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tv   ABC 7 News Coronavirus Getting Answers  ABC  July 2, 2020 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT

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hi there, i'm kristen sze. welcome to our daily program called getting answers. we get answers for you in real time. today we ask state superintendent and public education tony thurman with us. but first, we want to update you on santa clara county. because they are entering a new phase in their covid-19 response with the focus on making this really the long-term plan, pending state approval, the stay-at-home order will lift july 13th. but you are still urged to stay home as much as possible. if you cannot comply with their
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core business requirements, like capacity limits and mask requirements, then you cannot open. meaning indoor dining, for example, and swimming won't be allowed. they said for the foreseeable future. but businesses like hair and nail salons will be given guidance to reopen with masks, of course. businesses are legally required to report a positive case from an employee within four hours of finding out. the order strongly discourages gatherings but allows outdoor gatherings up to 60 people and indoor gatherings up to 20 people, but they must comply with the health officer's forthcoming mandatory directive on gatherings. so that is the latest there from santa clara county. so, with that in mind, a tightening of things, let's move now to state superintendent of education tony thurman, always good to see you. thank you for making the time for us again. tony, i want to ask you, what is
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your reaction to the covid surge in california this past month? does it affect our kids' chances for returning to their campuses this fall? >> reporter: well, first, i would just say we have to pay attention to this surge and i think it tells us we've got to stick with the plan, hand washing, wearing face coverings at all times, you know, keeping our distance from others and in the case of when schools open, maintaining physical distance. so, obviously, we have some time for schools to open, which is late august/early september. so we will check to see what the state's conditions are. we monitor them on a daily basis and talk to health experts. the signs we are seeing aren't concerning. we need to monitor that keep safety first and put an eye on this as we work towards the august/september time line. >> i'm sure you saw gavin newsom raise public awareness, mask wearing is a big component.
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are you thinking of doing something similar for schools so school kid the digest that and get acultureated with wearing masks and social distancing when they do go back? >> we know in some other states, many districts have spent time really trying to educate families on how young children can get used to wearing a mask and you know i've seen it. i'm sure you've seen it. we've all seen it. young people do get it when we explain that this is a part of our safety routine, while it's different, we do have to take the time to explain it. so we know, our child care centers, many of them stayed opened when our schools closed initially and moved into distance learning. many of our child care centers stayed openped to provide care for the children of essential workers. it is amazing that even some very young children got accustomed to wearing the mask. but the reality, sometimes they take it off. sometimes they play with it. the more we, you know, help them prepare, the better off we will
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all be in terms of our safety. >> so you will be doing that taking steps to produce materials that will help them prepare and really learn that? >> we will work with them as much as we can. we don't have the ability to do public service announce. s per se. but we certainly would like to continue to promote that as you kow, we've put in our guidance, a recommendation that every staff member and every kid should be wearing a face covering. i should say that masks are on the way to each of our 10,000 schools, many have already seen face coverings, the hand sanitizer, the thermometer, all these things are literally on their way to our 10,000 schools. >> that's great. that's much needed. i wonder, though what do you make of the american academy of pediatrics yesterday saying elementary aged school children do not need to wear masks. here in the bay area, teachers i talked to seem concerned about that especially because we know one-third of california teachers are over the age of 50. how do you make the teacher feel
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reassured that they're going to be minimizing their exposure when they do return to the classroom? >> i just want to say right at the top, i have deep respect for our pediatricians and their associations. they do incredible work around youth development, helping students deal when richness factors. to be honest with you, i'd like to meet with media triggers along with some of the other folks we work with. we work with epidemiologists and others. so i get what they're saying. pediatrician versus said some children may have health conditions that they shouldn't wear a mask. you know, we've taken the approach that all students should wear a mask until we have more information about this. and we're not warning to gamble on the safety of our young people. there isn't a whole lot of science right now, everything that we've seen from epidemiologi epidemiologists and disease and infection, doctors, all those things project that everyone wears a mask. sometimes we say it this way. if we ask young people to wear a
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mask when they go out in public, why wouldn't we ask them to wear a mask in school as well? . as i said, have respect for pediatricians that want to meet with them, an epidemiologist and others to sort this out. right now, we're sticking with our recommendation everyone, students and staff in our schools should be wearing a mask. >> tony, i will run through a whole bunch of questions, every time i mention, hey, tony thurmon is coming back on our school, i get questions so here's one from a school district official. so your plan can tains temperature chevenths what about on campus -- check, what about on campus testing for students and staff? >> well, as i mentioned before, we work closely with the california department of public health. they are trying to figure out the right guidelines for the issues around testing as it relates to schools. now, what they've done is they've moved california to a place where we have 60,000 tests a day in the community.
