SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an Executive Order to suspend standardized testing for students due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has caused schools across the state to temporarily shut down.

Newsom’s order (.pdf) waives this year’s statewide testing for California’s more than 6 million K-12 students.

“This time is stressful enough for students, families and educators without the additional burden of annual testing,” Newsom said in a statement.

“This is an unprecedented time, and our main focus is on supporting the mental and socioemotional health of students, while continuing to provide educational opportunities such as distance learning,” he said.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said, “Our districts need some relief and this decision is in the best interest of our students and our state.”

“As schools are struggling to maintain instruction, feed students, and provide child care, they need to focus first and foremost on these pressing responsibilities,” State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond said. “The safety and well-being of children and staff has to be our No. 1 concern. We do not want concerns about testing to distract them from their critical work at this time of national emergency.”

Newsom’s executive order follows a press conference on Tuesday where he raised the possibility that school for most California students may not resume until fall.

“Don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week,” the governor said at Tuesday’s briefing at the state’s emergency headquarters. “It’s unlikely that many of these schools — few if any — will open before the summer break.”

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