It’s been a bumpy start to the school year at Orange Glen High School. Parents and teachers tell NBC 7 a dozen students were sent home to quarantine and a football scrimmage was canceled because of COVID-19 exposure.
The Escondido Union High School District confirmed a football player tested positive for COVID-19, and that a scrimmage was canceled because several football players were identified as possible contacts.
The district did not answer NBC 7's questions about how many students and teachers tested positive for the coronavirus, but the president of the Escondido Teachers Union said there is a growing number of cases, not just at Orange Glen, but at several other high schools in the district.
“I know that there are confirmed cases in our district at multiple sites,” said Anna Cady. Cady, who is also a teacher at Escondido High School places some of the blame on what she said was the district’s refusal to cut class size.
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“Our district received $29 million in state funding for COVID-related issues,” Cady said. “The teachers’ association felt like it was extremely important to reduce class size heading into the start of this school year to avoid exactly what we’re seeing.”
A district spokesperson told NBC 7 that class size at Orange Glen was reduced after the district hired more teachers and staff. The ratio now is 28 to 1, with the exception of PE and band classes, she said.
NBC 7 spoke to parents as they waited for their teens outside Orange Glen Friday afternoon. They were concerned, but calm.
“If we use all the precautions, I think we can be safe,” said Angelica Padilla, the mother of a freshman boy. She said her son has been vaccinated and is careful to always wear a mask and wash his hands.
Blanca Acosta said she’s worried her daughter’s school is headed for another shut-down. “What are we waiting for? It to get worse?”
Laura Armenta said the 2020-21 school year was terrible for the kids, saying they learn better when they’re on campus. She offered this advice to other parents: “If you know your kids are sick don’t send them to school, so the other kids could have the opportunity to keep on coming to school.”
The Escondido Union High School District sent NBC 7 the following statement:
“As a district, we continue to track positive COVID-19 cases on our campuses. Those are updated weekly and accessible on our dashboard, which is available here... Safety of students and staff remains at the forefront of all our on-campus learning plans. As a district, we are participating in a free rapid antigen testing program, which reduces the number of close contact students who need to be quarantined. This is the same type of testing that was administered to our student-athletes across our district as a condition of athletic eligibility last spring.
Students will be allowed to return to class with a negative test result, minimizing disruptions to their on-campus learning. The use of seating charts by teachers is emphasized so that close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases can easily be identified. A more comprehensive review of protocols the district is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on school campuses can be found in our Return to Campus guide.
…We remain committed to the safety and well-being of our EUHSD school community and appreciate the collective efforts of all stakeholders to do the same."