This past week Governor Newsom issued specific guidelines on how schools can plan to reopen for in-person learning. Part of his announcement included and extra $5.3 Billion in extra funding and extensive symptom checks for staff.
NBC Palm Springs gathered reactions from local education leaders and teachers on how that funding may be used.
“That package includes $5.3 billion dollars to deal with learning loss that was associated with some of the closures last year and a very very focused, and intentional effort,” explained Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday.
While discussing what the new school year will look like, the governor announced extra funds available to California schools. Local districts in the Coachella Valley, explaining what they hope to be able to use the extra funds for, had one thing in common, technology to support online learning.
“I’m hoping that we would be able to access any funds that we need for additional devices and connectivity but I know there are other districts that are nowhere near where we are which is almost 99% with devices and connectivity for our students,” said Dr. Sandra Lyon, Superintendent of PSUSD.
“To be able to ensure that we are providing that rigorous instruction that we are talking about in virtual and distance learning, sot that includes the devices, that includes the connectivity that we have to insure works in order for our students to be able to connect and to be able to receive instruction from the teachers every day,” said Dr. Maria Gandera, Superintendent of CVUSD.
“For next school year every child in desert sands from kindergarten to 12th grade will have that technology and that’s critical for what the governor was talking about for the rigorous distance learning,” said Laura Fisher, Assistant Superintendent of DSUSD.
While districts have to set-up distance learning and make sure all students have access, teachers would be the ones using it day in and day out.
“Five-point-three billion from the state obviously is a help. desert sands specifically really had a leg up on the technology where we had already had a one to one device technology program in place,” explained Trinal Gonsalez-Alesi, President of Desert Sands Teachers Association.
This school year is sure to be different from years past, but at the end of the day, the goal is to make sure students can learn without distractions and to try and create as normal of an environment as possible.
“That was exactly what the governor gave today, was some parameters, and what I really liked is how he truly connected, as much as we all want to get, and we do too, we all want to get kids back in school. wear your mask, wear your mask and you get kids back in school,” added Fisher.
With school starting in just a few weeks, some districts have decided to provide distance learning as an option for the entire year.