coronavirus pandemic

Carlsbad Unified Applies for Waiver to Get Back to In-Person Learning

It could mean students in middle and high schools could go back for in-person learning sooner rather than later

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There is hopeful news for some parents who want their middle and high school students to be able to go back to campus for in-person instruction. Students in some districts might be able to go back, even though San Diego County remains in the purple tier.

The Carlsbad Unified School District has filed a letter of intent to apply for a waiver from the state that could allow reopening middle and high schools before the county moves into the red tier.

Scott Davison is with the Parent Association of North County San Diego, a group advocating for schools to reopen, said hopes are high, even though those hopes have been dashed before.

Here is what happened.

The state guidelines said if a district had reopened while the county was in the red tier it could expand its reopening even if the county had moved to the purple tier, the most restrictive tier. The thinking was those schools that had reopened while the rates were relatively low had practiced safety measures.

Some districts thought they technically met the criteria since some had reopened in small phases. Then, on January 14, new guidelines clarified the definition of reopening, and some districts had to postpone their planned reopenings.

"That's what this waiver has done,” said Davison. “It’s gone back and admitted that changing the definition was not the best idea and forced schools to close that were in the process of safely reopening and had demonstrated they could reopen.”

Davison said he is hoping the waiver does not get caught up in red tape, and the district could get the go-ahead in the next week or two.

San Marcos Unified has also applied for the waiver. San Dieguito Union School District says it is looking into applying for the waiver.

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