SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Students will likely not be able to return to school for the rest of the academic year and schools should focus on distance learning models, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said Tuesday.

“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. In order to allow schools to plan accordingly, and to ensure that learning still occurs until the end of the school year, we are suggesting that schools plan and prepare to have their curriculum carried out through a distance learning model,” Thurmond said.

He noted in the statement that he wasn’t suggesting school is indeed over for the year, but that “all efforts” of California schools should be put into strengthening the distance learning delivery model.

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Thurmond said the California Dept. of Education is supporting schools in this endeavor by providing webinars, such as an upcoming one focused on serving serving disabled students remotely. School officials will also give guidance this week to address grading and graduation concerns from high school seniors and juniors.

The department also put out a survey to each school district in the state to determine the status of their technological gap, to ensure that all students have access to devices and internet so distance learning can be successful.

“We are in unprecedented times, and it’s hard to tell what the future holds as we are all doing our best to flatten the curve. From what we know right now, our schools will be closed longer than we originally thought, and it will be best if our schools are prepared for that extension, by having their distance learning models prepared to go until the end of the school year,” Thurmond said.

 

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