Rory Devine

If Schools Get the Green Light to Reopen, Who Goes First?

San Diego Unified School District said it will begin in-person learning with its most vulnerable elementary school students, who could go back to campuses as early as the third week of September

NBCUniversal, Inc.

If San Diego County gives schools the green light to reopen, some students in the San Diego Unified School District could go back for in-person learning as early as the third week of September. But which students go first?

"We are identifying elementary school-aged students who are homeless, foster kids, students with disabilities that require in-person services, students who we know fell below, based on their report cards last school year," SDUSD Board Vice President Richard Barrera told NBC 7 Wednesday. "We are concerned we are going to need to catch those students up."

For some parents whose students fall into this group, the return to in-person learning will be critical.

“It would be great because then they can get the services they need because as parents we can only do so much,” said Carmen Diaz whose 6-year-old son is on the spectrum with moderate to severe autism.

As parents, we can only do so much.

Carmen Diaz, Parent of Special Needs Child

Barrera said the district will move slowly to reopen schools, but the first phase will focus on vulnerable students in elementary school.

“What we’re trying to think about is who are our most vulnerable students who need to be on our campuses first, and that’s why we're excited because we’ve developed a plan with the teachers that will allow a little over 10% of students in our district about 12,000 students to start going back on campus the first month during September," Barrera said.

NBC 7 education reporter Rory Devine checked to find out if plans for in-person learning have changed, given the possibility of getting the county's permission to reopen.

Barrera said all safety measures will be followed as this first phase of students return to physical campuses.

Meanwhile, distance learning for SDUSD students begins as planned on Aug. 31.

If the county gives permission for schools to reopen, it’s up to each district, charter, and private schools to decide when and how to reopen.

Read more about potential San Diego-area school reopenings here.

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