California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced a $2
billion fund to help reopen elementary schools in the state, which can be done as
early as mid-February, LA Times reported.

The fund will be spent on testing of students, teachers and
staff and other logistics needed for a safe coming back of children to schools.

In a statement, Newsom referred to the “growing evidence”
that children are less likely to contract the coronavirus as a justification to
go for the reopening.

“As a father of four, I know firsthand what parents,
educators and pediatricians continue to say: In-person is the best setting to
meet not only the learning needs, but the mental health and social-emotional
needs of our kids,” Newsom said in the statement.

“In the midst of this pandemic, my administration is focused
on getting students back into the classroom in a way that leads with student
and teacher health.”

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 those with special instructional needs, LA Times wrote.

The rest of the elementary school children can return as
early as March. There was no word on by when the older children will be able to
attend in-person classes.

All school staff and students who return to school would be
required to wear masks.

California has seen a total of 2.24 million
cases with just under 25,000 deaths so