Gov. Newsom visits East Bay elementary school, touting California's reopening efforts

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks about returning to class at Ruby Bridges Elementary School in Alameda, Calif. March 16, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Ruby Bridges Elementary School in Alameda on Tuesday to highlight the facts that 9,000 of California’s 11,000 schools are open now or plan to reopen in the next few weeks. 

It wasn't surprising to hear from the students and see them light up returning to campus, Newsom said, especially when they talked about getting to see their teachers again. 

Newsom said that the state has worked hard to "accelerate safe school reopenings," which has included a $6.6 billion package to fund safety measures for in-person instruction, priority vaccinations for K-12 school staff, three months of PPE and safety supplies to all schools at no cost. He said that as of Tuesday, more than 400,000 educators have been vaccinated. 

Plus, he said that California has secured federal approval to use Medicaid funding for COVID-19 testing in schools and provided support for COVID-19 testing and technical assistance to school districts. 

This week, elementary school students returned for hybrid instruction in the Alameda Unified School District, where a mixture of in-person instruction with online instruction and independent work.

Berkeley Unified elementary school students will soon be returning to campus five days a week, though the plan doesn't include older students. 

Similar deals for elementary school students, although with less on-campus time, have been reached between districts and teachers' unions in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. 

In a more unusual move, the Pleasanton Unified School District is welcoming back all students – including middle and high schoolers – back to campus.