California Orders Online Schooling in Hardest-Hit Counties

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California said public schools in the state’s hardest hit counties won’t be able to open for on-campus classes until the spread of the coronavirus in that area is contained. The order means that students in counties accounting for more than 70% of the state’s population will likely switch to remote learning for the beginning of the school year.

“The virus will be with us for a year or more, and school districts must provide meaningful instruction in the midst of this pandemic,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “In California, health data will determine when a school can be physically open -– and when it must close –- but learning should never stop. Students, staff, and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely.”

California reported 9,986 new virus cases, an increase of 2.8%, and another 130 deaths. Of the state’s 58 counties, 33 are on a “monitoring list” that have showed troubling trends.

California has seen a dramatic surge in new virus cases, driving up the number of deaths and patients needing hospitalization and ICU beds at an alarming rate. That forced Newsom earlier this month to scale back reopening and to order indoor dining and bars closed and a halt to indoor activities at gyms, hair salons and places of worship in most of the state.

School districts in Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento had already decided they would offer remote learning only, despite calls by the Trump administration for classrooms to fully reopen.

Schools located in counties that are on the state’s virus monitoring list must not physically open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the list for 14 consecutive days. All staff and students in 3rd grade and above will be required to wear a mask or face covering. Students in 2nd grade and below are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.

Related:Childhood Covid-19 Infections Mount With Schools Eyeing Openings

— With assistance by David R Baker

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