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i'm not sure that they've envisioned that to happen directly at schools. but they're having those conversations. so we're listening to the department of public health and ourp county health officers on the issues of testing. but the testing that's happening in our community and the contookt tracing that's happening is really helping us understand where we need to be more on safety, where we might need to scale back a little bit. so while the testing hasn't really been a factor in schools per se, contact school leaders and health officials is taking place about having robust testing to keep us all safe. >> nina, a mother on twitter asks, i am concerned regarding eating inside a classroom with no proper ventilation. how many children will be allowed to eat lunch at a time? all 135 or lunchtime stragerred? what is your recommendation? >> the great question you know when we wrote our guidance, we considered a bunch of scenarios like some schools might say listen, we will have a morning
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session, where students come and they go home at lunch with a brown bag lunch. some students come after lunch. most officials say they will work to keep class sizes small and as students each lunch at their desk. with spacing in between each desk. so mom, check with your local school district. see what they've written. by now, most of our schools have written specific guidance plans. you certainly can contact our office, if you need help getting to your school district at the california department of education. you have to do that. right now, all we're staying is 6 feet, yes, we do not envision any scenario where it's safe to have students eating in a large cafeteria. large groups in a big room spells danger. and so really what we envision, we've seen this in the child care centers that are opened, students eating at their desk with space 6 feet apart, even eating outside, you know, that
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great weather right now. that allows us to expand the foot print of our campuses, even those types of interventions are really comfortable. safety will be more to come on that subject. >> real quickly. jay on facebook wants to know, will the state department of education and legislature allow students, parents, teachers and staff to choose the mode of return? >> and so, with a thousand school districts today, each of those school districts is serving parents what their interests are. a number of parents that said that they want to have and in-person instruction option so they need it. they've got to get back to work. others have said that they prefer to have distance learning. it is the viewpoint of the california department of education that schools should accommodate as much distance learning as parents ask for. now, the legislature has taken this issue up. it's fine tuning some guidelines on how that will work. again, the recommendation that we'll be making at the
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department of ed ka situation to honor the amount of distance learning that it can based on whatparents ask for. we do know there are going to need to be some balance of distance learning and some in-class instruction. and that's a decision made by each of our school districts with support and guidance from the state. >> all right. time, we will take a short break
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. and we are back with state superintendent public education tony thurmon, great to have him again. tony, we talked about this before. just to remind our viewers, do you set policy or have the power to tell the state's 1,000 school districts exactly what to do? >> you know, the the way
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california department of education works and my job as superintendent is to give guidance. really, we've created a how do guide on how to reopen schools. but state law says that each of our 1,000 school districts makes their own decision about hoy and when to open. so i started to do my job and use my position to advocate the legislature with the funding that our schools need to reopen and the personal protective equipment and for guidelines that will give school districts the flexibility to offer the right types of programs that will keep our students and their educators safe. >> okay. hey, so let's talk about the local level. so marin county has passed a reopening plan that calls for in-person instruction five days a week. san mateo high school district, though, is actually started with 100% distance learning. in every district, there seems to be heated battles. what do you think is the ideal instruction structure to start the school year when you balance the safety, mental health.
