With classrooms set to remain closed through the end of this school year, California state officials are considering an earlier start to the next one, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
He cited concerns about disruption to learning as many parents struggle to have their children’s education continue online amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are considering the prospect of an even earlier school year into the fall—late July, early August… Having talked to many other parents and educators, even the kids, I think we might want to consider getting that school year moved up a little bit,” the governor said.
The state needs to prepare for physical changes in schools “in order to advance that conversation,” Newsom said.
Newsom said as a father of four, he understands that “learning loss is very real.” He acknowledged the bigger challenges faced by families with less advantages.
“We believe we are weeks, not months away from making meaningful modifications to that indicator and in this space,” Newsom said. “We recognize there has been a learning loss because of this disruption. We’re concerned about this learning loss even into this summer.”
The state previously announced efforts to provide tablets and hotspots to families in need with help from companies such as Google. But with 6 million children across the state, bridging the gap remains an issue, according to the governor. Many families simply lack the capacity to support children’s online learning, he said.
Newsom cautioned there have been no decisions over when the fall school year begins, but that the state is considering the early start to get students back into classrooms.
The decision of when that could happen, though, depends on how COVID-19 cases trend and progress on testing, according to the governor.
“But I want to caution everybody. If we pull back too quickly and we walk away from our incredible commitment … it could start a second wave that could be even more damaging than the first,” Newsom added.
– Kristin Bravo – KTLA contributed to this report