(CALmatters) – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday touted the state’s progress in reopening schools, even as California continues to offer its students the least amount of in-person learning in the country.

Silhouettes of students walking between buildings reflected in a window at Ruby Bridges Elementary school in Alameda on March 16, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

At a press conference at a Sonoma County elementary school that had reopened two days before, the governor said that more than 9,000 of the state’s 11,000 schools have already welcomed students back to campus or plan to do so soon. That’s about the same figure he cited a month ago. As of Wednesday, only 62% of elementary students, 37% of middle school students and 39% of high school students had the option of receiving some level of in-person instruction, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of state data.

Some of the state’s largest districts — including San DiegoSan Francisco and Los Angeles — began reopening schools this week for some of their youngest and most vulnerable students, but many will only receive in-person classes for a few hours a week. In Los Angeles, students will actually spend the vast majority of their day in free child care, for which the district and school are hiring thousands of workers. In San Francisco, some parents are referring to the reopening plans as “Zoom in a room”: Teachers will instruct remotely while a classroom monitor supervises the kids on their laptops.

Newsom said Wednesday the state “must prepare now for full in-person instruction come this next school year,” but stopped short of saying it would be required. The governor noted that many communities hard-hit by the pandemic, particularly Latinos, are concerned about sending their kids back to campus.