BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The race is on to resume in-person instruction at schools across California. On Tuesday Governor Gavin Newsom announced thousands of schools have done just that since he rolled out a cash incentive at the beginning of the month.
According to the governor, about 9,000 of the state's 11,000 schools either resumed some level of in-person instruction or have confirmed a date to do just that. This means that some state money will be headed their way.
"We are seeing real progress, real momentum aided by $6.6 billion," said Newsom in a speech. "To address the issue of learning loss, to allow us to re-imagine the school year, not just the school day. To provide for peer-to-peer support, tutors, mentorship, to deal with the social and emotional challenges so many kids are facing.”
That money put on the table at the beginning of the month is for schools that resume some in-person instruction by the end of March.
According to Newsom with about 2 weeks left until the deadline to receive that funding, districts have been responding swiftly to the incentive. Schools that resume in-person instruction after March will get less money.
"We're seeing some really wonderful and creative ideas from districts across the state."
In Kern County, three of the largest school districts have released their reopening plan.
The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District has resumed in-person learning for kindergarten through 3rd grade. Their 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will return to in-person learning beginning Thursday.
The Kern High School District welcomed students in Phase 1 back on Monday with Phase 2 expected to return on March 22nd, Phase 3 on April 6th, and Phase 4 on April 12th.
The Bakersfield City School District originally planned on resuming in-person learning for some students in March but that got pushed back to April. The district's spokeswoman Tabatha Mills said vaccinating teachers and school staff is one reason for the delay.
The current plan is for BCSD is to welcome back Phase 1 and Phase 2 students by April 8th. Those include special needs classes. Phase 3 students can return on April 12th. Those include grades 3 to 6 at elementary sites. Phase 4 students will not be allowed to return until the county moves into the Red Tier, including junior high students.
"More and more business activity, more and more people back in schools, more and more energy, more and more optimism," added Newsom.
According to the state, they will be releasing the amount each district would be getting on Friday.