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Governor Newsom wants students back in the classroom by the end of March

“So many of our kids and caregivers are celebrating this day because we all are united around coming back safely into the schools and helping with the social and emotional supports that our kids so desperately need," Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday morning.

Newsom announced Monday a new deal with a hefty $6.6 billion incentive if schools reopen classrooms by March 31.

For us, in Riverside County, which is still in the most restrictive purple tier, schools would need to reopen at least through second grade in order for them to receive that money.

Of the $6.6 billion, $2 billion of it will go towards grants to help provide schools with necessities like PPE and $4.6 billion will go towards reimagining the school year like perhaps expanding the school day or year.

This new deal doesn’t require students or staff to be vaccinated, however, all counties will have to set aside a minimum of 10 percent of vaccines for school employees who want them.

“On Thursday and Friday, we’ll actually be utilizing the two large FEMA sites in southern and northern California as educator days exclusively to provide even additional vaccinations," Newsom said.

If the district is in the purple tier, coronavirus testing is required.

All schools must offer in-person learning to students with disabilities, foster and homeless children, English learners, students without access to technology and students who are at risk of abuse.

We reached out to all three school districts and teacher's unions; no one was available for interviews.

Desert Sands Unified School District gave us this statement:

“The agreement appears to align well with the Desert Sands plan for a return to in-person learning. Additional funding to help support that transition is welcome.”

DSUSD has plans already approved by the county to bring students back into the classroom by March 15.

PSUSD still has their targeted date of April 12 for T-K through 2nd grade and April 19 for 3rd through 5th grades.

CVUSD still has no date set.

“I look forward after that vote on Thursday to quickly signing this and moving forward to celebrating the reopening for in-person instruction of schools all up and down the state of California,” Newsom said.

Newsom also said Tuesday the state will be announcing seven more counties to advance from their current tiers. If that’s us, schools would need to return to in-person instruction for all elementary school grades plus at least one grade in middle and high school in order to receive the funds.

Stay with us on News Channel 3 as we learn more tomorrow.

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Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.

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