California

California Supreme Court denies O.C. Board of Education petition to reopen school campuses

The Orange County Board of Education’s bid to force California to re-open school campuses for in-person learning ended Wednesday when the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Board of Education President Ken Williams expressed disappointment with the ruling.

“I am sorry that the state Supreme Court did not view that Governor Newsom has abused his emergency powers that are given to governors under a real healthcare crisis. Our families and children are suffering from not going to school.”

Last month, the board, along with a few parents and several private schools across California, took the unusual step of filing legal actions directly with the state Supreme Court.

Two lawsuits claimed that actions by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health to curb the spread of coronavirus were unconstitutional and violated the right to equal access to education. Newsom’s order effectively closed most school campuses to

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California oil production limits stall in Legislature, leaving the issue to Newsom

Oil derrick pumps just north of the Kern County town of McKittrick. <span class="copyright">(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Oil derrick pumps just north of the Kern County town of McKittrick. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

In his first year in office, Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed to protect Californians against hazards and pollutants from oil and gas production. Now the governor is facing increasing pressure to make good on his promise after efforts in the Legislature to mandate health and safety buffer zones around oil and gas wells and refineries failed amid fierce opposition from the petroleum industry and trade unions.

Legislation to put in place minimum setback distances between the wells and residential areas, along with public places such as schools and playgrounds, failed passage in a state Senate committee last week. The proposal faced a rough go from the outset, with resistance coming from Republicans and some pro-labor and Central Valley Democrats, underscoring the continued political muscle of California’s billion-dollar oil industry — even in a

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This California school is open, ‘learning as we go.’ Is it a model or a mistake?

China Arkansas, 8, an incoming third-grader at Mount St. Mary's Academy in Grass Valley, Calif., takes an assessment test under the watch of teacher David Pistone. <span class="copyright">(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)</span>
China Arkansas, 8, an incoming third-grader at Mount St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley, Calif., takes an assessment test under the watch of teacher David Pistone. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Inside Mount St. Mary’s Academy, a Catholic school in this Gold Rush town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, a life-size statue of the Virgin Mary stands sentinel over the check-in table at the front door. Students returning for the fall session stop under her watchful gaze for a modern ritual of pandemic life: temperature check, hand sanitizer, questions on their potential as virus vectors.

Thursday morning, Principal Edee Wood wore a red paisley-printed mask as she wielded a digital thermometer intended to protect the 160 students at her school, one of the few in California attempting in-person classes this fall. At Mount St. Mary’s, life is going back to normal with crisp uniforms, sharp pencils and classes five

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California colleges can reopen with a ton of restrictions, limited dorms, online classes

USC and other California colleges and universities can reopen this fall with some in-person classes and limited dorm life, according to state guidance. <span class="copyright">(Perry C. Riddle / Los Angeles Times)</span>
USC and other California colleges and universities can reopen this fall with some in-person classes and limited dorm life, according to state guidance. (Perry C. Riddle / Los Angeles Times)

As California colleges and universities reopen this fall they must adhere to strict limits on in-person classes and greatly restrict dorm and campus life, state public health officials said Friday in long-awaited guidance for how campuses can operate amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The delay in state guidance had frustrated campuses, which have scrambled to create varying reopening plans without knowing what ultimately would be approved by county and state public health officials and how that would affect thousands of students just days from starting fall semester.

Most colleges, including the vast UC and Cal State systems, have already announced they were planning to start the fall with mostly online classes. The state’s strict rules prohibit indoor lectures for

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U.S. Cases Rise 1.1%; California Second-Worst Day: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — California had its second-deadliest day in the pandemic and Florida’s case count topped 500,000. Texas’s test positivity rate reached a three-week high. New York City is setting up checkpoints at key entry areas to enforce state quarantine rules for travelers.

Joe Biden will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination from Delaware rather than risk traveling to Milwaukee. Chicago, the country’s third-largest school district, will have remote learning for public schools when classes resume next month.

Johnson & Johnson will supply 100 million doses of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine to the U.S. The U.K. agreed to invest $18 million in a Scottish vaccine-manufacturing plant, while Moderna Inc. said it has received $400 million of deposits for its potential Covid-19 shot.

