A small number of students who are part of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) will return to class Tuesday for in-person learning after months of closures.
Special education students and those who have faced significant challenges while distance learning will be invited to class, the school district announced. Those students have been identified by their teachers and were offered appointments for in-person sessions.
Their participation in at-school learning will be voluntary and students who do decide to attend in-person learning sessions will continue to receive online learning, as well.
What some parents have to say about getting their kids back in class.
At Lafayette Elementary School, 25 out of 27 students who were asked to return to in-person instruction accepted, according to Principal Anne McCarty. The majority of Lafayette students who returned are part of a deaf and hard of hearing program the school offers.
"Some students are here one day a week for a couple hours," McCarty explained. "We have some students that need to be here two hours a day, Monday through Fridays. So, it’s really based on student need.”
McCarty said she and her staff understand it's been a challenging time for both students and parents, and the school has tried its best to cater to everyone's needs.
"We certainly understand and our parents have been partners with us here at Lafayette to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to support students academically, but really what we’re seeing a lot of struggle with is the social-emotional aspect," she said. "Parents are having to be the teachers and work and do everything, so we’re trying to help out as much as possible.”
The partial reopening marks SDUSD's initial phase in getting children back to school. It said that although Phase One is underway, it is unclear when it will roll out other phases of its reopening plan, leaving some parents frustrated.
Parents and guardians in the "Reopen SDUSD" group said the district's current Phase One reopening plan was "riddled with vague language that is a far cry from a comprehensive plan that families have been asking for."
The group started a petition last month urging district officials to create and share a definitive reopening plan for its schools. Reopen SDUSD also scheduled a rally for 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Education Center of the district's office.
SDUSD said it is counting on guidance from "scientific experts and medical researchers from the University of California San Diego" to determine when it will move forward in its reopening plan.
Based on the school district's back-to-school status the district is now in a reopening phase. This will require a small number of students and staff per room, meaning a less than 20% capacity. The school days will be reduced to half days to avoid groups eating at schools or have students eat outdoors but six feet apart.
The district released a back to school guide so parents can see the precautions the district is taking during the pandemic.