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SACRAMENTO April 1, 2020 – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a major agreement between teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to work together to provide distance learning to California’s students as a result of school closures due to mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 outbreak. The agreement means more kids will be able to get school resources, such as quality distance instruction, and empowers teachers to create lessons within clear parameters.
“While schools might be physically closed, class is still in session,” said Governor Newsom. “This agreement is good news for students and parents, and the announcement means that more California kids will have tools to learn at home during this crisis.”
“The labor and management groups understand the importance of all of us working together during this unprecedented time. The framework for this collaboration created jointly, models how we can all come together to better serve our students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.
The agreement includes a collaboration framework for school employers and employees to work together on matters of labor and management to minimize any impact to students—including direction on implementation and delivery of distance learning, special education, and meals through the end of the school year. Endorsing organizations include the following: California Department of Education, Association of California School Administrators, California Teachers Association, California School Boards Association, California Federation of Teachers, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California School Employees Association, California Association of School Business Officials, Service Employees International Union, Small School Districts’ Association, AFSCME California, and the California Labor Federation.
The Governor also announced a partnership with Google to provide mobile hotspots and Chromebooks to students in rural areas to facilitate distance learning. Specifically, Google will be donating Chromebooks and will fund the use of 100,000 donated mobile hotspots to provide free and unlimited high-speed Internet connectivity for the remainder of the school year. The California Department of Education will be distributing these resources, prioritizing rural communities.
“I am so proud of every sector of our state—private, public, labor—coming together to meet this moment, and I am calling on other companies to match Google’s investment today to ensure our students and teachers have the resources they need to continue their education during this time,” said Governor Newsom.
“We at California State PTA stand behind the Governor in his efforts to keep children, families, and school staff safe during this crisis. We concur with the Governor that quality distance learning, meals for students, and the care and supervision of children are top priorities in the coming months. Efforts to provide internet access are particularly important for our underserved communities. Parents and caregivers throughout California are performing multiple roles during this crisis, and the Governor’s expression of appreciation for their extraordinary efforts is very well received by PTA,” said Celia Jaffe, President of the California State PTA.
The framework for student instruction can be found here.