FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) — In an effort to reopen schools, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration says it will start setting aside vaccines for teachers and support staff, but debate on how and when to reopen public schools in ongoing.
“We are literally in the final stages of our negotiation, I hope it’s the final stages of our negotiation,” Newsom said Friday.
Details on a deal to reopen public schools could be coming as soon as Monday.
While the governor and lawmakers have been at odds over how and when to reopen, they do agree to spend $6.6 billion in state funds to help schools reopen safely with testing, personal protective equipment and other safety measures, along with money to help make up for a lack of learning inside the classroom.
“With all of that I would hope and expect that we will reopen for in person instruction TK-2 and 3-6 as a top priority. With respect, our kids can’t wait,” Newsom said.
But some say kids can wait as the state works to distribute vaccines and teachers demand access to them. Starting Monday, the state says it will set aside about 75,000 doses for teachers and staff per week.
Some pandemic experts say vaccines aren’t the only solution. As most of the state will sits in the most statistically widespread COVID-19 tier, Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam says California needs to consider getting the rate of transmission way down before reopening classrooms.
“And not opening up early because we would like to open. It’s the opposite,” Bar-Yam says. “If we take all the precautions, really seriously we could get the cases dramatically down and then in a few weeks if we do it right, then we can open up, not just schools but everything else that we would like to do.”