OAKLAND, Calif. – One of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s children is quarantined after a schoolmate tests positive for Covid-19. The governor’s office confirmed this to POLITICO late on Friday.
Newsom’s child was exposed at his private school and was in a 14-day quarantine, communication director Nathan Click said in an email. POLITICO does not name the school or the child for data protection reasons.
It was another difficult turn for the Newsom family in a week the governor was harshly critical of attending a 12-person dinner party at The French Laundry for a friend of a Sacramento lobbyist. The school’s exposure is likely to attract the attention of teachers’ unions, which have urged the governor to close all sites amid an increase in coronavirus cases.
“The family took the potential exposure seriously and is following all government protocols,” said Click. “After the school announced that a classmate tested positive for COVID-19, the potentially exposed Newsom child began a 14-day quarantine under state school health guidelines from the date of exposure.”
Newsom received a rapid test this week that came back negative and will be given a nasal swab test this weekend, according to Click. All four Newsom children tested negative, as did first partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
“The Newsom child was tested twice [5 days and 7 days past their last contact with the COVID-19 positive student]”Said Click.” In addition, each of the Newsom children was tested on day 5. “
Click said the governor, his wife, and their three other children are not required to be quarantined under state health policies that only require the person who is directly exposed to an infected person to be quarantined.
Newsom said late last month that its four children, ages 4-11, had returned to their private school in Sacramento as part of a “gradual approach” to face-to-face learning. The school was expanded to five days a week this month.
The governor has caught fire because most of California’s 6 million public school children are staying home to attend distance learning as 20 of the 25 largest districts have chosen to keep campuses closed, including the massive Los Angeles Unified School District . Congregation Education Chairman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) called the situation “government-sanctioned segregation” this month as wealthier suburban families returned to classes while city public schools serving low-income residents mostly stayed at home. Many students have problems with distance learning based on early testimonials showing an increase in failure.
With Covid-19 at an unprecedented pace and the state keeping case records on a daily basis, Newsom this week put 41 counties – accounting for 94 percent of the state’s population – into the most restrictive purple level of the coronavirus. That makes it much harder for schools that have never opened to bring back students, and it has rocked the reopening of talks for districts considering opening. School districts and private schools that have already opened – including the Newsoms – may remain open in the purple row according to the governor’s rules.
Click said Newsom “made the safety of students and staff a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and fought to ensure that every child – whether in the classroom or at home – is learning.” In a November 6 letter to California Mayors, Newsom noted that its latest state budget “stabilized school funding and a one-time investment of more than $ 5.3 billion in funding for local public schools to support learning and disposal of obstacles related to COVID included -19. “
But O’Donnell and other leaders say Newsom needs to do more. The state is projected to have a “windfall” of $ 26 billion over the next 18 months, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and Democratic lawmakers have said some of that money should be spent on keeping schools safe.
The Sacramento Private School, which the Newsoms attend, will switch to distance learning after Thanksgiving in the second week of December, partly due to the higher risks associated with vacation activities over the next week. This is evident from an email POLITICO received. In order for students to return afterwards, they must get a negative Covid-19 test and the school is offering tests to all students and staff.
The largest teacher unions and school districts in the state have called for similar precautions before agreeing to reopen schools.
Newsom’s family announcement came the same week that the governor made international headlines – and met waning criticism – for attending a birthday dinner for lobbyist Jason Kinney at the exclusive French laundry restaurant in Napa County. Dinner became the fodder for cable hosts and editorials that challenged the governor’s political hypocrisy, who has repeatedly urged Californians not to travel for Thanksgiving, severely restrict their socializing, and avoid indoor dining to keep the spread to slow down the virus.
Photos of the dinner, captured by Fox LA, showed the Governor and Siebel Newsom sitting maskless next to two senior California Medical Association officials, CEO Dustin Corcoran and senior lobbyist Janus Norman.
Although originally billed as an outdoor event, the photos showed guests at Kinney’s 50th birthday party in a three-sided enclosed space and also raised questions about how Newsom defines “outdoor dining” in the pandemic – a definition that gained even more importance as most of the state was forced to close all indoor restaurants.
On Thursday he ordered a 10pm. Curfew until 5 p.m. Saturday in the 41 purple counties. Residents are allowed to avoid venturing outside unless they are engaged in essential activities. The curfew lasts until 5 a.m. on December 21, more than a month. Newsom said it was aiming to control the higher spread that occurs with activities triggered by drunkenness and nighttime antics, and warned of “social activities and get-togethers that are more likely to lead to one lead to decreased inhibition “.