At Monday’s press conference, Gov. Newsom introduced a new bill to reopen schools.
“You can’t reopen your economy unless you get your schools reopened for in-person instruction,” said Gov. Newsom.
The bill offers billions of dollars to schools that open TK through second grade by the end March.
“This is a $6.6 billion commitment, $2 billion specifically for grants to help in-person instruction. Those are grants that would provide more PPE, for ventilation, for spacing and for issues related to health,” said Gov. Newsom.
Under this proposal, once a county enters the red reopening tier, schools will also have to open all elementary grades plus a middle and high school grade to remain eligible for the funding.
Locally, Assembly-member Chad Mayes says he supports the proposal.
“I’ve been a believer for some time that we’ve needed to get our schools open, if you look at the mental health issues that are going on with our kids it is dramatic,” said Asm. Mayes, 42nd district.
After local districts assessed the guidelines Gov. Newsom laid out, Desert sands unified school district wrote “the agreement appears to align well with the Desert Sands plan for a return to in-person learning. Additional funding to help support that transition is welcome.”
However, Coachella Valley Unified has yet to set a firm return date.
Palm Springs Unified says they are still assessing the details, but, at this time they plan to reopen after the state’s march deadline.
“We’re recommending an April 12th start date for TK2, and are looking at our 3rd through 5th grade on April 19th,” said PSUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon.
On Thursday, Asm. Mayes will vote on the bill.
While he favors a return to schools, Mayes says the decision is ultimately up to the districts.
“There’s some teachers out there, some administrators, that want to get schools open, so it’s great that the state of California is going to provide a little bit more funding to be able to make that happen,” said Asm. Mayes.