Gov. Newsom expects all students back in classrooms by August

SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- Gov. Gavin Newsom is visiting an elementary school in Sonoma County Wednesday to give an update on COVID-19 in California and the school reopening effort.

Newsom has been visiting schools around the state in recent weeks to highlight the reopening of many schools for in-person learning. He said the expectation is that students will be back in classrooms across the board by August.

"Our default is to get kids back safely schools and by August," said Newsom. "I'm expecting by June 15 to substantially to reopen this economy again. We're at 1.7% positivity rate today, we have 23 million people vaccinated, there'll be over 30 million people vaccinated just in a number of weeks ... by August, everybody who wanted a vaccine will have had a chance to have a vaccine."

Newsom stopped short of saying he would mandate a full-scale reopening. He also said "extreme exceptions" to in-person learning would be allowed and accommodated.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been a big part of California's push to reopen -- not just schools, but the economy more broadly. About 49% of the over-16 population has received one dose; 28% are fully vaccinated.

Even as coronavirus transmission is on the rise in other states, California's case numbers and positivity rates remain low. If that trend holds, the state is moving to full reopen the economy on June 15. Newsom said Wednesday he's still feeling confident about that timeline.

"I really believe that in a few months, not only are we going to reach that June 15 deadline, where you're going to be back to some semblance of normalcy. But by this fall ... I expect people enthusiastically will be making their way into community colleges, or CSU and UCs and private universities, as well as our K-12 system."

There were concerns that a pause on using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could slow California's progress, but the state was already bracing for a massive drop in J&J supply due to a manufacturing issue, so the impact hasn't been significant thus far.

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