Coronavirus: California superintendent suggests staggered reopening of schools

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tony Thurmond, superintendent of California public schools, is suggesting that the state stagger the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are not anticipating a common opening across school districts or a mandate for when school districts open," he said during a Wednesday press briefing.

Students and teachers will likely wear masks when schools do reopen, he added.

Thurmond also said "shift learning" may be the answer to create smaller class sizes for physical distancing and that some districts may opt for hybrid in-person and virtual learning.

"Students may come in a morning shift. And then another group of students may come in an afternoon shift."

The following are some guidelines that Thurmond suggested schools should follow:

  • Teachers and students may have to wear masks

  • Possibly will be smaller class sizes with morning and afternoon shifts to allow for social distancing

  • Some schools may opt for hybrid model - in class and virtual

  • Local counties/school boards have the power to reopen schools there will only be guidance by the state - no universal start date

  • Some year round schools may choose to open in July

  • Still working to address digital divide and get more laptops & internet access to students in need


As students continue with online learning, concerns have grown over education gaps for the most vulnerable students. In Southern California, about 765,000 households do not have internet access. Statewide, that number is approximately 1.6 million households.

On Tuesday, the California State University (CSU) system said it plans to cancel all in-person classes for the fall and to continue instruction online, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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