SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged schools to resume in-person education next year.
As part of a phased approach, Newsom said he wants to start with the youngest students and promised $2 billion in state aid to promote coronavirus testing for students and teachers, increased ventilation of classrooms and personal protective equipment.
The governor said under the phased approach, schools could begin reopening as early as February for students in kindergarten-6th grade. Newsom added he wants all schools on track to reopen by early spring.
Even after schools reopen, distance learning will still be an option for families.
Under the plan, a county has to have a COVID-19 case rate of 28 cases per 100,000 people. A case rate above 28 would delay school reopenings.
As of Dec. 29, San Diego County is at 38 cases per 100,000.
Newsom said the recommendation announced Wednesday was driven by increasing evidence that there are lower risks and increased benefits from in-person instruction particularly for the youngest students.
The proposal comes as California remains consumed by a growing pandemic crisis.
But hope is on the horizon as vaccines begin rolling out, with educators among those recommended for shots after the initial round goes to health care workers.
The $2 billion in funding will need to be approved by the state Legislature.