SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — It should come as no surprise that school will look a lot different for many kids when they return in the fall. The California State Superintendent held an online news conference Wednesday going over some of the changes.
Tony Thurmond said not every school will start at the same time.
"We know that it's hard," he said.
Thurmond acknowledged the past couple of months haven't been easy for students, parents, and staff.
"This is a bigger challenge than anything I thought I'd ever experience in my lifetime," he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of the state's 10,000 schools, forcing millions of kids to learn from home.
Thurmond warned much of what's happening now will have to continue in the fall.
"We expect that there will be a balance between distance learning and in-class instruction," he said.
Here's what else students can expect:
- mandatory face coverings for students and staff
- daily temperature checks
- social distancing
“[Distancing] when students are sitting at a desk, when students are taking their lunch, and six feet of distance on a school bus," Thurmond said.
In addition to establishing new guidelines, Thurmond said his focus is on closing the digital divide. Right now, 600,000 kids are still waiting for a computer.
"California needs at least $500 million to help us address kids who need access to a computing device and a mobile hotspot," Thurmond said.
Thurmond's office is working with Internet providers like Verizon. He also called on state and federal lawmakers for additional help.
"We're really hoping the federal government comes through with some funds," said Music Watson, Chief of Staff for the San Diego County Office of Education.
Watson said it's not just needed for computers and masks, but cleaning supplies and more teachers since classrooms will likely be split.
At this point, it's unclear where the money will come from.
"We won't know what the budget will look like until much later than we normally would," Watson said.
She said while she understands people's frustrations with the ongoing changes, they're necessary to maintain everyone's health and safety.
"Somebody is going to be unhappy and we're really trying to balance all that," Watson said.
The California State Superintendent will release more specific guidelines in early June.