Gov. Newsom Joins Educators in Prioritizing Safe Reopening of California Schools in New Guidance
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Clarity welcomed ahead of school year start; Distance learning for 33 counties on ‘watch list;’ Masks for grades 3-12, adults
BURLINGAME – CTA President E. Toby Boyd released the following statement regarding Gov. Gavin Newsom’s newly-released guidelines to reopening schools amidst COVID-19 widespread surge:
“Today’s updated guidance from Governor Newsom through the California Department of Public Health is a good step in providing some clarity and uniformity across the state. We cannot reopen schools unless it is safe!
“The new guidance provides clarity that distance learning should be the immediate course of action in any county that is on the state watch list and allows other districts to make those decisions in accordance with local health department officials. We also appreciate the specific guidance on requiring masks for students in grades three through 12, testing of school staff, and pushing districts to create Injury and Illness Prevention Programs that are transparent to parents and the community. We do, however, have concerns and will seek further clarity on the standards for closing a school (multiple cases, multiple cohorts vs. the five percent threshold) upon an outbreak and will be reviewing the rest of the guidance thoroughly.
“There’s no one more eager to get back to school with their students than teachers. We miss and want to be with our students but are ready to engage with school districts to implement a robust distance learning program that is inclusive of all and equitable in resources and technology.
“Safe school reopening, quality distance learning and equity for our communities requires funding. Many local districts don’t have the necessary resources or capacity to maintain even the most basic prevention measures of six feet physical distancing and limiting contacts, much less the other important preventative actions such as personal protective equipment (PPE), or adequate ventilation and cleaning supplies. In addition, studies show that 30 percent of K-12 students still do not have access to the internet or computers.
“That’s why we’re calling on lawmakers to return to the Capitol and adopt additional revenues, including additional suspension of corporate tax credits and exemptions, capturing unrealized capital gains or imposing a tax on the wealthiest billionaires and millionaires to help our students, families and communities survive through this crisis. CTA asks Governor Newsom to join us in supporting Proposition 15 to ensure large corporations pay their fair share of taxes to restore $12 billion to our schools and communities. And, we stand with the three million educators throughout the nation in calling on the federal government to pass the HEROES Act to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.”
The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.