sweetwater union high school district

Parents, Students Call for South Bay Schools to Re-open Classroom Learning

Rally also calls on district to reinstate sports programs and open practice fields

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There is growing frustration among parents and students who are calling on more districts to open in-classroom learning, in addition to a call to resume sports programs.

In Chula Vista, about 50 parents and students gathered in front of the Sweetwater Union High School District on Monday for a Rally to Reopen All South Bay School and Sports. The event was organized via social media, and the organizer is asking the Sweetwater Union High School District to begin in-classroom teaching for students who choose to return to campus.

“Bottom-line message is: Let us choose,” said Kimberly Dickson. "Right now, the district has a one size fits all model -- which is to remain in virtual learning -- and parents want a choice."

Dickson, who is a South Bay physician, helped organize the rally, as did her husband, Matt, who is also a doctor.

The rally also calls on the district to reinstate sports programs and open practice fields, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda.

The district has previously said it would hold online classes through the end of 2020 but would evaluate that status in November.

“We’re actually seeing the risk of keeping our kids out of school and out of sports being higher than the risk of sending them back,” Matt Dickson said.

One parent to a child with special needs said her son was regressing, suffering academically, emotionally, and socially.

"It's horrible," parent Sally Sachrison said. "He is so sad. He's regressing, he's stuttering, he doesn't have any friends."

The rally also called for the district to begin sports competitions and open practice facilities. 

“The California Interscholastic Federation has scheduled Season 1 sports to officially start on Dec. 12.” said district spokesman Manny Rubio said in an email statement. "District leadership is continually monitoring the COVID-19 conditions in San Diego County, specifically in the South Bay communities that we serve. As conditions improve, we will consider opening our schools for athletic training in advance of the December start date."

Also on Monday, the SUHSD board voted in favor of making Acting Superintendent Moises Aguirre the district's interim superintendent. The title change does not move Aguirre any closer to becoming the official superintendent, according to district spokesperson Manny Rubio, but it does give him the power to negotiate for the district and sign off on things like collective bargaining contracts.

The search for the permanent superintendent will get underway at the district's next public meeting, and could be lengthy process.

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