SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed Wednesday that schools in California will not reopen by the end of the academic year.

The announcement comes a day after the state’s superintendent sent a letter to school districts on Tuesday saying due to coronavirus safety concerns, it is likely students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.

Tony Thurmond wrote “this in no way suggests school is over for the year, but rather it will continue education through distance learning.”

Gov. Newsom echoed the state’s emphasis on distance learning.

It’s a type of learning most schools have already adapted to – online communicating with teachers and online classes.

“School is not out for the year, in fact, we’re asking everyone to accelerate everyone gets a great education,” Tony Thurmond said.

Thurman also said he knows this will be hard for students, teachers and families, but there will be assistance for districts – the state will provide resources, webinars, training, anything needed.

The state believes these steps are necessary as we continue to fight to stop the coronavirus.

Newsom also announced the state has partnered up with Google.

The company is working to provide thousands of points of access to improve wifi/internet and Chromebooks for three months free to help with distance learning for kids across the state.

California education officials say Google’s help on internet and Chromebooks will help about half of the students who don’t have digital access.

California has more than 6 million students across 10,000 schools and state officials say about 20% of kids don’t have access to the internet or devices to get online.

They say Google’s effort will help take care of more than half that number.

“I’m hopeful by the time we return we will have closed that digital gap and have taught teachers and parents how to engage in learning,” Dr. Linda Darling Hammond said.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as California health officials say they anticipate a surge of COVID-19 patients in mid-May.

“While we can’t provide a graduation ceremony then, we can make sure they graduate and move forward in their education opportunities,” Thurmond said.

Education officials say they are considering rescheduling graduation ceremonies to the fall.

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