Reopening California: State considering July school start sparks controversy, backlash

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Reopening California: State considering July school start sparks controversy, backlash
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While some Bay Area parents would rather wait to have their kids go back to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some are on board with the possibility of starting in July.

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom sparked quite a bit of backlash online when he spoke about the upcoming school year in a Tuesday press conference.

Newsom suggested the possibility of starting class in late July.

"Concerns me because I know it's not gonna work," says Sabrina Tijerina, who is a parent of three and a teaching assistant at Silverwood Elementary School in Concord.

She is worried over recent talk of an early school year start, and specifically concerned about the comments made Tuesday by Newsom.

RELATED: 6 Bay Area counties relax some shelter-in-place restrictions; here are changes starting May 4

"We are considering the prospect of an even earlier school year into the fall as early as July or early august," said the governor.

It's those words that had parents and teachers sounding off online.

When we asked for your thoughts on Facebook you reacted with hundreds of comments. So many concerned over how social distancing will be implemented.

"Hearing July kinda threw me off a little bit," said Kelly Amerlan McMahon who is a parent and teacher in Santa Rosa.

RELATED: Schools surprised by Newsom's announcement about possibly reopening campuses early

Tijerina says her classes are large and social distancing would be impossible.

"There's close to 30 students in there and we all sit so close together," she said.

Not everyone though is against the idea.

Erin Reeder lives in Richmond and her 4th grade daughter has been busy studying away on their dining room table.

"They missed the last three months of school as much as they're trying hard and studying I don't think they're really learning," Reeder said. "We have to get back to life this cannot go on for years and I don't think it's going anywhere."

McMahon believes they would have a better chance at catching up if they dropped state testing next year.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom announces 4 phases to reopen CA businesses and schools

That would give them an additional three weeks.

ABC7 News reporter J.R. Stone reached out to the major teacher's unions and districts. They gave statements but did not take a side in the matter.

San Francisco Unified did say that any change in the calendar year would have to be approved by the unions.

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