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Reevaluation of School Reopening Timeline

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

by Jacqueline Riddle

Schools statewide started closing in March, making 2020 a year to remember, and not in a good way. Students had their senior year ripped away from them, their sports schedules thrown for a loop, and were forced to do school from home. At the time, it was expected to be a three week break until we returned to school, but that is far from what happened. It has been nearly eight months, and students are still required to succeed in school from home. The timeline of schools reopening in San Diego County has been unreliable and inconsistent. Is there any truth to what has been said?

Out of the 58 counties in California, ten remain in the purple tier (the top tier), prohibiting them from opening up their schools, even to small groups of kids. There are four tiers, with purple being

the highest, then red, orange, and yellow. Purple means the infection rates are widespread, with more than 7.0 daily cases (per 100,000) and more than 8% of positive tests. Red has a range of 4.0-7.0 daily new cases, with around 5-8% tests coming back positive. The orange tier is around 1.0-4.0 new cases, with only 2-5% of positive tests. The least risk level tier is yellow, it has less than 1.0 daily case, and only 2% of tests come back positive. The counties must remain in the second tier (or lower) for at least 14 days to reopen for in-person instruction. San Diego Unified started bringing small groups of students back for in-person instruction on the 13th of October, in a first attempt at their unfinished “phase” plan. These small groups of students consist of kids who are experiencing learning loss or students who have high needs regarding their education, according to The San Diego Union Tribune. The amount of time varies depending on the student - some need to be on campus one day for a couple of hours, while others need to go more frequently. Around 12% of the 100,000 students in the district will be able to participate in this limited access program.

The San Diego Unified District has taken precautions to keep their students safe in the future once campuses open. They have spent around $45 million to equip schools with the appropriate tools to safely and effectively teach kids of all ages. Dr. Mark Ghaly, a secretary of California’s Health and Human Services, claims that there has not been an indicated increase in coronavirus cases as schools reopen. The district is optimistic that since there has yet to be a connection between the restoration of in-person learning and an increase in cases, they will be able to continue following through with the rest of their phases.

Parents in particular areas have started to become restless and hostile towards the district, forming rallies and openly ‘attacking’ the district's choices. Specifically, parents in Carlsbad have been seen holding signs saying “Defund the Union.” Parents and guardians want their kids to return to normalcy, which includes partaking in social interactions and connections with their peers. During this rally, parents made it clear that they were not thrilled about the postponing of the reopening date. Parents, along with countless principals, are finally starting to become concerned with their child’s emotional state during this unprecedented time.

Months have gone by and countless variables still remain in the “unknown” category. Although it may seem like very few things have changed, the district is still continuing to figure out ways to get students back in classrooms. As of October 27th, the district has said that January 25th, 2021 is the earliest the students will be able to return to in-person school.


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