SACRAMENTO, Calif. — "We all are united around coming back safely into the schools and helping with the social and emotional support that our kids so desperately need," said Governor Gavin Newsom.
Newsom addressed the state on Monday, announcing his multi-billion dollar plan with legislative leaders which aims to bring some students back to the classroom by the end of this month, with $2 billion split between the state’s school districts to help make a return to in-person learning possible.
"Those are grants that can provide more PPE for ventilation for spacing for issues related to health and safety.”
E. Toby Boyd, the president with the California Teachers' Association, says they've wanted to get students back on campus for months now, but they didn't have guidance from the governor or the proper funding to do so, this plan provides both.
“The necessary mitigating items that need to be in place cost money and without it, this couldn't happen."
The plan, which will still need to be passed by the legislature, also includes $4.6 billion to help those students who have struggled with distance learning and could be spent on counseling and tutoring.
“Remote learning has its limits, but the in-person learning is what our educators went to school for preparing themselves to do. and this is the best method for students to learn in.”
But there are some rules school districts will have to follow to be eligible for the $2 billion.
Rob Meszaros with the Superintendent of Schools reiterates that districts in the state's most restrictive purple tier will have to return to in-person instruction at least through second grade this month.
“Elementary schools will be required to offer in-person instruction to grades TK through second and also offer in-person instruction to small groups of high needs students in all elementary grades no later than March 31. “
When the county moves into the less restrictive red tier, the expectations will look a bit different ..
“Elementary schools to provide in-person learning for all of their grade levels so TK through 6th and then for middle and high schools to serve in-person instruction to at least one grade level.”
Vaccinations for all teachers are not required under this deal, and the plan also doesn’t say how long students are required to be in the classroom each week. But Meszaros believes the overall consensus is to get students back into the classroom as soon and safely as possible, with Boyd saying he is excited to get there.
“I can't wait until we are just in a different place.”
Districts will get full compensation if they meet the standards by the March 31st deadline for those that meet the standards after April 1, they will get less money, and districts that do not have students back before May 15, they won’t get any of that funding.