Newsom responds to financial / security concerns when schools reopen

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Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

On August 3 in Perris, Calif., Lincoln Cooper and Fortunate Hove Cooper handed out free backpacks filled with school supplies and hand sanitizer to struggling families during a triple-digit heat wave.

They were joined by a handful of volunteers, including representatives from the Moreno Valley School District.

“This is the biggest back-to-school event we’ve ever hosted,” said Lincoln Cooper, president and founder of the community outreach organization Concerned Family (TCF). “We had a lot of support and we are really thankful and grateful that we were able to help the community.”

The black-led faith-based community outreach organization, founded in 1993 and operated from a former fire station in Perris, has organized back-to-school events in the past; but none quite on this scale, say group leaders. According to Lincoln, they received more than 750 backpacks filled to the brim with useful supplies.

“What we had planned at the start was not the backpacks. The plan was to remember those who lost loved ones in the COVID-19 pandemic and have a memorial for them, then assure the children that they are still heard, and we don’t just leave them behind. pass while they are in mourning, ”said TCF Fortunate Co-Founder Hove Cooper.

The Coopers aren’t the only ones worried about struggling black families with children returning to school this fall as uncertainty persists over the coronavirus and its newer variants. For many black California families, especially low-income ones, getting their children back to in-person classes amid an ongoing pandemic remains a financial and public health challenge. But during a visit to Juanita B. Jones Elementary School in San Bernardino on August 6, Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out a roadmap for the state’s safe return to in-person education.

During the press conference, Newsom spoke about the California Comeback Plan, a COVID-19 stimulus budget that includes $ 123.9 billion in education investments. He was joined by Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Assembly Member James Ramos (D-Highland), Education Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Gwendolyn Dowdy- Rodgers, a San Bernardino County education advocate and school board member, among others. .

“Our school year started on Monday and we’ve had a great week,” said Dr. Gwen Dowdy-Rogers, San Bernardino City Unified School District School Board chairperson, at the start of the press conference. “Families have returned 95% of all students to our campuses for the first time in over a year for in-person instruction,” she continued.

Newsom addressed some of the pandemic-related financial issues facing students and families, such as the Concerned Family back-to-school event. “By the way, $ 650 million has been spent on this unprecedented nationwide effort to provide free nutritious meals to our children,” Newsom said. “Supervisor Baca would be mad at me if I didn’t remind everyone of the support we give to these children,” he continued. The governor also reassured that this “complete reopening of schools” during a pandemic will be safe.

However, Lincoln and Fortunate are still concerned about the safety of COVID-19 for students in Kindergarten and Kindergarten to Grade 12. “There is so much going on with the pandemic and even young children are dying. Initially, it was the elderly. Lincoln said. “So I would advise them to make sure they wear their face masks and to be careful,” he continued.

Newsom claimed that many of the pandemic safety issues in schools can be resolved by following safety protocols and getting vaccinated. He also touched on inequalities in education and health care in the state and what he plans to do to tackle it. “We continue to disproportionately focus on partnering with community organizations in the African American and Latin American community to do more, get more people immunized, and address the concerns and concerns that persist in terms of reluctance to move forward. vaccination, ”Newsom said. “And it is extremely important, the health of our various communities. And I want people to know that we have doubled down on 480 community organizations working with hair salons, faith communities, black press, ethnic media, crossing the spectrum to provide additional outreach, ”he continued.

Newsom says the California Comeback Plan is a comprehensive plan that takes health care into consideration. “A big part of our community school strategy is to embed and reinvent a comprehensive personal care framework with respect not only to quality public education, but also to meeting health needs as well as human needs. nutrition of our public children. ”

California Black Media’s COVID-19 coverage is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.

Above: Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke at a press conference on Friday August 6 at the San Bernardino City School District office. State Superintendent of Education, Tony Thurman, and other state and local officials were in attendance. (Photo by: Aldon Stiles)


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