CA Gov. Announces Additional $5.3 Billion to Support Schools During COVID-19

LAUSD Receiving More Than $540 Million

Ameera Butt
August 14, 2020 - 12:33 pm
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Gov. Newsom addressed the reopening of schools across the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic announcing an additional $5.3 billion was secured to support schools during COVID-19.

For example, he indicated Los Angeles Unified School District is receiving more than $540 million and Elk Grove Unified is receiving more than $44 million.  LAUSD already announced that its school year will start online and school campuses will remain closed. LAUSD started Aug. 18.

He said more than 90 percent of the students will start the school year with distance learning.

"Our commitment, our default, long term is in-person instruction," Newsom said adding the state has supplied PPE to schools including more than 18 million masks and face shields, more than 58,000 no-touch thermometers and more than a million and a half gallons of hand sanitizer.

"I know that's not enough," Newsom said.

He also issued an executive order to prioritize actions to bridge the divide throughout the state government and direct agencies to pursue a goal of 100 mbps download speed.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases has inched closer to 600,000 cases in California.

Newsom said the new statewide requirements for distance learning meant access to devices and connectivity for ALL kids, daily live interactions with teachers and other students and more.

He said 73,000 devices were delivered to school districts statewide and 100,000 hotspots.  He said there will be more details, county-by-county watch list, released on Monday.

In the past, Newsom ordered the closure of schools for in-person classes for those Calfornia counties that are on the state monitoring list, which stands at more than 30 counties currently. Newsom said schools can physically reopen when its county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Schools that don't meet this requirement must begin the year with distance learning, according to Newsom.  Newsom has said in the past the schools, in those counties on the watch list, can't reopen in-person school until they are off the state monitoring list for two weeks straight unless the district superintendent requests a waiver from the county health officer, which may be granted. They will shift to distance learning in more than 30 counties. That includes Los Angeles County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County and Ventura County and counties up north like Alameda County, Marin County, Monterey and Napa.

STATEWIDE GLITCH FIXED

This week, the glitch reported in the state's electronic lab reporting system was corrected. Earlier this week, Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state initiated a new laboratory reporting system and added system capacity to better handle record volume. Ghaly said the state was able to process 295,000 backlogged records over the weekend. Cases are now ready and available to local jurisdictions to be processed, according to Ghaly.

The state had to figure out the glitch reported in the state's electronic lab reporting system - something that concerned LA County health officials last week. 

Meanwhile, the state's public health officer and director of the Department of Public Health abruptly resigned. Dr. Sonia Angell was appointed in October. Newsom didn't directly address the resignation of Dr. Sonia Angell earlier this week but said he tries not to have personnel discussions in public.

CORONAVIRUS IN CALIFORNIA

This week, Newsom also addressed the reduced $400 unemployment benefits a week. The $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits expired on July 31, and President Trump’s weekend order will extend the payments but at a reduced rate of $400 a week.

"If we picked up 25 percent of the cost associated with an increase of $400 we had a $600 very successful contribution that expired on July 25," Newsom said earlier this week adding the state has been waiting from Congress and the president. "That program no longer exists and there has been no bridge."

He said the existing CARES Act funding is already allocated for pandemic response.  In a slide show, he showed that the state cannot shoulder this burden without cutting important services or further burdening businesses and individuals.

"The rest of the money does not exist. The state does not have an identified resource of $700 million a week that we haven't already obliged," Newsom said. "We are looking at all additional support we can find but we are going to need the federal government to supply the support for that 25 percent or we will be at peril at making false promises to millions of Californians."

Previously, Newsom has ordered the closure of fitness centers, houses of worship, hair salons and barbershops indoors, nail salons in those counties on the state monitoring list, which includes LA County, and other counties across the state. Newsom has also reminded what's closed statewide - indoor operations at dine-in restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, bars including outdoors - and what was closed in certain counties on the state monitoring list like gyms, shopping malls and places of worship. 

Meanwhile, LA County, Orange County and Riverside counties decided to close their bars in early July and late June.

The city of LA also ordered the closures of their gyms, nail salons, hair salons and barbershops indoors, and houses of worship.