San Diego

SDUSD Working With UCSD Scientists to Reopen Schools Safely

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The San Diego Unified School District has tapped a team of scientists at UC San Diego for guidance in their mission to reopen campuses and keep students safe once they're back at school.

It is up to each district to come with plans to reopen their schools, and while there are guidelines from public health officials at the federal, state and local levels, they are not all “useful” given what is needed for a particular school, according to SDUSD School Board Vice President Richard Barrera.

The district reached out to UC San Diego to provide a panel of scientists the district could bounce ideas off. 

“We can bring them our plan, what we want to do at schools, and get their feedback about what we need to alter those plans to make sure they are safe,” said Barrera.

The district will make plans on a school-by-school basis. It will consider how much social distancing is needed, given the size of the school; whether students and teachers need to wear masks all day, given the age of the students; and how to transport students safely in buses, given the public health guideline is for buses to be a quarter filled.

The district is also looking to the scientists for advice on community spread.

“What are these key factors we need to be clear about in order to open, and then what are the thresholds where if there is enough positive tests at a particular school that we may need to shut down again," Barrera said.

Schools are scheduled to reopen in less than two months. If people don’t do their part to flatten the curve then schools may not be able to re-open, Barrera warned.

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