Gov. Newsom Announces Physical School Closures Through End of Academic Year; Education Leaders Provide Framework

Educators saddened, yet ready to provide distance learning opportunities to all their students

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of physical school closures ends some uncertainty about the 2019-20 academic school year as labor partners and administrators work to provide local districts and unions with a framework for their work on an equitable approach to meeting local students’ needs and establish distance learning plans. More information is available in the Governor’s Executive Order on the closures and the California Department of Education’s guidance.

“The governor’s announcement is not unexpected, and I know educators across the state are stepping up to ensure students continue to get the learning opportunities they need. This is a tough situation for all of us – students, educators and families. Many schools closed so quickly that teachers didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to their students and really help them prepare for this new reality. I have heard from so many educators who have talked about how their students cried on their first distance learning calls, simply because they were happy to see each other,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “CTA members are working their magic to meet their students where they are. In fact, we’ve even seen caravans of teachers driving through neighborhoods to reach out and see their students.”

Teachers are offering distance learning from their homes, working with their districts to set up distance learning labs, creating and sharing lesson plans, and providing professional development support to each other. CTA is providing teacher-led online-learning webinars to help educators prepare. Educators are also continuing to support students and families by providing pick-up meals at school sites and working with school districts to provide laptops, tablets and other electronic devices to students who need them.

CTA was happy to work with Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tony Thurmond, Gov. Newsom, and our labor and management partners on the jointly-issued framework to provide additional direction to address the unprecedented and myriad challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has generated for school communities across California.

“The last two weeks have been challenging for all of us as educators, our students, their families, administrators and our communities as a whole. As we grapple with this new normal, we must work together with respect and compassion,” said Boyd. “The districts and schools that are working most effectively are those in which teachers were part of the discussions and involved in the distance learning planning every step of the way.”

CTA will continue to provide guidance to its local affiliates while working closely with the governor and SPI.

“We know there are still many unanswered questions for students, parents and educators. We will continue to work with Governor Newsom, Superintendent Thurmond and our education and labor partners as we now move forward with this new temporary normal,” said Boyd.

CTA guidance and resources for educators and parents are available at

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