Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Education

Newsom Order Mandates Online Learning in Southern California -- For Now

5f120fc3529597000da79423-eight.jpg
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new state guidelines for reopening schools at a virtual press conference on July 17, 2020. (Screenshot from virtual press conference)
LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

Gov. Gavin Newsom today issued new rules that could force K-12 school campuses across much of California — including all of the greater Los Angeles region — to remain closed until their counties see declining rates of coronavirus cases.

Under the state’s new directive, both public and private schools cannot hold in-person classes if their county has been on California’s coronavirus monitoring list at any point in the last 14 days.

Schools must offer “distance learning only” until COVID-19 metrics improve and the county’s been off the watchlist for at least 14 days, the state rules say.

Most of the state’s counties — including Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties plus the Inland Empire — are currently on that monitoring list. Basically, unless conditions improve in Southern California in the next two to three weeks, any plan to start a new school year with in-person instruction might have to be set aside.

Support for LAist comes from

Here’s Newsom:

We all prefer in-classroom instruction for all the obvious reasons … but only if it can be done safely. As a parent, I believe that, and as someone who has the responsibility to support the education of 6-plus million kids in California, and have the backs of [school] staff.

Newsom’s move comes days after the state’s two largest school districts — L.A. Unified and San Diego Unified — said they wouldn’t reopen campuses for the foreseeable future.

And as EdSource points out, some districts in counties not on the state’s monitoring list — like San Francisco Unified — have opted for “online-only” starts as well.

But the governor’s move also comes as some local officials push to reopen schools with fewer restrictions. Orange County's Board of Ed recently approved a (non-binding) set of school-reopening guidance that casts doubt on the value of masks and social distancing.

Support for LAist comes from

MORE ON THIS STORY:

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.