Most California schools will start year online, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

Almost all of California’s 6.2 million students will be starting school online this fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

But since only about 70% of school districts have the technology needed for virtual learning, the state is investing in laptops and tablets, and asking that school officials aim for a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 megabits per second, download speed.

“We are preparing a large strategy, recognizing there are a lot of gaps and inequities that need to be addressed,” Newsom said.

So far, state officials have sent 73,000 laptops and tablets to school districts, and established 100,000 WiFi hotspots. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has provided an additional 87,000 hotspots.

Newsom also said teachers must step up their game.

‘We don’t want people [to just] take their lectures and videotape them and provide them online,” Newsom said. “This has to be a much more interactive process where we want to bring our students into the screen so they’re truly engaged. We want a more dynamic engagement to the extent possible. We want more specialized learning, especially for those with special needs. We want challenging assignments. We don’t just want people to dial it in.”

State officials have provided more than 18 million masks and face shields to schools as well as 58,000 no-touch thermometers and 1.5 million gallons of hand sanitizer.

Newsom’s remarks came as California notched a grim new record. The state now has more COVID-19 cases than most countries across the world.

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