Teachers Union Sues San Dieguito Union High School District Over Reopening Plan

Students protested outside Earl Warren Middle School, where the board met in a closed session on Tuesday

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The San Dieguito Union High School District is being sued by its own teachers, whose union is against the district's new reopening plan.

Last week the school board voted to partially reopen schools Jan. 4, right after winter break. Then, on Jan. 27, when the third quarter begins, the plan is to expand opening schools to five days a week for those students who want to go back for in-person instruction.

Parent Jason Barry is among those who have been fighting for schools to reopen and was happy about the board’s 3-2 decision.  

“That was relief; it was a triumph,” Barry said, “but very quickly it became, 'What shoe is going to drop now?' There always seems to be some stumbling block, some reason this has not been accomplished, and there always seems to be something else.”

That something else came Friday when the teacher’s union sued the district. The union maintains that state law forbids schools from reopening if they had not already reopened before the county moved into the most-restrictive purple tier.

Those who want schools to reopen, however, argue that the district can reopen under the purple tier because the campuses had reopened for the most vulnerable students prior to the county's shift back to the purple tier.

Parent Heather Dugdale said it is irresponsible to reopen schools under the purple tier, adding that teachers were offered little to no choice in the matter. 

“I think those kids are not going to go back to school, because there are going to be too many teachers out on leave, and they're not going to be able to staff because they have not been compassionate," said Dugdale, who believes that substitute teachers will be hard to come by.

Dugdale said the issue has deeply divided the community and that she hopes there can be a healing solution before January 4.

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