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The California Dept. of Education recommends students not return to the classroom to finish the school year

The California Department of Education's decision to make the recommendation comes due to safety concerns and the need for ongoing social distancing.

CALIFORNIA, USA — California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, on Tuesday issued a recommendation that students not return to school campuses before the end of the 2019-20 school year.

The California Department of Education's decision to make the recommendation comes due to safety concerns and the need for ongoing social distancing.  

"In order to allow schools to plan accordingly, and to ensure that learning still occurs until the end of the school year, we are suggesting that schools plan and prepare to have their curriculum carried out through a distance learning model," said Thurmond in a statement. 

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He also reiterated that the decision does not imply the school is over for the year. The state will put all efforts into distance learning. 

"We are doing everything we can to support our schools and their distance learning opportunities for our students," said Thurmond. 

The state has been working with school districts to identify technology gaps and will work with them to ensure that all students have access to devices and internet in order to complete their distance learning requirements. 

“We are in unprecedented times, and it’s hard to tell what the future holds as we are all doing our best to flatten the curve. From what we know right now, our schools will be closed longer than we originally thought, and it will be best if our schools are prepared for that extension, by having their distance learning models prepared to go until the end of the school year," Thurmond said. 

Editors Note: A previous version of this story did not make it clear that California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond's statement was a recommendation and not a mandate/ order for all California public schools. 

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BACKGROUND: 

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

  • Stay home when you are sick. 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask.