Coronavirus: California schools may stay closed through end of school year, superintendent says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- UPDATE: On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom confirmed California schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year. Go here for the latest on his announcement about how the novel coronavirus pandemic is impacting schools across the state.

Previous story from March 31, 2020 can be seen below.

California schools may remain closed through the end of the school year as a precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state superintendent said in a press release Tuesday.

California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond explained that "it appears" that students will not be returning to campus before the end of the school year as a result of the social distancing guidelines and safety of the students.

SCHOOL CLOSURES: School, university closures related to COVID-19 in San Francisco Bay Area

Superintendent Thurmond went on to say this does not mean that school is over but that educators should continue to put their efforts into delivering education through social distance learning.

"Its definitely devastating," said Stephanie Li, a third grade teacher at Frank McCoppin Elementary School in San Francisco's Richmond District.

Thurmond's letter is not an order, and SFUSD said Tuesday they have not made a decision to extend the closure through the academic year, but Li feels it's somewhat inevitable.

"Its just something we're going to have to adapt to because public health trumps everything else."

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Next week, when spring break is over, Li has plans for more distance learning. "At least face-to-face conversations with students, giving them feedback on the work that they're doing."

Li is also a mother of two young boys. "Next week, I'll definitely have to juggle my schedule more with my partner. "

On Tuesday, SFUSD passed out chrome books. The laptops are rentals to help the district's 4,000 students, who don't have access to the electronic devices they need to learn remotely.

Oakland Unified School District is still troubleshooting how to equip all their students with devices and internet access.

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"We're holding out hope that it's not going to be a situation where we keep our schools closed until the end of the year, but we're going to be prepared if it gets to that," said OUSD spokesman, John Sasaki.

Sasaki points out that Thurmond's letter is not a directive, but rather an assessment of the coronavirus' longterm affect on schools.

"Because of the changing nature of this pandemic, we really can't make that decision, we really can't say what's going to happen. So, we're waiting, and we're okay, but we are preparing for the worst."

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