Newsom announced Friday that schools can only resume in-person instruction if their county has been off the state's COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days. As of Friday, 33 of California's 58 counties are on that list, including Orange County.
Masks will also be required for all staff and students above third grade in the state.
The governor made his announcement as the state faces a new surge in cases. Los Angeles County, for example, has been seeing its highest daily case counts since the start of the pandemic.
Gov. Newsom speaks about plans for school reopenings
Prior to the announcement, many school districts in Orange County were preparing for a return to in-person classes without requiring masks or physical distancing.
Huntington Beach High School student Jenna Ali is not excited that she's already missing out on her senior year but says she gets it.
"Orange County isn't doing too well with coronavirus so there's not much hope right now like when we'll be able to go back," she said. "But it makes me care even more about passing out masks and making sure people understand how big of a tool they can be for fixing this problem."
Ali says she's glad the state stepped up.
School districts in Orange County say they are now focusing on improving teachers' online instruction skills to meet the new requirements. They are also looking at new ways to help working parents out with childcare options.