Gov. Newsom assures school districts they'll be funded during coronavirus closures
California districts confused by about the requirements to get the money
MARCH 14, 2020
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG
A headline announces the closure of large events in San Francisco on March 13 after Gov. Gavin Newsom called for canceling all non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people because of the coronavirus threat.
This article was updated on March 15 with data on district closures and comments from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has given school districts some reassurance they have been waiting for: They will be paid for days they shut down to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
Newsom’s executive order late Friday, covering reimbursement for lost school days, includes conditions, including continuing to provide subsidized meals to low-income students, that some education officials say must be quickly clarified. The announcement came hours after dozens of school districts announced they would be shutting starting Monday.
EdSource has estimated that as of Sunday night, more than 5.1 million students (84 percent) in two thirds of districts (at least 599) will be shut down this week. With the exception of the Kern High School District in Bakersfield, 24 of the 25 largest school districts will be closed. (Go here to check the status of your district.)
While California Holds Off On Ordering All Schools Closed, Expected Closures Escalate Rapidly Throughout State
With few exceptions, the districts will close for two or three weeks. State and county health officials had encouraged closures in the hope that reducing close contact among students would slow an alarming spread of the coronavirus in California as well as reduce the risk of infection for teachers and school staff. As of Saturday, state health officials had reported 288 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, with five deaths.
Some districts had hesitated to close schools without some confidence that they would be held harmless for a loss of revenue. Word that Newsom would agree and encouragement from medical experts prompted them to act quickly.