Watch: Gov. Gavin Newsom announces school reopening plan in Elk Grove

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Hannah Wiley, Sophia Bollag
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Gov. Gavin Newsom and top legislative Democrats are expected to formally announce a school reopening deal during a Monday press conference.

Watch a recording of the announcement here.

Monday’s announcement follows tense discussions over how best to reopen schools that have consumed much of the legislative agenda over the last several weeks.

Teachers unions have fought for reopening standards that include low transmission rates and vaccine priority for educators. Parent groups and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have instead demanded a more aggressive reopening plan that would quickly get students back into the classroom.

Legislation that will put the plan into effect would set aside $2 billion in grant funding for schools that reopen kindergarten through second grade classrooms by the end of March, regardless of COVID-19 transmission in their county. The bill also prioritizes high-needs students of all ages.

Lawmakers and Newsom are betting the billions will be incentive enough for districts, even though there’s no requirement to reopen their schools. Teachers aren’t guaranteed vaccines by the time they return to the classrooms, but Newsom’s administration recently announced a plan to set aside doses for educators.