Governor Gavin Newsom has made changes to his plan to reopen schools, including a small decrease in the case rate that would allow elementary students to campus for in-person classes.
Under the new guidance, K-6 schools in counties with a seven-day average of 25 or fewer cases per 100,000 residents would be eligible to begin reopening, down from the 28 cases per 100,000 that the governor had announced in December.
But even that reduced number is significantly lower than the current rates in many California counties, offering diminished hope that schools — particularly in Southern California — can reopen soon. In L.A. County, for example, the adjusted COVID-19 case rate is 77 per 100,000 residents; Orange County, 79; Riverside County, 107; San Bernardino County 103 and San Diego County, 70.
In December, Newsom announced a $2-billion package of incentives to encourage a return to in-person classes. It prioritized returning students in kindergarten through second grade as well as those with special needs starting in mid-February, with the remainder of elementary school students returning early as mid- March. It is unclear when older students would return to campuses.
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