California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is recommending that the state’s public schools plan to provide distance learning to students through the end of their school year.
“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.”California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond
Thurmond stressed that health concerns are paramount in determining when schools should be reopened. “The need for safety through social distancing warrants that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic,” he said.
However, he emphasized that while school campuses may be closed, schools are not.
“This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning,” he said. He said the California Dept. of Education was ready to assist school districts to do so. In an interview, Thurmond said his department, for example, has surveyed districts throughout the state on how many students don’t have internet access or devices at home and is trying to match up the needs of individual districts with offers from the philanthropic sector to meet those needs.
Thurmond stressed that his recommendation was not a directive and that it was ultimately up to local school districts or health departments to decide whether school campuses should remain open or closed.