California students likely won't return to class this school year

California students will likely not return to campuses this school year because of safety concerns and the need for social distancing prompted by the coronavirus outbreak, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond wrote county superintendents on Tuesday.

"We are urging a safety first approach out of an abundance of caution," Thurmond wrote. "As such, we urge that all school districts in California move towards and/or continue to strengthen their distance learning programs and opportunities for students."

"We believe this sustains the safety of our students and families, provides consistency across schools in the state and provides our districts and educators with clarity and the ability to plan for delivering education for the rest of this school year through a distance learning model."

The California Department of Education will provide webinars and other training to assist educators with remote instruction, Thurmond wrote.

The department is "forging public-private partnerships with leaders in technology and the philanthropic sector to help expand home devices and internet access where possible and where available resources and donations allow," Thurmond wrote.