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is it all distance learning? all in person, a hybrid? what do you think? >> i think it tend to be more of a hybrid. i don't think there is a one size that fits all. there is stiff needs in every community n. some community, we've seen families asking for 100%. in others it's 60 or 70% say i need in-class instruction. i need to get back to work. they recognize students need peer-to-peer contact. that's what we agree with, but it must be done safely. >> their are the keys, first and foremost safety. don't open schools unless it's safe to do. follow the science about what we know, how to keep students and staff safe. second, you must address the social and emotional need of our students, during distance learning, i created a counseling coalition to help find students who either didn't check in at school and need additional support so we have a place to support them. finally, if we have distance
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learning, you have to make sure there is live instruction. students miss that contact time. they learn more within they have live instruction, even through distance learning. so we work the legislature and others to create benchmarks for how business learning needs to go. ultimately, it's up to what the local community needs. we try to ensure it's broad and meets the needs of earn involved. >> all right. tony, since you brought up lessons learned from this past spring, i'm almost a little afraid to ask. but i want to know if you have any data yet to indicate to you just how much learning happened over the spring semester? >> you know, there are different reports. first of all, i'm grateful our students and educators and parents can use distance learning overnight. everywhere in this country and certainly here in california. with no blue print on how to do that. with one key thing in mind, keeping students safe and helping to flatten the curve.
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it really did. we know there were some people who study, you know, experience and they have found many have said that there are these learning gaps that have been exacerbated for in of our students. here's what we know for sure. when school start, whatever format it opens in teachers will do what they've always done. they'll assess where a student enters and do they enter on grade level? if they're not entered on grade level, teachers will make interventions. that will mean some students will need to double down, if it's a dual language emerging class, students may need to have a double sort of session of language emerging. we know that there will be things that we'll have to address. there might be more enrichment programs after 62. great teachers are doing great things with our students. so while we know that loss is an issue, we have to make sure it's safe for them to get back. we address their social emotional needs, we are providing a distance learning and going forward is based on
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standards that promote quality of learning. >> i want to ask you, given the way the school year will start and given the uncertainty of how it will end, is there any talk of getting rid of standardized tests and also maybe changing graduation requirements? that type of thing? >> you know, some of that's happened already. this year early on when we moved into distance learning, myself, the governor, the state board of education, we've basically lobbied the federal government to use state testing for the year. we didn't think that it would be safe to come back to school to take these tests. we didn't think these conditions would support our students being successful on these tests so we moved away from that. the other thing is we worked with higher ed in the state, you know, our community college. mostly our ucs and our private colleges, all of them together and our two-day colleges to say
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students can be admitted to college this year without taking the s.a.t.s. that was critically important, we can't have a bunch of students together. this raised how do we measure learning going forward? we think we will see changes in how learning is measured. let's focus on how much time have you and more on the ability to apply what you have learned. there will be a lot going on how we measure learning. we think we will see a lot less standardized testing and more on practical skills that students learn, you know, critical thinking. things that we know help our students for the future. >> all right. i'm seeing a lot more questions come in about a hybrid modem. there are teachers who wonder how can they be expected to teach well if they are to one day be in class with let's say several different cohort groups being exposed. the next day, taking their curriculum and lesson plan online and continuing to go back and forth. what do you say to that? >> it's a valid concern and
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we'll be taking that up with some of our associations that focus on what happens in schools, our association of administrators, our california teachers association. we'll be having those conversations. generally speaking, the state is still expecting schools to you know have the same number of days. so that means students have to be in school at least four-to-five days a week. what's different is the number of minutes, that part the state is providing flexibility on. we agree that for there to be continuity and learning, there should be a you know a consistent program and, of course, more than important than anything, we have to give lots of training to professional development to our teachers and educators. we can't make a bunch of rules and not provide support to our educators. this is all different and new. we've never had this level of online learning provided in california or in the nation. so, as we move to more of this we've got to provide professional development and training that focuses on quality
