California Schools Chief Sends Guidance For Distance Learning

NBCUniversal, Inc.

In the wake of the governor's warning that schools could remain closed until the fall, the state superintendent is asking districts to come up with plans for distance learning or independent study.

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond talked with 5,000 educators via a webinar Wednesday morning after putting out guidance for districts regarding setting up distance learning for millions of public school students.

In the guidance Thurmond pushed out, he pointed to some districts that plan to: load Zoom and Webex onto mobile devices; use Google Classroom to put teachers in front of their students; consider preloading USB drives with content.

Thurmond is encouraging partnering with local WiFi providers like NBC Bay Area parent company Comcast, which already offered unlimited data and an open WiFi network to help low-income families stay connected.

Partnering with local PBS stations to put out content was another option Thurmond suggested.

Los Angeles Unified already set up the PBS programming, and the Bay Area will see a similar setup on KQED. It will be standards-based content with lesson plans and do-at-home assignments.

The PBS program will be particularly helpful for districts that don’t have enough mobile devices to send home.

But parents still are wondering what all this will mean for the entire family.

"There are people not as lucky that have to depend on child care, and they have to take off work," said Ashley Gomez. "It’s going to affect them financially."

The state superintendent said they are also working to address child care needs in some situations.

What we know for sure is that employees will still keep getting a paycheck and school districts will continue to provide meals for students who depend on them.

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