Newsom: California school reopening talks 'stubborn' with 'more work to do'

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OAKLAND — Gov. Gavin Newsom conceded Tuesday that he has not yet struck a school reopening deal with legislators and school groups after having said it could arrive last week.

“We are making progress and it is stubborn, the negotiation, and we continue to negotiate,” Newsom said, adding that “on schools, we still have more work to do.”

Why it matters: Getting kids back in classrooms has become a defining political goal for Newsom. The Democratic governor is working to reopen long-shuttered classrooms as frustration over homebound kids has helped fuel an effort to recall him. He has proposed channeling billions of dollars to aid schools and offered testing support.

“We need to get our schools safely reopened for kindergarten through sixth grade. We can do that safely,” he said on Tuesday.

The background: Newsom had hinted at being able to announce a breakthrough last Friday, but the day came and went without a deal.

Vaccinations remain a key stumbling block. Teachers unions have fought for educators to have access to vaccines as a precondition for in-person learning. Newsom has argued that goal is unrealistic given finite supply and has pointed to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance saying it is safe for schools to reopen prior to full staff inoculation.

What else is coming: Newsom suggested he would have a status update on Wednesday around two other proposals: his plan to offer more assistance to businesses and $600 cash grants to low-income workers.

Newsom said “the fruits of other negotiations will be made public,” adding, “we’re making progress.”

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