SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tony Thurmond, superintendent of California public schools, suggested staggering the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are not anticipating a common opening across school districts or a mandate for when school districts open," he said on Wednesday.
Thurmond stressed that local governments and school districts will have the authority to reopen schools.
Students and teachers will likely wear masks when schools do reopen, he added.
Thurmond also said "shift learning" may be the answer to create smaller class sizes for social distancing and that some districts may opt for hybrid in-person and virtual learning.
"Students may come in a morning shift. And then another group of students may come in an afternoon shift. That may be a way to accommodate the need to have much smaller class sizes so that school campuses can be open with social distancing provisions in place."
He said with smaller classes, he realizes that will likely mean more educators are needed to assist with instruction and, in the coming days, the state may have a better idea of what that might cost.
"We're working through those scenarios, and we hope to have some examples of what cost might look like in the days and weeks to come," he said.
Thurmond also addressed the digital divide and said the state is continuing to work with tech partners to get more laptops to students in need and get free or reduced price internet access to the households of the 1 million California student without adequate access.
He encouraged the tech industry to reach out if they would like to make a donation by e-mail DonateTech@cde.ca.gov.
As parents worry about their student's learning loss, Thurmond suggested some schools may reopen for summer enrichment programs as they traditionally have in the past. But that too would be open to local districts to determine.
"Any learning gaps are not anybody's fault, everyone's working hard to support our students," he said, "But the reality is that even before the pandemic hit. We had an achievement gap in the state. And in this country."
The big takeaway: While the state will be providing guidance of how schools should be reopening, the question of when will be entirely up to local leaders.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: How close was CA to becoming a NY-level crisis?
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- How California's COVID-19 cases stack up against other hot spot states
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Asian American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on African American community
- What Bay Area tenants need to know about rent payments, eviction amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions