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Think Tank: 47 of 58 California Counties Have Met Gov. Newsom’s Benchmark to Reopen K-6 Schools

By Bethany Blankley

(The Center Square) – Roughly 83% of California’s population has met Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening benchmark, the California Policy Center (CPC) says in a new analysis of the state’s counties.

Its report examines new data released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)’s Blueprint Data Chart.

CPC concludes that 47 out of California’s 58 counties have reached Gov. Newsom’s “Safe Schools for All” reopening threshold, which are comprised of 83% of California’s population, including nine of the 10 largest counties in the state.

“Though most counties have met the governor’s threshold, they’re unlikely to reopen anytime soon due to teachers’ unions’ unworkable demands, including requiring the vaccination of all teachers as a precondition of reopening,” CPC policy analyst Brandon Ristoff says in the report. “Meeting the reopening benchmarks, however, should make it even more clear to ordinary Californians that selfish teachers unions and the lack of leadership from Newsom and the California Legislature are the reasons why classrooms remain closed.”

The number of counties passing the benchmark increased significantly from last week, according to CPC’s previous analysis. Last week, only 36 counties passed Newsom’s benchmark, making up 29% of the California population.

Ristoff notes that these numbers indicate that the vast majority of California counties can begin reopening schools to in-person learning.

Gov. Newsom, who is facing a likely recall election, proposed a plan last December to reopen, which was rebuffed by the state’s largest teachers unions.

“If we wait for the perfect, we might as well just pack it up and just be honest with folks that we’re not going to open for in-person instruction this school year,” Newsome has said, according to Politico.

San Francisco’s recent union deal allows schools to reopen if they are in the red tier and school staff members can receive the vaccine. The district’s schools can also reopen if they are in orange tier and the vaccine is not available for school staff.

But if that standard was applied statewide, Ristoff notes, “it may be weeks or months before most of California’s counties get out of the purple tier and reopen schools.”

Only six counties have reached the red tier or lower, and only three counties remain in the orange tier, according to CDPH.

 

Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.

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