California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new shutdowns across the state in response to the recent spikes in COVID-19 infections, ordering the closure of all indoor dining, bars, museums, and zoos across the state. Other restrictions will be imposed on a county-by-county basis, based on infection rates. Those restrictions will affect roughly 80 percent of California's population, requiring the closure of gyms, malls, salons, and houses of worship, as well as offices with nonessential workers.

Noting that nobody should have any illusions anymore that warmer weather would mean an end to the coronavirus, Newsom said:

We're seeing an increase in the spread of the virus, so that's why it's incumbent upon all of us to recognize soberly that COVID-19 is not going away any time soon until there is a vaccine or an effective therapy.

As with California's initial shutdown, Newsom's re-closure of much of the state is ahead of what other states are doing as the virus starts roaring back in America, prompting infectious disease experts who learned all about virology from Twitter to say the measures were completely unneeded. The Los Angeles Timespoints out that anti-mask idiots are already planning a protest at the state Capitol this weekend; the order bars indoor protests, but not outdoor demonstrations.

The new restrictions went into effect immediately, and will remain in effect until State Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell determines it's safe to start reopening things again.

Newsom orders statewide

In addition to Newsom's announcement, California's two biggest school districts, in Los Angeles and San Diego, said they had canceled plans to reopen schools in August, and will instead start the school year with online-only classes. LA Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner told the LA Times the district simply can't guarantee the health of its half-million students and 75,000 employees.

"Let me be crystal clear," Beutner said in an interview with The Times. "We all know the best place for students to learn is in a school setting." But, he said, "We're going in the wrong direction. And as much as we want to be back at schools and have students back at schools — can't do it until it's safe and appropriate."

He also said that government at all levels needs to make sure the public health infrastructure is in place to make reopening safe, with adequate levels of testing and contact tracing. He said it would cost about $300 per person to test all students and staff weekly for a school year.

"The dollars pale in comparison to the importance schools will play in reopening what was the fifth-largest economy in the world," he said.

Now hold on, here, mister, what's in it for big hotel chains and Boeing?

Until fairly recently, both school districts had been planning to open with a combination of online and in-person classes, in which

students would attend classes part time on campus in small socially distanced groups, using a staggered schedule. They were going to combine this limited on-campus time with an enhanced study-at-home framework that included academic work online and offline.

That hybrid plan was still not enough for Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who would prefer children and their teachers be in mortal danger so the economy can recover, maybe, if enough MAGA parents could be persuaded to send their children swimming in shark-infested waters for the sake of the Great Leader. The LA Times notes that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) remains on board with Project Sharkbait, and is willing to sacrifice children, teachers, staff, and their families for the great cause. Unlike federal officials, who have little power over local school funding and reopening decisions, DeSantis has threatened to withhold state funds from schools that don't reopen fully, even though Florida has seen record-shattering levels of new COVID-19 infections.

Many other school districts across California have also announced they'll begin the school year with online-only classes. One noticeable outlier is the Orange County Board of Education, which voted 4-1 last night to allow schools in the district to reopen fully, without any requirements for social distancing or masks. Yes, really. It's fucking Orange County. Fortunately, the final decisions on school reopenings will be left to the individual school boards; the OC board is not empowered to force any schools to reopen.

KCAL-TV reports the county Board of Education's decision was "informed" by a meeting last month with

experts who concluded in a white paper that requiring students to wear masks "is not only difficult but may even be harmful over time."

It was also stated that "social distancing of children and reduction of classroom size and census may be considered, but not vital to implement for school-aged children," and advised that parents "are in the best position to determine the education environment that best suits their children rather than government officials."

That white paper — included in the agenda for last night's board meeting — is a doozy, insisting that since children have so far been the "lowest-risk cohort for Covid-19," social distancing in schools isn't necessary, and that

Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult – if not impossible to implement – but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not recommended.

The report recommends frequent hand-washing, use of hand sanitizer, and disinfection of surfaces, but that's about it. Further, the white paper proudly declared that

Participation in any reopening of public education should be voluntary. These guidelines are not "laws" or "regulations" or even "rules."

And if parents aren't happy with their school district's plans to reopen, then "parents should be allowed to send their children to a district or charter school that will provide that education. Some parents with the means will opt for private schools or home schooling."

The OC board appears to have stopped short, for now, of calling for the end of Government Schools.

Al Mijares, superintendent of the OC Department of Education, was quick to note in a statement that the board's "recommendations are not binding," and that the real decisions about how and when to reopen will be made by "Locally elected school boards and superintendents [...] based on the needs of their schools and communities." We would like to think he issued the statement while nodding toward the county school board's white paper and making a gagging gesture.

Looks like California is once again — after seemingly bowing to a bunch of Huntington Beach idiots having a temper tantrum and reopening far too soon — out front on getting a handle on this latest outbreak. So now Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren is once again accusing Newsom of both tyranny and being a welfare queen:

As we all know, people usually make wrenching economic decisions with the hope that maybe the federal government will do something down the line to provide partial relief. That's just logic!

[LA Times / LAT / KCAL-TV / Orange County Board of Education]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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