‘COVID Impact Days' Triggered by Short Staff Could Keep Students at Home With Little Notice, SDUSD Says

The San Diego Unified School District said campus closures triggered by the latest COVID-19 surge would happen on a school-by-school basis, and parents may not be notified until the day of

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The San Diego Unified School District is giving parents a heads-up: Some schools could close for a day or longer if the current staffing shortage gets worse.

One thing parents won't see, the district says, is a district-wide shutdown that would send all students back to distance learning. Rather, any closures will happen on a school-by-school, day-by-day-basis. If too many teachers and staff get sick, to the point where a school could not cover students’ needs, the principal would get in touch with the district to advise that the school may have to close for the day.

“We are labeling it a COVID Impact Day and students would be sent home," SDUSD board trustee Richard Barrera said, looking ahead the next two or three weeks during the current COVID-19 case surge. Students could be home for a day, or longer, depending on when the level of staffing improves. “We’re hoping we don't reach that point, but we wanted to be very clear with parents that it is a possibility."

A last-minute day off of school could put parents in a tight spot.

“I would be really upset if I found out at the last minute I had to find someone to take care of my kids, that would be very upsetting,” parent Rhona Page said.

“It would be nice to have more of a notice for parents because it’s such an inconvenience to parents, like we have to work," Taylor Culver added.

Barrera said schools will not know until the morning of what staffing is like on a given day. He acknowledged it will be difficult on families if it comes to this, but Barrera said families will have to adjust like they do when there is a fire in the community or an excessive heat day.

“We believe we’re in a situation where it’s temporary, the surge that we’re facing, and that ... the numbers will start to get better, and we’ll get back to normal," he said.

Students would not do online learning during a COVID Impact Day, it would be a non- instructional day and could be made up later.

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