When will schools reopen in California? It depends on your district, says state Superintendent Tony Thurmond

ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond gives update on reopening of schools
When will schools be allowed to reopen in California? And how will they do so safely? State Superintendent Tony Thurmond says there is no single answer to those questions.

SAN FRANCISCO -- As some California counties get permission to start reopening schools as soon as June, parents around the state are wondering when their kids will go back to class.

According to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, there is no single answer to that question.

"There will not be a common opening," Thurmond said in a press conference Wednesday. Instead, school districts will make their own decisions about when -- and how -- to reopen.

While some districts have already gotten permission to open schools early, Thurmond said most districts are still planning to reopen at their normal time in the fall, in late August or early September.

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While the timing may vary, Thurmond said all schools will be required to ensure proper social distancing when they reopen classrooms. That likely means smaller class sizes. It also means students and staff will have to wear masks, said Thurmond, and schools will need to be sanitized daily, if not multiple times a day.

Many districts are planning to continue distance and online learning in some capacity even after classrooms reopen.

The state won't be requiring school districts to do in-person instruction, online instruction, or a hybrid of the two; that will be up to district leaders.

But in order to teach students effectively in the fall, the superintendent says more funding is desperately needed. The revised May budget released by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week will trigger cuts to education unless there is additional support from the federal government.

"We believe that our school districts cannot reopen safely if they have to implement these kinds of cuts," Thurmond said.

The superintendent has a virtual meeting with all 1,000 school districts Thursday. Representatives from the different school districts will break into smaller focus groups to discuss how they're preparing to teach during the COVID-19 era.