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If School Campuses Remain Closed, Will There Be Summer Classes?

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond discussed the California Department of Education's response to COVID-19 during an online media check-in on April 1, 2020 (Screenshot of California Department of Education Facebook page)
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As more districts announce plans to keep campuses closed through the end of the academic year, some parents have wondered: will my kids have to go to classes during the summer?

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond got asked a similar question at a media briefing on Wednesday.

“Are there any special considerations or plans being given to summer school instruction to make up for time lost?”

Here’s what Thurmond said:

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To be clear, we’ve not waged into a conversation about summer school because this year is not over. And while our campuses are closed, we want to be clear; school is still in session. California – unlike some states that have said there will be no education – California has said we’re not ready to give up on our students.

We know that there are challenges that we must mount, but we think we owe it to every one of our students to give them everything that we have as it relates to getting an education through distance learning. The state has given us the pathway to make this happen, by providing full funding to our school districts, so that all of our school staff can be paid, by providing additional resources to support distance learning, and to keep our staff at our schools safe. This is California showing that there is a pathway to get this done.

And so for that reason, we are not focusing on the summer. We’re focusing on right now, and how do we make sure that for now in our work together that we provide a quality education to our students the rest of this school year.

The California Department of Education is not currently planning on using summer school to make up for campus closures because, in the department’s eyes, school isn’t actually closed, even if campuses are. Thurmond emphasized that schools should still be happening via distance learning – though there are still challenges like the digital divide to overcome.

You can watch the whole check-in – where Thurmond also discussed the $100 million in emergency funding that will go to local educational agencies around the state, special education (more on that later), and approaches to closing the digital divide – here on the California Department of Education’s Facebook page.