School Re-Opening

School Re-opening

Dear neighbor,

Today, I voted in support of a $6.6 billion budget package to reopen our schools safely, protect our educators and get kids back into classrooms.

The budget package includes:

  • $2 billion to fund safety measures to support in-person instruction, such as personal protective equipment, ventilation upgrades and COVID-19 testing.
  • $4.6 billion to fund expanded learning opportunities, such as summer school, tutoring and mental health services.

What else does the budget package include? The package will include multiple successful state programs to support safe school reopenings:

  • Vaccine Prioritization for K-12 School Staff. The package dedicates 10 percent of vaccine doses for education workers. This commitment ensures that the state prioritization of school staff, in place since January, is made real in all 58 counties.
  • Data Reporting. The package adds data reporting requirements, including requirements for schools to report reopening status and COVID-19 safety measures. These requirements will help build on efforts to increase transparency, including interactive geospatial maps displayed on the Safe Schools Hub.
  • State Safe Schools Team. The package also allocates $25 million to the State Safe Schools Team, which serves to provide technical assistance, oversight and accountability to the over 10,000 public schools in the state. The capacity will enhance the Team’s reach, and the Team will conduct a safety review of any school with two or more COVID-19 outbreaks.

How will the school re-opening plan work? To receive full funding, on or before April 1, schools MUST:

  • Offer in-person instruction to kindergarten through second grade and high-needs students.
  • Offer in-person instruction to all students in all elementary grades and at least one middle or high school grade, if they are schools in counties that have moved out of the purple tier into the state’s Red Tier or better.

Can students continue distance learning?

  • Schools and districts must offer in-person learning to be eligible for the new funding, but they are also authorized to offer distance learning.

Are teachers required to be vaccinated?

  • Teachers are not required to be vaccinated in order for schools to be able to re-open. However, California began to set aside 10% of all vaccine first doses for teachers and childcare workers starting March 1 in order to help accelerate vaccinations for this group and to help meet the goal of getting elementary school and special needs students back into classrooms by mid-April.

This legislation is a great step forward in making sure our schools receive the critical funding they need to reopen safely. I look forward to working with community and state leadership on further supports needed as we progress with school reopening plans in the state and in Senate District 33.

I hope this information provides more clarity to you, your family and community. If you have any questions regarding school re-openings, please contact my office. You can reach us at (562) 256-7921 or send us a message here.

In service,

Lena Gonzalez
33rd State Senate District