Former State Superintendent Questions Education Guidelines During Pandemic

Young students writing notes in classroom
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

At least one education expert fears new state guidelines for reopening California’s schools in the fall may be too difficult to implement.

The guidelines include promoting healthy hygiene, disinfecting surfaces, temperature checks and, if possible, keeping student desks six feet apart. Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin told KCBS Radio that maintaining social distance in the classroom will be tough, however, given how crowded California’s public schools are.

"I’ve been in classrooms in California where they’ve got stools at the back of the room," Eastin said. "The last kids to arrive have to sit on a stool because the class is so crowded."

So, how can the guidelines be implemented?

"We need to have some strategic planning done immediately and it needs to happen urgently," Eastin explained. "It needs to be people, yes, who are involved in school operations, as well school academics. And yes, it ought to involve the parents and the teachers and the board members, as well as the administrators."

Eastin believes the state should provide emergency funding for additional support.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed cuts to public school funding to close a $54 billion budget deficit created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is expected to release "Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of CA’s Public Schools" on Monday, providing further details on the state's plan for a path back to public education.