While students across the state will end this academic year without setting foot back in a classroom, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he is working on plans to reopen schools for a new term starting as early as July.
“We are considering the prospect of an even earlier school year into the fall, as early as late July, early August,” Newsom said.
Establishing guidelines for schools to reopen has been one of the six essential points that Newsom laid out as key indicators his administration is looking for on the road to recovery.
“We believe we are weeks, not months away, from making meaningful modifications to that indicator and in this space,” he stated.
While he did not go into additional specifics about a potential date to reopen schools or what protocols would have to be in place for physical classrooms to operate, he did express a concern about “learning loss” due to the prolonged closures students have experienced this spring.
“We have to address learning gaps which have occurred as a result of this,” California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angall told CBS Los Angeles. “We’ll be focused importantly on making sure that the environment is safe for kids, but also safe for teachers, safe for others who are in the school.”
That could mean at least starting the new year with virtual classrooms. LAUSD has already committed it will be online-only for the rest of this academic year as well as the summer term, even though not all students have been able to access the digital learning offerings.
One study, by the Oregon-based education research group Northwest Evaluation Association, attempted to estimate what the impact of pandemic-related learning loss might be. They found that students might enter their next grade level having achieved only 70 percent the educational gains expected in a typical year, though that estimate does not account for any gains from online classes.