Written by Julianne Foster
The new budget for schools signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom clearly expresses the state’s expectations for most schools to have in-person instruction to the best of their ability. Schools are being pressured to make changes for in-person learning while also providing quality and access to distance learning.
For most schools, this fall will likely have a form of hybrid learning. The $6.5 million budget is meant to help schools reopen in line with safety guidelines and to equip students with technology and broadband access to online learning opportunities.
Since students were moved to online learning in the spring, educational leaders and a group of pediatricians have recognized the widespread learning loss that students experience during online learning. Poorer families have been heavily impacted by the closure of schools and restricted job opportunities. Those who have a source of income are struggling to hold steady work hours to provide for their families while also taking care of their kids with the removal of daycares.
With the losses of online learning, parents are needed to step up as much as they can to help their kids not fall behind. Lack of funding restricts families from the technology and proper internet connections needed for their kids to attend every virtual lesson in full. The new budget could help families with this if used correctly, but taxpayers, businesses, and government revenues are already stretched thin from the finances needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the state and education officials are encouraging the return of in-person classes, parents and staff who are at high risk are not so keen. California’s state of reopening and re-enforced closures has made plans for the upcoming school year unstable. Despite the many challenges, students, families, schools, and government officials are working hard to try and provide the best and safest learning environment to their students.