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'Learning Loss': New Calif. School Year Could Start As Early As July, Newsom Says

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday announced that the next school year could start as early as July in order to make up for the lost classroom time caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The playground sits empty at Kent Middle School on April 01, 2020 in Kentfield, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year due to shelter-in-place orders necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In his daily coronavirus briefing, Newsom said that officials are looking at pushing forward the fall term to late July or early August over concerns that students have had significant "learning loss."

"We are considering the prospect of an even earlier school year into the fall, as early as late July, early August," Newsom said. "We have made no decisions definitely in that space. But I just want folks to know the concern around learning loss."

Schools statewide have been operating remotely since March, with students using programs such as Zoom and Google Classroom to connect with their teachers and complete their course work.

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced earlier this month that it will complete both the remainder of this current school year, as well as the summer term, remotely.

"We have to address learning gaps which have occurred as a result of this," California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angall said Tuesday. "We've been protecting all of us by limiting the amount of excess in this environment, but we have to make up for those gaps which have occurred in this time."

If the fall term does indeed start in July, it's still unclear if students would be working remotely.

"We'll be focused importantly on making sure that the environment is safe for kids, but also safe for teachers, safe for others who are in the school," Angall said.

The state is using six indicators to determine when and how to start lifting the orders. The fifth indicator is specifically concerned with how businesses and schools can maintain physical distancing when they open. Newsom Tuesday said he is optimistic the state is just weeks away from potentially beginning to see progress with the fifth indicator.

"We believe we are weeks, not months away, from making meaningful modifications to that indicator and in this space," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 578,000 people have been tested for coronavirus statewide, with California having the capability now to test 20,000 people a day.


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