BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Governor Gavin Newsom Wednesday expressed his eagerness to get those grades K-6 back to school, saying there’s new data to show it’s safe to do so.
He didn’t give a timeline on when that may happen, but suggested it could be soon.
"I'm confident that we can get to where we need to go and that's safely reopening our schools for in-person instruction, starting with the younger grades and those with special needs,” Newsom said.
Watch the full briefing below:
A week after lifting the stay-at-home orders, Newsom said he believes K-6 schools can reopen safely after looking over data from school districts that are already open in the state.
“We have many, many districts that have schools open and have been able to do it safely. In January we had 87 reported positive cases in our schools. That's down from where we were in November, December, despite January being a record month for community spread and positive,” he said.
Following that record month of COVID-19 positive cases, Center for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky asserted that schools can reopen safely without vaccinating teachers.
“There is an increase in data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” she said.
Newsom addresses the reopening of schools, sports
While Kern County Superintendent of Schools spokesperson Robert Meszaros believes teachers and school staff should be prioritized for vaccines, he does not believe it needs to be a prerequisite for reopening.
"I think it's really important to note that the vast majority of schools in Kern County have made a good faith effort to open to the extent possible,” Meszaros said. “This isn't necessarily the case in other parts of the state. I really think the governor's new plan was aimed at those districts throughout the state who haven't made any attempt to open for in-person instruction."
23ABC reached out to several school districts in Kern County and the California Teachers Association but have not heard back from them.
Newsom says the state has more than $6 billion the they will use to help schools reopen with modifications so that everyone is safe.
- The most recent guidance that schools must follow can be found here.
- There has not been a central location for the public to determine which schools are open and which are not. This will change very soon as the state has begun requiring every school district to report its status every other Monday. That info, along with other useful school-related items, will then be available at a new state website here.