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for our educators. we will be pushing for that we'll be working with our districts to make sure teachers are getting that training. >> all right. we will continue our on
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. and we are back with st. student tony sure mon to continue our conversation how california will reopen schools safely for kid. a mom on twitter is asking, are schools required to follow the public health guidelines on face coverings distance or is this optional in each individual district? >> it is true that the county health officers have the ability to rear and prescribe what we do everywhere in the county. whether it's in a grocery storesh restaurant or school. all those places are different. we do have to follow the orders from the county officers, if they say shelter in place, we need to shelter in place. if they aeveryone is wearing a
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mask. we need to all wear a mask. our office rems all students and staff wears a mask. at the end of the day, the county health officer absolutely has the act to enforce. what they say is a requirement and we should all be following what the county health officers are saying. >> how do you keep the cohort groups separate when they use the bathroom? >> that's a good question. the only schools opened are child care centers. i know they work hard to keep them physical distance. that's true when schools k through 12 opens again. we will have to have plenty of supervision and support to teach them from making contact that could cause them to get hurt or anyrepublican inner that family. we know it's important that all of our staff this is a place where our teachers and staff
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play a key role. we want to make sure they are staffed up and have the object to be safe whether on campus or on a bus. >> we have to keep teachers safe. whether you may reduce class sizes or perhaps hand out ppes to everybody, what are you doing about that to protect the teachers? >> again, through our partnership with the governor's office and office of emergency services, pp ze already on the way to all of our 10,000 schools. in many cases, it's already arrived. we're talking more than 14 million face coverings, additional face shields, you know, hundreds of thousands of gallons of hand sanitizers all on the way to our schools to help keep staff safe and so you know by default, saying that class sizes have to be six feet of distance by default createser
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class sizes as they measure out how many they can serve. that work is on the way, school districts are trying to figure out right now how many students they can serve in their classes. we know it will be smaller glass sizes for sure. >> what is the advice you give with regard to the phased approach of bringing back students? many of the local school districts seal to be focusing on kids with learning distances back to campus first? but does that lead to extra exposure to that group? >> i know some school districts have already brought back students who have disability and need additional support. they brought them back. some of our child care centers have been opened. they serve young people from infancy to 2nd and 3rd grade and so we are learning from these centers that have been opened. remarkably we are proud of our child care centers. they have followed these guidelines. they have said they have not had
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contracts to date. literally, the child care centers are asking parents to take temperatures of their children before they come to school. they see any symptoms they shouldn't come to school. they take temperatures when they get to the child care center and everyone is wearing a face covering and maintaining 6 feet of distance. these early option are showing us this can be done but we must follow the protocol, the science that we know to help keep everyone safe. >> all right, tony, the questions keep coming when you are on. we invite you another time. bun we have 45 second left, i want who hear what you think we can each do right now adults, kids, businesses across the different sectors of society right now to ensure our kids come back to school and maximize the chances of that happening. >> you know, there is so many things we can do and remember we as adults, we have to remember,
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children take their queues from us so hand washing and maintaining physical distancing and probably the most important thing, wearing a face covering, it's so important. i know it's inconveniencing, difficult. this is something we can do for now. there is going to be a time where we won't need it. for now we do. everything that we've seen shows us that this will keep us safe. this is our role model for our kids. we need to support them in knowing that a face covering is safe. in the meantime, we focus on safety, the mental health of our students and make sure our students can speak to
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we are back. thank you for joining us. we had a great conversation with state superintendent tony thurmon, we'll have him back on tonight, the new covid k on shock. as america records its biggest one-day surge in cases since this pandemic began. more than 50,000 cases reported in one day. dr. anthony fauci warning we are at risk of losing control. at the same time, president trump insists they are putting out the flames. tonight, we go inside one florida hospital as doctors and nurses suit up for battle. 10,000 new infections in florida today. and their youngest victim yet, just 11 years old. disturbing reports about young people throwing covid parties in alabama to see who gets it first. a 4-month-old hospitalized there. hospitalizations rising in more than half the country. one houston icu at 100%
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capacity. and tonight, after first resisting the move, face

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