Gov. Newsom signs executive order to fund schools during coronavirus closures

Gov. Newsom declares a state of emergency after the 1st coronavirus death in California.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed an executive order to ensure California's public schools retain state funding in the event of closures as the government looks to provide flexibility as it deals with the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) health emergency. 

The order mandates distance learning, school meals as well as arrangements for supervision of students during school hours as the virus has spread, causing panic and a pandemic. 

Department of Education and California Health and Human Services Agency are now required to develop strategies that address what the governor's office calls equity challenges surrounding internet connectivity. The order also includes provisions for students with disabilities and ensures their special education needs. 

School employees will continue to receive pay in the event of a temporary COVID-19-related closure. 

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Bay Area school closures related to COVID-19/coronavirus

“Closing schools has a massive, cascading effect for our kids and their families – especially those least equipped financially to deal with them. The needs of California kids must be met regardless of whether their school is open or closed. School districts that choose to close must use state educational dollars to quickly meet the needs of children and families. The State of California is working around the clock to help those districts and provide best practices to ensure no kid is left behind,” said Governor Newsom. 

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond applauded Newsom on his executive order and said it will help keep students safe. "This allows schools to put safety first without jeopardizing the financial resources needed to meet the needs of our students," he said. 

A wave of public schools are beginning to close for extended amounts of time in order to slow the spread of the disease. On Friday, Oakland and San Jose Public Schools joined a chorus of districts in weeks-long, in-person class cancellations.