Richard Barrera

Could Rise in COVID Cases Impact Schools Reopening?

Three factors could impact the reopening of schools: A rise in cases of the coronavirus, the ability to test for the virus at schools and a lack of federal funding to pay for extra costs to make schools safe, according to SDUSD Board vice-president Richard Barrera

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School districts in San Diego County have been making plans to reopen schools safely, but all that planning and preparation could be for naught.

“It’s very possible schools will not reopen if, come Aug. 31, we don’t have the ability to do real testing and the coronavirus continues to rise beyond what public health officials consider to be under control,” said San Diego Unified School District board vice-president Richard Barrera.  

Barrera said the district is working with public health officials and health-care experts at UC San Diego to come up with a way to test in schools that goes beyond temperature checks. 

As for the community spread of the virus, Barrera said we are worse off now than we were in mid-March when schools closed due to the virus.

“If the community continues to see a rise in the virus, no matter how safe we can make the environment at school, students and staff are still going home to the community, and it would not be safe to reopen," Barrera said.

The solution, Barrera said, is for people to follow the guidelines to get the virus under control.

“If that doesn’t happen, all the best plans to reopen are not going forward,” Barrera said.

If that doesn't happen all the best plans to re-open are not going forward.

Richard Barrera SDUSD Board Vice President

Kisha Borden, the president of the San Diego Education Association. sent NBC7 a statement regarding Pres. Donald Trump’s remarks Tuesday about the need for schools to re-open.

“We are not basing our planning on what the president is saying," Borden said. "Our primary focus is on the health and safety of students and staff. We need to see a downward trajectory of COVID infections, hospitalizations, etc., before we can reopen safely. When we do reopen, we need to have access to testing, contact tracing, increased cleaning and disinfecting, appropriate protective equipment and other essential safety measures. We don't have those things right now. “

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