California public school campuses are unlikely to reopen for the remainder of the academic school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said this late on Tuesday in a letter to school district officials.
“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social-distancing, it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.
“This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning,” Thurmond wrote.
Earlier, Thurmond had resisted suggestions that there was no hope for returning to campus. His letter Tuesday represented a shift of direction.
His statement also echoed remarks from Governor Gavin Newsom at a mid-day Tuesday news conference:
“We have more work to do: internet connection, rural issues, and still trying to address the anxiety of parents like me and my wife and millions of others about whether or not kids are going to go back to school this calendar year or not.
“I have been clear in my belief they will not, but let me announce formally what the superintendent of public education believes and what the superintendents believe and expect that announcement in the next day or two,” Newsom said.
Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest school system, shut down its schools on March 16.
Los Angeles schools Superintendent Austin Beutner recently extended that campus closure to May 1, in line with recommendations from the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
School districts have yet to receive firm state guidance on how students will be graded, how attendance requirements will be modified and how graduation requirements will be affected.