SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday his children have begun resuming in-person classes after months of distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom, whose four children attend private school, said he believes children learn best in the classroom and his administration will support districts with personal protective gear and testing resources so they can safely reopen.
“They’re phasing back into school, and we are phasing out of our very challenging distance learning that we’ve been doing, so many parents are doing up and down the state,” Newsom said.
“It is absolutely incumbent to do everything in our power to provide support to our districts so they can safely reopen – emphasis on safely reopen.”
California health officials have approved more than 1,200 requests for waivers to allow for in-person education for elementary school students in counties where coronavirus cases are still widespread.
Schools in counties where cases have declined below state-mandated thresholds can broadly reopen. Los Angeles County, which is home to a quarter of the state’s 40 million people, isn’t among them because there are still too many virus cases for the county to be eligible to do so.
Newsom said virus cases remain lower in California than many other states but have inched up recently.
The governor on Friday also announced the opening of a new state-funded coronavirus testing lab. Newsom said the lab will double the state’s testing capacity, ensure quicker test results and lower the costs of tests from $150 to $30.
Today, California opened a NEW state funded #COVID19 testing lab.
Tried it out myself.
– DOUBLE CA’s testing capacity
– Guarantee 24-48 hour turnaround for results
– Cut the cost of a test from $150 to $30.
We’re not waiting around for the federal government to act. pic.twitter.com/OKII180d7J
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 30, 2020
State health officials are concerned about an increase in infections with upcoming holiday celebrations and as indoor activities increase, coupled with the start of the flu season.