California public schools could tap into $6.6 billion from the state if they return to in-person instruction by April 1, according to a new agreement announced between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state's legislative leaders.
- At this point, it's unclear if $6.6 billion in financial incentives is enough to get school districts like San Francisco and Oakland Unified to open by April 1st. They're both still bargaining with the teachers unions.
CLIFFORD YEE: Once an agreement is made between the union and the District, it still takes five weeks for students to-- to see the inside of the classroom.
- Clifford Yee is an SFD parent and parent-teacher organizer. Schools that reopen after April 1st will lose money each day they remain closed until May 15th.
CLIFFORD YEE: I want to remain hopeful. I know bargaining has-- has been going on for months.
- In Oakland, Amy Burns is a special education teacher at Skyline High School.
AMY BURNS: The union is out. It will be protecting and defending our safety.
- While she's had one of two vaccine shots, she won't feel ready to return to school until safety measures are secured.
AMY BURNS: Proper distancing, PPE with masks, making sure that there's testing, there's screening. Sad to say in Oakland a lot of classrooms don't have windows. So, a real big point of concern would be about ventilation.
- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond addressed reopening on ABC 7 News at 4. He suggested it could have happened sooner.
TONY THURMOND: Unfortunately, a number of districts, for whatever reason, have never pursued the waivers that would have allowed some schools to be open, even in the small cohorts in purple tier.
MARY JANE BURKE: By mid-March, I'm anticipating that 100% of the public, private, independent, and parochial schools in Marin will be open for at least some in-person instruction.
- Marin County Superintendent of Schools, Mary Jane Burke expects Marin to receive $35 million because of the bill. She started opening schools in the fall.
MARY JANE BURKE: At this point, we have over a million two in-person days with just 11 cases of school transmission. So we have the data to show that we're able to operate school safely.