School District with Pending Reopening Waiver Details Safety Plan

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So far, at least 80 San Diego schools and school districts have applied for waivers that, if granted, would reopen Kindergarten to 6th-grade classrooms to students.

Among them is the Del Mar Union School District, which applied for a waiver to reopen its eight campuses last Thursday.

"If the waiver is approved then we have identified September 8th that we would have children back in our schools," District Superintendent Holly McClurg said.

Her district's safe reopening plan calls for easily accessed hand washing stations, an 18-student class limit, detailed travel paths, staggered starts to the school day, and even adjusted lunch times to help keep students distanced.

Parents will have the choice to send their kids back to school or keep them home and participate via distance learning. McClung says district parents are split around 70-30 in favor of sending their kids back to school.

Parent Adam Fischer, whose daughter is a 5th grader at Ocean Air Elementary, chose virtual learning in part because of his faith in district staff.

"I am very encouraged that it will be a very high-quality program, that the students are going to do great," Fischer said.

Fischer added that he and some parents felt left out of the decision to file for a waiver, and said he still isn't comfortable despite San Diego County's improving metrics.

"I would like to see the transmission rates at the level we have seen in other countries, or have effective vaccines, effective treatments," he said.

All 4,000 students in the district will start with distance learning August 24. Only those parents that chose the option will send their kids to school if the waiver is granted.

McClung said if the district is granted the waiver, in-class learning could continue even if San Diego County was put back on the watch list. A health emergency like an outbreak at one of the schools could change that, she said.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the waivers would apply to students from Kindergarten to 12th grade. That has since been corrected.

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