California Covid-19 Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Announces Plan For Phased Reopening Of Schools; See Which Counties Qualify

California Covid-19 Update: Governor Gavin Newsom announced a phased reopening strategy for the state’s schools called the “Safe Schools for All Plan.”

TK-6 students will be allowed to return to school only if the individual schools submit a safety plan to state and local governments. If not disapproved five days after submission, schools will be allowed to open, subject to monitoring by local health departments. In addition, those counties where schools open must achieve and maintain a level of Covid-19 infection below 28 people per 100,000. Distance learning will still be an option. You can get details of the plan here.

That 28 people per 100,000 mark is a long way away for most of the state’s population. California-at-large is at 98 infections per 100,000 residents. That ratio is surely less in some of the state’s less populous counties in the far north.

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In Humboldt, for instance, the number is 14 infections per 100,000. One would assume, then, that Humboldt schools will be allowed to open as soon as they submit safety plans that are not rejected. Likewise Plumas, Siskiyou, Del Norte and Sierra Counties.

According to the state’s tracking dashboard its most populous county, Los Angeles, has a long way to go. L.A. is at 138 infections per 100,000.

Newsom said he was, “Really looking at the spring” in terms of “safely bringing our kids back into the classroom.” He cited data indicating there is no significant impact of children returning to school if — ad he stressed this — students and staff follow detailed PPE and social distancing measures.

The governor wants to provide $2 billion to help California schools safely reopen. The money is intended to pay for COVID-19 testing, ventilation and personal protective equipment in schools. He said that breaks down to $450 per pupil.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”

Newsom said a detailed version of the plan would be released next Friday, “with all the bells and whistles.”

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