3 More VUSD Campuses Closed Temporarily Due to Positive Coronavirus Cases

District campuses reopened Oct. 20 to students who opted for in-person learning and there have already been 14 confirmed cases among on-campus students and staff

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Three more Vista Unified School District campuses are closing to students temporarily due to coronavirus cases among students and staff, and the district's case total has more than doubled since the last update.

The district announced Friday that Vista High School, Madison Middle School and Roosevelt Middle School will pivot to Vista Virtual, the district's distance learning model, for two weeks beginning Monday. The campuses are expected to reopen for in-person learning Nov. 12, according to the district.

Mission Vista High School already shifted to virtual learning Thursday after two positive cases were confirmed there.

On Tuesday, the district voted to activate Vista Secondary Threshold, a series of school closure protocols that will see campuses close for at least two weeks if certain coronavirus case criteria are triggered.

  • If there are two or more positive student or staff cases at a school, the entire campus will close for two weeks and students will shift to the "Vista Virtual" (distance learning) model.
  • If there are three secondary schools (middle school, high school, or a combo campus) with at least one positive student or staff case, each campus will close for two weeks and students will shift to Vista Virtual.
  • If the county shifts to Purple Tier (Tier 4) while any school site is in a two-week closure, students will stay in Vista Virtual until the county moves out of Purple Tier.

The move came a week after district campuses reopened to students who opted for in-person learning, which was about half of all district students.

While campuses are closed temporarily to students, staff who haven't been told to quarantine will be working from campus, the district said.

As of Wednesday when there were just six cases confirmed in the district, more than 400 students and nearly two dozen staff had been forced into 14-day quarantine. The district said they were dealing with a teacher shortage because so many staffers were suddenly unable to work, and also because fewer substitute teachers are willing to take jobs.

On Friday, the district announced their case total had jumped to 14 -- 13 students and one staff member -- including three at the high school level, two at the continuation school level, two at the middle school level, and seven at the elementary school level.

VUSD has yet to say how many more students or staff have been told to quarantine as a result of the most recent cases.

Alamosa Park Elementary School1
Beaumont Elementary School2
Foothill Oak Elementary School1
Hannalei Elementary School1
Mission Meadows Elementary School1
Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts1
Madison Middle School1
Roosevelt Middle School1
Alta Vista High School2
Mission Vista High School2
Vista High School1
Vista Unified School District's COVID-19 dashboard

The district said it has come up with a four-layer testing framework, but has yet to implement it at every school.

Layer 1 - We have implemented a mandatory testing rotation for all teachers and staff who work on every school campus in the district. It is our goal to have employees tested every 45 days.

Layer 2 - We have developed a partnership with the Vista Community Clinic to expand mobile testing at schools throughout the district. This testing is available to parents, students, teachers, and staff.

Layer 3 - We have joined the Safer at School Early Alert pilot that the University of California at San Diego is leading countywide to design a system of non-invasive COVID-19 testing of wastewater and surface particles for signs of the virus. This study includes voluntary testing of students and staff weekly.

Layer 4 - We are in the final stages of partnering with the San Diego Health and Human Services Department and the City of Vista to open a high volume COVID-19 testing center in Vista for all residents, students, and staff members. The center will be open seven days a week and provide up to 800 tests a day.

NBC 7’s Audra Stafford speaks with some North County parents after Mission Vista High School announced it will temporarily close do to a couple of COVID-19 positive results.

The district’s in-person teaching model has come under criticism from the teacher’s union, whose president said social distancing protocols are difficult to follow because classrooms are too crowded.

“It’s such a disruptive system for kids to go under quarantine, come back in, go under quarantine, come back in. How can we bring down the anxiety of our community when there’s such a disruption of student learning,” said Keri Avila, president of the Vista Teachers Association.

Of school districts that have reopened, some are disclosing the number of active cases online. Vista Unified is not the only district that has reported positive cases among on-campus students and staff. It is, however the only district that has temporarily closed schools in response to cases.

One Vista Unified School District high school will shut down after two students tested positive for the coronavirus. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has details.
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