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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday is expected to announce a $2-billion package of financial incentives to encourage a return to in-person classroom instruction for California elementary school students as early as mid-February, an effort that would support frequent COVID-19 testing for students, teachers and staff.

The proposal won’t immediately open any schools, given the bleak public health conditions across most of the state, and it remains unclear just how quickly many districts will qualify, especially those in large urban areas in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Newsom’s plan, expected to be submitted to the Legislature as an adjustment of the state budget for the current fiscal year, prioritizes returning students in kindergarten through the second grade to the classroom as well as others with special instruction needs. The remainder of elementary school students could return as early as sometime in March. It remained unclear when older students would return to campuses.

Education sources familiar with Newsom’s idea, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it while awaiting the official announcement from the governor, said a number of questions remain unanswered. They said administration officials plan to make the local implementation plans subject to collective bargaining agreements between labor unions and officials in each district.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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