining what their instructional year will look like. Some have opted to start the year with distance learning. Others, such as Clovis Unified School District, have moved forward with plans to offer an option to parents that includes five days of in-person instruction per week.

Newsom said school districts in impacted counties may reopen when they remain off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.

For schools that are cleared for in-person instruction, students in the third grade and above will be required to wear face coverings along with all staff. Younger students will be encouraged to wear masks and face shields.

The school day will also start with symptom checks, such as taking body temperatures. School must also maintain hand washing stations and “deep” sanitation and disinfection, Newsom said during a news conference Friday.

Newsom added that cohorts of school staff will also be testing for Covid-19 on a “consistent” basis.

Schools must also adhere to quarantine protocols in the case of positive Covid-19 tests. The protocol includes consultation with public health officers. Classrooms will be dismissed with a confirmed case. Schools will be required to return home if multiple cohorts have cases or more than 5% of students are positive. An entire district must go home if 25% of schools are closed within a 14-day period.

“Learning is non-negotiable,” Newsom said. “Neither is safety.”

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