CALIFORNIA—On Monday, March 1, California Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers announced they reached a $6.6 billion deal to have schools reopened by the end of March.
During a March 1 press conference, Newsom said that $2 billion of the $6.6 billion are “grants to help in-person instruction” for school districts. If schools are not opened starting April 1, one percent of money will be taken away for every day that they are closed and it will become zero by May 15, noted The New York Times.
The $4.6 billion will be used “to deal with reimagining the school year, giving districts flexibility, looking at school days, looking at intervention — deeper intervention to address kids’ wellness, to address their needs as it relates to community learning hubs, address learning loss as the districts sees fit, including potentially extending the school year and moving” it “into the summer,” stated the governor.
“We incentivize opening up our schools by providing real resources to do it” and “we expect that all of our TK-2 classrooms open within the next month,” stated Newsom during the press conference.
Newsom, who could face a recall election this year, said in a March 1 tweet that schools “in the purple tier should open grades K-2 by April 1” and “should open all elementary grades by April 1” if they are in the red tier.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon tweeted:
“Today’s announcement is about more than a desire to reopen schools. We owe it to California’s kids to make sure that returning to school is safe and that their education exceeds expectations. We are mustering resources to make sure educators can offer them all the help they need.”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed thanked the governor “on moving this forward” and added “we’re working with the state, providers & schools to vaccinate our teachers who are already in the classroom and those heading back soon,” in a March 1 tweet.
Former Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer, who announced on February 1 that he is running for governor, said in a statement posted to his Twitter account that the reopening plan “isn’t even close to good enough for our kids and teachers” and said “Newsom has ignored science and left public schools across our state shuttered while private schools are open.”
In addition, Faulconer stated that for the governor “to tout this as an accomplishment after months of inexcusable failures shows how out of touch he is, and why he should be recalled.”
According to Newsom, in a March 2 tweet, 9.3 million vaccines have been administered in the state with “20% of our 16+ population” and “over 50% of our seniors” receiving a shot as well as more than 90 percent of CA veterans have been vaccinated.
“The light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter and brighter,” the governor concluded.
The agreement comes less than a month after Governor Newsom signed a stimulus package in late February.