Late Wednesday afternoon the San Dieguito Union High School District hosted a special board meeting about reopening their campuses.
Their agenda discussed their memorandum of understanding with the California School Employees Association (CSEA), the approval of a side letter of agreement with San Dieguito faculty association and the consideration of adoption of a resolution regarding the reopening of schools consistent with the San Diego County Public Health order for the 2020-2021 academic year. The agenda items were followed by virtual public comment.
Some of the district's leaders met inside Earl Warren Middle School and took calls from many concerned staff, parents and students. During public comment, many of the sentiments centered around the concerns for reopening on-campus learning.
“Like all parents I want every child to be back in class and teachers want the same thing,” said Heather Dugdale. “What I'm most worried about right now is we're going to much too fast.”
Dugdale was among the parents who called in for public comment. She spoke to NBC 7 prior to the meeting and explained why she feels the district needs to slow down its approach and listen to those who don't want to rush back into in-person learning.
“I have very big concerns that there is false hope being created by those who don't actually work on the ground every day with our kids,” said Dugdale. “Our teachers are screaming from the rooftops what they're telling you isn't right, what you're doing isn’t and they're trying and they're not being heard.”
In late August the San Dieguito Union High School District started school online following their distance learning model. Since then the district has been working to come up with a plan for bringing students back to campus. During the meeting district officials said the majority of their staff has returned on campus.
Dugdale is a parent to two Torrey Pines High School students. She said everyone can agree on wanting class to be back in person, however, the problem is when and how. She said a stable plan that won't result in a back and forth of reopening and closing is what the district should strive for.
Dugdale also said she’s worried for teachers as they navigate teaching online and in-person, and determining how they can do both at the same time.
“Their jobs are educating and they need to focus on educating kids and be able to do that feeling safe and cared for and supported,” she said. “They don't feel safe and cared for and supported by the district.”
In response to community concerns the district earlier in October expanded their reopening committee to include parents and students as well.