Gov. Newsom executive order will help keep Bay Area schools open for in-person learning

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands of students and educators across the State of California are out of school due to COVID, exposure to COVID, or concern over COVID. With that in mind Tuesday, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to help keep schools open for in-person learning. This comes as at least one Bay Area District has gone to distance learning.

California Governor Gavin Newsom at an event to talk Universal Health Care but addressing the pressing issue, that of school COVID absences.

Newsom announced an executive order to deal with short-term staffing at schools across the state.

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"Top priority for us, to keep these schools open," said Newsom.

Contra Costa County Superintendent Lynn Mackey talked about that executive order that will make it easier to bring substitute teachers on board.

"This will allow us to extend the amount of time people can stay in a classroom and sub, and it will allow some flexibility in getting people into those jobs quicker, and it will allow retirees to be able to sub longer so that is fantastic," said Mackey.

With hundreds of teachers and instructors out with COVID-related absences, Hayward Unified has opted to go against state and county guidance by moving to distance learning. Oakland School for the Arts closed for a week due to staffing problems. San Mateo Union High School District has an ad in the local paper for substitute teachers to earn up to $375 a day. Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli believes everything should be done to keep kids in school.

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"We're not seeing big spikes in pediatric hospitalizations. It's actually not less safe to be in school. When kids are in school they follow masking rules, they are tested if they have a contact, they're quarantined as needed," said Dr. Tzvieli.

In the San Mateo-Foster City School District, it's already all hands on deck.

"We've had 200 plus students and staff out on a daily basis. At least ten staff members but people are picking up the pieces. I actually saw one of our retired teachers from a couple of years ago today so that was really nice to see that," says Dawnette Brenner who is an instructor at Abbott Middle School.

As to how many teachers this executive order could help bring back, the governor's office said, "they don't have estimates to share on that."

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