Governor Gavin Newsom announces new plan to safely reopen schools in the spring

Elementary School Students
Elementary School Students
Bakersfield School District
Panama Buena Vista Union School District
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 20:28:35-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new plan to safely reopen schools in the spring. With some schools possibly opening by next month more schools could be reopening. 23ABC's Alex Bell breaks down the state plan on how students will return to class.

The plan is called the California "Safe Schools for All” plan and it's intended to get grades K through 6 back into schools safely.

"We want to improve our efforts to get everybody moving in a similar direction to be back on track across the spectrum by early spring of 2021," said Newsom. "It’s especially important for our youngest kids, those with disabilities, those with limited access to technology at home, and those who have struggled more than most with distance learning.”

Part of the plan states that in-person learning is the best option for students learning, mental health, and social needs.

As a father of four, I know firsthand what parents, educators and pediatricians continue to say: in-person is the best setting to meet not only the learning needs, but the mental health and social-emotional needs of our kids,” said Governor Newsom. “In the midst of this pandemic, my Administration is focused on getting students back into the classroom in a way that leads with student and teacher health. By focusing on a phased approach with virus mitigation and prevention at the center, we can begin to return our kids to school to support learning needs and restore the benefits of in-person instruction. It’s especially important for our youngest kids, those with disabilities, those with limited access to technology at home and those who have struggled more than most with distance learning.”

The plan has a budget of $2 billion, which is awaiting approval, to help schools that will resume in-person instruction or phasing in of in-person instruction by spring. The state plan is specifically for students in grades K through 6 and will still allow for distancing learning to remain as an option for parents and students.

"Now distance learning - let me make this clear will still remain an option for parents and students. There's a lot of trepidation we recognize that - a lot of anxiety about going back into the classroom which one has to clearly acknowledge," added Newsom.

Elementary School Students

The framework for the safe reopening has four core pillars which include:

  • Funding to Support Safe Reopening: so funds are available to implement safety measures.
  • Safety & Mitigation Measures for Classrooms: which aims to allow frequent testing for all students and staff, masks for all students and staff, and health officials for contact tracing
  • Hands-on Oversight & Assistance for Schools: a cross-agency team which will include staff from departments such as the California Department of Public Health and OSHA to provide hands-on support to schools so they implement COVID-19 Safety Plans and conduct things like school visits and training.
  • Transparency & Accountability for Families and Staff: which is a state dashboard to help residents track things like their school's reopening status, data on school outbreaks, and a web-based "hotline" for staff and parents to report concerns.

“These four pillars will serve as tools to safely guide our state’s return to in-person instruction and protect the health of students, educators, and all school staff,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “As a pediatrician and father, I know schools are the best place our kids can be and the positive impact in-person learning has on their overall health and well-being.”

The plan introduced by the governor has not been approved yet but is set to be approved sometime this month.

Rosedale Union School District is meeting Tuesday night and on their agenda will be a discussion on returning to in-person learning.

To Learn More About California’s Safe Schools for All Plan: