Jul 15, 2020 - Health

Houston and San Francisco public school districts to be online-only this fall

A volunteer wearing a mask and gloves stands outside of a school to gather donations
Photo: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

The Houston and San Francisco public school districts announced Wednesday they will begin the 2020 fall semester online due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: There are over 60,000 students in San Francisco schools and 216,000 in Houston, which is the largest public school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the U.S.

  • The announcements come days after Los Angeles and San Diego — the two largest public districts in California — said they'd be doing the same.
  • President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have been pressuring schools to reopen this fall, arguing that kids cannot afford to continue learning from home. Trump on Tuesday called the Los Angeles decision a "mistake."

The state of play:

  • Houston schools will be teaching their students virtually until Oct. 19, when in-person learning could begin depending on the status of the pandemic. Parents will be able to opt their children out of face-t0-face instruction if they don't deem it safe.
  • San Francisco schools did not specify if or when they will move to in-person instruction, but the district is working to provide laptops for students who need it.

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