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East Bay teachers express concerns after Gov. Newsom says school can start in July

California

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Getting an early start to the new school year. It is an idea proposed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to offset any learning loss due to COVID-19.

Teachers and administrators in an East Bay School district explained some of the problems they have with the idea.

“Considering the prospect of an earlier school year… as early as late July, early August,” Newsom said.

“We don’t have the resources to start school early,” Demetrio Gonzales, United Teachers of Richmond said.

“If we moved the start of school up there would be even more work to do in even less time,” Marcus Walton, Contra Costa Unified School District said.

This gives you an idea of what the conversation is like regarding the possibility of getting an early start to the next school year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Newsom started the discussion in an attempt to prevent a loss in education continuity.

“The concern around learning loss, I think we might want to consider getting that school year moved up a little bit,” the governor said.

However the idea presents several challenges for administrators and educators in cash strapped school districts like West Contra Costa who say they need more resources.

“Number one definitely more resources, reduction in class sizes, support materials for teachers,” Gonzales said. “That includes masks and resources to keep teachers and students safe, which we don’t have right now.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of guidelines for the planning of opening schools include increasing the space between desks at least 6-feet.

“In California, where our class sizes are higher than the national average,” Walton said. “There is not a lot of room to spread out desks.”

School administrators and the teachers union both say employee contracts would also present another obstacle to any adjustments to moving the school’s start date. The governor maintains he is just getting the conversation started.

“We’re beginning to socialize that,” Newsom said. “We have made no decisions definitively in that space.”

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