Bay Area Schools Request Permission To Reopen Classrooms Amid Pandemic

Empty Classroom
Photo credit Empty Classroom (Photo credit: Noah Strycker)
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

Some Bay Area schools are requesting waivers that would allow them to open their classrooms to students in the fall, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order that schools in counties on the state’s watch list remain closed. 

Most Bay Area counties are on that monitoring list, so under the July 17 order, the majority of the region’s K-12 schools will have to offer online learning only when instruction begins.   

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin told KCBS Radio she understands why schools would ask for a waiver, as some kids need to be in a classroom to learn. 

"Many children are not going to learn unless they’re in school because, in fact, maybe they have learning disabilities, maybe they’re five or six or seven years old and they don’t have, necessarily, the kind of structure at home that will empower them to really learn," Eastin said. 

Gov. Newsom’s order does allow county health officers to grant such waivers, but only to elementary schools. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Eastin said state and local governments can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to education, and need to accomodate the different learning styles of kids.

"There are a number of schools, public and private, that could do this safely, but it needs real leadership," she added. "It needs real, thoughtful planning."