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Coronavirus update: Gov. Newsom Press Conference, New guidance, SPI Thurmond to lead webinar tomorrow (3/18/20)

As counties and municipalities across the state continued to escalate their response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Gov. Gavin Newsom offered his strongest statement yet about the outlook for public schools grappling with the impact of the pandemic.

While stopping short of a universal declaration, the Governor stated in a
4:30 p.m. press conference that he expected “few, if any” schools to reopen this academic year. Gov. Newsom also indicated the state would apply for a one-year federal waiver from state testing, adding that testing will not be required as long as the U.S. Department of Education accepts the waiver application.

Later in the evening, a number of state agencies jointly released
guidance that addresses some of the most pressing issues related to school closures: distance learning, schools meals and childcare and student supervision. The guidance documents are the product of collaboration between the Governor’s Office, the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Health and Human Services Agency. While these documents are significant in scope, it is unlikely they will answer every outstanding question posed by school districts and county offices of education.  

We expect to have further information after participating in a webinar tomorrow morning led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Those interested in hearing SPI Thurmond discuss the newly issued COVID-19 guidance can 
register here for the webinar, which will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18.

In the meantime, please know that we continue our regular dialogue with the Governor’s Office and the CDE and that we are advocating for the highest degree of support for schools during this unprecedented time.