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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #21-62
August 31, 2021
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Visits Roosevelt Elementary in Long Beach to Celebrate First Day of School

LONG BEACH—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today joined Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Superintendent Dr. Jill Baker and City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia as well as other school and community officials to welcome students back and celebrate the first day of in-person instruction at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Roosevelt Elementary opened today for the 2021–22 school year for the first time since campuses closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. State Superintendent Thurmond was accompanied by Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Duardo, LBUSD Governing Board members, and local officials during his visit with fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms, and afterwards he spoke to media about the importance of vaccines and other layered safety measures needed to keep communities and schools safe.

“There is no question that in-person instruction is the best way to meet the academic needs and social-emotional well-being of students,” State Superintendent Thurmond said. “I want to commend school districts like Long Beach Unified that have worked tirelessly to put into place the layered mitigation strategies and provide the necessary education and resources to open classrooms safely. Vaccines, wearing masks, and regular testing are essential to keeping our schools safe and open.”

LBUSD had already successfully implemented health and safety protocols during the Spring 2021 semester to provide in-person instruction to roughly 35,000 students, and again for about 14,000 students during summer school. Tuesday was the first time in two years that the district started the fall semester with an estimated 68,000 students returning to in-person learning. About 1,000 students will learn via a newly offered independent study program designed for families that are not quite ready to send their children to campus.

During his visit, State Superintendent Thurmond discussed health and safety measures in schools statewide and the importance of in-person instruction and highlighted LBUSD as a prime example of how a school district can open safely for an estimated 68,000 students with appropriate safety protocols in place.

This event at Roosevelt Elementary is part of a series of on-campus visits that the State Superintendent is making to showcase students engaged in safe, in-person learning supported by a multi-layered, whole-child approach that includes implementing safety measures and addressing learning gaps while attending to student mental health and well-being and the needs of families.

School districts can find more information on funding sources for COVID tests on the CDE CARES Act Funding web page. For questions on rapid COVID testing, email Anyone age twelve and over can schedule a COVID vaccine at the California Department of Public Health My Turn website External link opens in new window or tab..

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 1, 2021
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