The San Diego Unified School District announced it reached an agreement with educators that will pave the way for schools to reopen schools.
“We think we will be in a position to offer in-person learning to all of our grades in elementary, middle and high schools in the spring,” said the district’s board president Richard Barrera. “And we’re extremely confident that we will have a full school year, full reopening in the fall and expanded summer programs before then.
For that to happen, three pieces have to be in place as set out in the agreement.
The schools must have all the necessary mitigation: masks for everybody, proper ventilation, and testing for adults and students on campus every two weeks even if they do not show symptoms. All teachers and school staff who come on campus will need to have access to two doses of the vaccine. The last piece is the downtrend in cases must continue.
Leslie Hofmeister from Reopen SDUSD believes it is safe to reopen school now. She said the district was ready with safety mitigation for a promised reopening Jan. 4, which was delayed when the county moved to the purple tier.
Hofmeister said vaccines and testing can be done hand-in-hand with students coming back on campus.
“We’re ready to hear some firm dates, and reopening plans and a framework that doesn’t consist of just hope. It is time to hit the ground and get this done," Hofmeister said.
Hofmeister also said the district should be able to re-open now even though the county is in the purple tier. A new state wavier would allow some districts under certain circumstances to re-open even if the county is not in the red tier. Barrera said San Diego Unified is not eligible, and with new CDC guidelines and changing science, the purple tier may no longer be a deciding factor for re-opening. Hofmeister said she is disappointed the district may not even apply.