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Sacramento, CA — CFT President Jeff Freitas released the following statement in response to 94% of California’s population being moved into the most restrictive purple tier:

“Governor Newsom’s announcement on Monday that 94% of California’s population is now in the most restrictive tier is a wake up call for California’s schools. The more restrictive designation is a recognition of surging cases throughout the state, and will ultimately save countless lives. 

“In light of surging cases, and widespread transmission affecting the vast majority of Californians, we call on school districts throughout the state to immediately halt all plans for physically reopening schools before the end of the calendar year. For schools that are currently open, school districts should immediately plan to transition to distance learning. 

“Our focus has been and will remain on ensuring that all students, school employees, and community members are safe. And with cases on a dramatic rise, taking decisive action now, rather than waiting for the last moment, is the right move. It prioritizes the safety of our students, and will lead to a smoother and more successful transition to distance learning. 

“As California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in Governor Newsom’s press announcement yesterday: ‘We are in the midst of a surge, and time is of the essence. Every day matters and every decision matters.’

“The best way to ensure our students are safe, to slow transmission rates, and to speed the ultimate reopening of schools, is for our communities to heed public health directives: wear masks, wash your hands, keep physically distant, and avoid all unnecessary social gatherings.”

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The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.