After making plans to bring students back to campus for in-person learning in November, the San Dieguito Union High School District announced Friday it is delaying students' return until next year.
"We originally recommended a goal of expanding our access to campus for one day a week of in-class instruction for students beginning in the month of November. In order to provide a safe, stable, and sustainable return to campus, and in consideration of maintaining the integrity of our instructional model, we are moving that date to the week of January 4, 2021, for the remainder of Quarter 2. These three weeks will provide opportunities for teachers to prepare students for the end of the first semester," Superintendent Robert Haley told district families in a message sent Friday.
The district said it has created a Safe Reopening Plan for its schools and has been updating it in response to "constantly changing guidance and changing public health orders." It has even been shared with experts at UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital.
Schools will be hosting meetings with their respective communities to discuss future bell schedules when in-person learning returns. Schools will also survey parents to find out how many will want their children back on campus and develop cohorts based on the survey results.
"Guided by responsible, hopeful decision-making, as we look to Quarter 3, we will collaboratively work to develop a continued option for on-campus learning with the goal of safely educating students. Our goal continues to be the safe return to campus for all students," Haley said.
Earlier this month the district hosted a special board meeting to discuss reopening campuses.
Some of the district's leaders met inside Earl Warren Middle School and took calls from many concerned staff, parents and students.
“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.