California state superintendent says it ‘appears’ public schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year

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BP Photo by Eli Weiss

CLOSED: Canfield Avenue Elementary School, an K-5 LAUSD school in Beverlywood, will probably not reopen for the rest of the school year, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond wrote in a letter today.

By Sam Rubanowitz, Senior Editor

California schools will likely remain closed for the rest of the school year, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond wrote in a letter to public school superintendents on Tuesday. The letter was obtained by various news sources including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Mercury News, and POLITICO.

“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year,” Superintendent Thurmond wrote. “This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.”

He wrote that distance learning creates hardships for some students, families, and educators and that the California Department of Education would help school districts through resources like webinars and training and is working with “leaders in technology and the philanthropic sector to help expand home devices and internet access where possible.”

The full text of the letter and original letterhead is below. You can access the original PDF of the letter here.

This is a developing story. The Boiling Point will post updates as more information becomes available.

 

March 31, 2020

 

Dear Fellow Superintendents;

I’m writing to you regarding the current status of schools in California. As you know we continue to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus and how those impacts make it unsafe for our students to be served on school campuses at this time. The need for safety through social distancing warrants that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic.

Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.

We acknowledge that students only being able to be served through distance learning creates hardships for some students, families, and educators. However, we are urging a safety first approach out of an abundance of caution. As such, we urge that all school districts in California move towards and/or continue to strengthen their distance learning programs and opportunities for students. We believe this sustains the safety of our students and families, provides consistency across schools in the state, and provides our districts and educators with clarity and the ability to plan for delivering education for the rest of this school year through a distance learning model.

The California Department of Education (CDE) is prepared to assist the distance learning efforts of our school districts. In that respect, CDE has provided guidance and resources on distance learning and will continue to enhance that guidance. CDE will also provide webinars and training and is forging public-private partnerships with leaders in technology and the philanthropic sector to help expand home devices and internet access where possible and where available resources and donations allow.

Please call our office if we can provide additional assistance to you in any way. We know that we are dealing with a never seen before health crisis that challenges us in many ways. But we also believe that as it relates to educating California students we must rise to meet that challenge, that we are stronger together, and that if we work together we can do more together for all of our students.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Ins
truction

Source: POLITICO.com