San Dieguito Students Begin In-Person Instruction Ahead of Return to Red Tier

A judge said schools that had not yet reopened while the county was still in purple could reopen for in-person instruction

San Dieguito Union High School District

The San Dieguito Union High School District reopened for in-person learning Tuesday, a day before it planned to reopen and before the county moved into the red tier, when state guidelines allow schools to reopen for in-person instruction.

“It feels great to be able to see our teachers,” said Jake Noble, the student body president at Torrey Pines High School. "They’re excited, too."

Noble has been on campus since last year, one of several small groups of students that were allowed in classrooms to do their schoolwork on their computers. Tuesday was the next step in reopening schools, in that students could learn in class with their teachers and change classes from period to period.

Students and parents had been urging the district since last year to get students back for in-person instruction. Ultimately some parents in North County filed a lawsuit against the state, and Monday afternoon, a judge ruled that schools that had not been able to reopen while the county was in the purple tier could reopen, without regard to when the county would move to the updated red tier.

“To the extent we’re able to offer in-person instruction today, we’re very excited about that,” said District Superintendent Doctor Robert Haley. “We think it's the right thing. It’s been a year. Our students definitely need to be on campus in classrooms with their teachers.”  

California public health officials on Tuesday announced San Diego County has lowered its case rate enough to shift to the state's less restrictive red tier, allowing for some indoor activities to reopen

Haley said the district was late getting the word out after the ruling was announced, but the district felt it was important to get as many students on campuses as soon as possible, with the anticipation more students would continue to return this week.

“From my point of view, every day is precious,” Haley said. “We wanted our students back in January. We wanted our students back in March. We’re just glad they can be here today.”

The superintendent said he also wants those students who chose not to return to campus to know the district will continue to support them and that every student is entitled to a successful education.

“I’m feeling there is hope," Haley said. "I want to be very sensitive to differences of opinion. At one of our board meetings, there was talk about different sides. I would like to say we are all on the same side of keeping each other safe. “

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