California schools will not be reopening this academic year, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.
Newsom said that, based on the state's data about the coronavirus, it would be unwise to bring students back to classrooms, but that education could continue through online learning.
"It seems self-evident that we should not prepare to bring our children back into the school setting," said Newsom.
Newsom said that teachers and parents could adequately continue to teach students through what he called "distance learning."
The decision to keep schools closed for months creates a set of challenges for parents, which Newsom addressed in his comments.
"For all the parents out there who may be anxious about the expectation that your school is not going to be opening, I express deep respect and empathy," said Newsom, "particuarly for mothers, the pressure that we have placed on caregivers and parents is extraodinary."
Along with the closure announcement, Newsom also said at the press conference that the federal government granted a waiver that will allow the state to substantially increase access to food distribution throughout California. The state was also able to develop a management-labor agreement to get a comprehensive agreement on practices, procedures and processes to advance the possiblity of distance learning.
Google partnered with the state to provide 100,000 points of access to improve WiFi and broadband capacity for students whose homes are now de facto schoolhouses.
Google will also be making thousand of Chromebooks available for students without the means to afford a computer to connect to the internet.