California Lawmakers Want More Leadership from Newsom on School Reopening
Members of the state’s assembly have demanded more specific statewide guidelines for school reopening, emphasizing that equity gaps will otherwise grow as some students return to classrooms faster than others.
During an Assembly, the lawmakers shared concerns over the education budget and asked Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health to establish clear requirements for schools to reopen. This included COVID-19 testing expectations for teachers and students.
In June, the state issued guidelines for schools that included mask and temperature check requirements Reopening decisions were left up to local school districts. The result has been that private schools and schools in more affluent communities have opened while large public districts continue to debate a return to class timeline, all the while seeking more support from the state.
Lawmakers called for more Covid-19 data from the California Department of Education, saying little is known about how school reopening attempts have gone so far. California is one of 11 states that do not release school-level data on coronavirus infections, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Only two school-related outbreaks have been reported, affecting 17 teachers and students, satte health officers from DDPH said. Schools officials are seeking more guidance, included testing. Some schools refuse to reopen until access to testing is provided. Lawmakers have been pressing for more funding so that schools can test; they also asked that necessary adjustments be made to the current budget.
The state has received $5.3 billion in state and federal funds for schools’ response to the pandemic. Newsom’s administration has issued guidelines that most of the counties can reopen indoor activities; however, Los Angeles Unified School District has yet to open schools.