Key Developments

Global Tracker: Global cases top 18.6 million; deaths pass 702,000Fauci says testing too slow while Trump says it’s ‘best ever’CDC warns against drinking sanitizer after reports of deathsJapan’s

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U.S. Cases Increase 0.9%; California, Arizona Slow: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

California and Arizona reported positive trends on new cases after battling a surge in infections last month. New Jersey, concerned about recent violations of social-distancing rules among young revelers, reduced crowd limits for indoor parties.

Eli Lilly & Co. will begin testing its Covid-19 antibody drug in nursing homes, a treatment with potential to protect vulnerable groups that vaccines may not cover. Global coronavirus cases surpassed 18 million, with the pandemic now adding a million infections every four days.

Iran’s virus death toll may have been almost three times larger than official counts, the BBC reported, while Hong Kong said it had the fewest number of new cases since July 22.

Key Developments

Global Tracker: Global cases top 18 million; deaths pass 689,000Fauci says face shields good idea for teachers back in schoolsU.K. reviewing Covid-fighting options including London lockdownFacing fierce new waves, virus hunters turn to sewage and

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California donors spend $38 million trying to tilt Senate races around the country

Top row from left: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and challenger Jaime Harrison; Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. Bottom row from left: McConnell's Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath; Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, who is battling Sen. Martha McSally. <span class="copyright">(Associated Press)</span>
Top row from left: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and challenger Jaime Harrison; Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. Bottom row from left: McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath; Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, who is battling Sen. Martha McSally. (Associated Press)

Californians have spent $38 million and counting trying to tilt Senate contests across the nation, making the state one of the top sources of campaign contributions in races that will decide which party controls the body next year, according to campaign finance disclosures. That’s despite the state not having a Senate race on its ballot in November.

There are 35 Senate races being decided later this year, and California is among the top five donor states for at least one candidate in every contest, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. In many cases, candidates raised more from California than in their home state.

Californians

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California schools were already unequal. Then came ‘learning pods’

Schools like this one in Bothell, Wash., closed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents are now coming up with small-group alternatives for their children. <span class="copyright">(David Ryder / Getty Images)</span>
Schools like this one in Bothell, Wash., closed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents are now coming up with small-group alternatives for their children. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

As if the disparities in online learning didn’t already put low-income Black and Latino students at a terrible disadvantage, now the pandemic era has created a new form of educational inequality: the so-called learning pod.

Many middle-class parents across the nation have responded with lightning quickness and considerable ingenuity to the prospect of campuses remaining closed in the fall, as most schools in California will be. They’re putting together small groups of students of similar age — usually four to six of them — to study in a modern version of a one-room schoolhouse. Usually, the idea is to hold the lessons at the home of one of the parents, on a large covered deck or in a cleared-out

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These California moms were never going to send their kids to school in a pandemic. Here’s why

Sacramento mom Erin Gottis knew she wasn’t going to send her 9-year-old son Mason back into the classroom this fall well before his school district announced plans to start the academic year with distance learning.

Mason has severe asthma and Type 1 diabetes. Keeping him healthy and out of the hospital for something as simple as getting a cold during a normal school year was hard enough, Gottis, 39, said. Physically sending him back to school amid COVID-19 could kill him.

“There’s just no way he’s going to school unless they can give a 100% guarantee he won’t contract the coronavirus,” Gottis said. “Which is impossible at this point.”

Many California families like hers are bracing for months if not years of educating their medically fragile kids at home. They won’t send their kids to class until there’s a widely available vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

Mason is one of

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Thousands of you told us you want California to change. We want to hear from even more of you

The 110 Freeway leads south toward downtown Los Angeles. <span class="copyright">(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)</span>
The 110 Freeway leads south toward downtown Los Angeles. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It was almost three months ago, but it might as well have been another epoch: In early May, the L.A. Times Opinion section asked readers to envision life in California after the pandemic and share with us their thoughts on what the COVID-19 health and economic crisis reveals about us as a society, and what transformations may be necessary to heal the trauma.

And respond our readers did — more than 3,700 of you. With such a large volume of responses, the topics covered were diverse, but there were some areas of broad agreement among our readers — namely, that government should expand its role in healthcare and the economy to prevent a crisis such as COVID-19 from causing so much shock. Traffic, housing and the environment were also on the top of readers’ minds;

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