Overcoming the pandemic

After the pandemic first shut down schools in March 2020, most of California’s students didn’t come back for full-time, in-person instruction until the start of the 2021-22 school year. Because the state did not administer standardized tests in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, it’s hard to know exactly how far students have fallen behind.

But grades have plummeted across the state. More students received Ds and Fs during the pandemic. English learners and students from low-income families saw steeper grade drops.

But as students returned to campuses, educators were tasked with not only fostering recovery in academics but also in terms of mental and emotional health. To help students readjust to the classroom environment, the state allocated $5 billion across 5 years to expand after-school and summer school programs. 

And in a historic move to combat food insecurity, an inequity laid bare by the pandemic, the state spent $54 million for schools to give all students two free meals a day. The universal free meals will start in the 2022-23 school year.