Fall Classes Will Start Online For Most CA Schools

On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced guidelines for safe reopening of schools but said that schools would require full distance learning in counties on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list.

There are 32 counties, of the state's 58, currently on that list, representing roughly 80 percent of the state's population.

Newsom's guidelines including mask requirements, physical distancing, regular testing and rigorous distance learning comes three days before the State CIF is expected to announce an adjusted 2020-21 athletic calendar that is expected to schedule all sports into condensed seasons not to begin before January 2021.

"Using health data, schools can physically open when its county has been off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days," read a slide during Newsom's conference. "Schools that don't meet this requirement must begin the year distance learning."

Newsom said the guidelines apply to both public and private schools.

"Schools must provide meaningful instruction during this pandemic whether they're physically open or not," Newsom said. "We all prefer in-classroom instruction for all the obvious reasons, but only if it can be done safely."

Schools that are safe and able to hold in-person classes, will require masks for grades 3-12.

Getting a head start, the two largest school districts in the state, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, jointly announced on Monday that fall classes would begin with distance learning. Many of the 25 largest districts in California have followed suit, with some offering on-campus, hybrid and distance learning options. 

The following chart breaks down reopening plans for each of those top 25 school districts based on information posted to each USD website as of Friday at 11 a.m. 

School districts are ranked based on 2019-20 enrollment figures as reported on the California Department of Education website. Scheduled fall semester opening dates are noted. Status of each district opening as reported on the website linked under school district name by Distance (learning), Hybrid (distance/in-class model), On Campus or TBD (to be determined). All status is considered tentative based on the current health situation in each district and subject to change. All information is based on school district website reports as of July 17, 2020. 

School DistrictsEnrollmentStart DateStatusComment

1. Los Angeles (LA)

569,937Aug. 18Distance

2. San Diego (SD)

122,916Aug. 31Distance

3. Fresno (CS)

73,381Aug. 17OptionDistance or on-campus options

4. Long Beach (SS)

72,002Sept. 1DistanceEntirely online at least through Oct. 5.

5. Elk Grove (SJ)

64,480Aug. 13Distance

6. San Francisco (SF)

61,031Aug. 17Distance

7. San Bernardino City (SS)

53,037Aug. 3TBDSan Bernardino County on the Monitoring List.

8. Capistrano (SS)

52,794Aug. 18TBDOrange County is on the Monitoring List.

9. Corona-Norco (SS)

52,557Aug. 11DistanceRiverside County on the Monitoring List

10. San Juan (SJ)

50,820Aug. 15DistanceMore information July 17

11. Santa Ana (SS)

50,124Aug. 10Distance

12. Oakland (OK)

49,588Aug. 10Distance

13. Sacramento City (SJ)

46,657Sept. 3Distance

14. Clovis (CS)

43,654Aug. 17OptionalParents offered options of on campus or distance learning.

15. Stockton (SJ)

41,679Aug. 3Distance

16. Riverside (SS)

41,617Aug. 12OptionalOffering three options with survey of parents due July 23.

17. Kern (CS)

41,423Aug. 12DistanceThrough at least Oct. 9. 

18. Garden Grove (SS)

41,423Aug. 24OptionalCurrently offering option for On Campus or Distance

19. Sweetwater (SD)

39,586Aug. 23DistanceStatus only through first four weeks of class

20. Poway (SD)

36.586Aug. 19OptionalParents survey offers on-campus and distance models

21. Irvine (SS)

36,177Aug. 20OptionalVirtual Academy, Blended and Hybrid options

22. Fontana (SS)

36,160Aug. 7OptionalFlexible Learning and Virtual Learning options.

23. Fremont (CC)

35,431Aug. 26Distance

24. Twin Rivers (SJ)

33,008Aug. 18Distance

25. Moreno Valley (SS)

32,299Aug. 12TBDRiverside County is on the Monitoring List.