Students and teachers from the Vista Unified School District made a last-ditch effort Thursday night to try and postpone next week’s campus reopening, citing safety concerns with the district’s plan.
A group of teachers within the district gathered earlier this week to protest the plan, which was supposed to be finalized by a vote at Thursday’s meeting.
Their concerns, which were echoed by several parents who joined the meeting physically and virtually, centered around physical distancing on campus, which they say will be impossible to achieve due to class size.
the district superintendent admitted as much in a newsletter, saying that six feet of social distancing will not happen because classrooms will have the same number of students as they did during the normal school year.
“All we are asking is slow it down a little bit, especially for middle and high school teachers, that are going to oversee a 190 or 165 students a day,” one participant said.
Half of the students in the district chose to stay with virtual learning, but the other half opted for in-person instruction called "Vista Classic.”
Parents and the teachers union are also calling for more PPE, learning pods and staggered scheduling.
“Some of our teachers are going to have 39 kids in a room with, like, two aides in rooms that don’t have ventilation or windows that open,” one teacher said.
Some felt the plan didn’t pay enough respect to the seriousness of the coronavirus.
"It does exist. My sister and father in law passed away from COVID,” another participant pleaded.
According to the district's plan posted on its website, there will be enhanced sanitation, additional handwashing stations, specific entrances and exits, and students and staff will be required to wear masks.
Not everyone at Thursday night's meeting was against reopening.
"She hands down wants Vista Classic, even knowing that she’s going to have to wear a mask all day long,” one parent said.
"Please stay true to all the thousands of students that rely on vista classic... for their wellbeing and the ability to put food on the table and have a roof over their head,’ another asked.
It's unclear if any changes were made to the reopening plan. The public comment portion of the meeting was still going on by 11:30 p.m.
The district board was set vote for one of several options:
- Option 1: All schools return Oct. 20
- Option 2: Elementary and middle schools only
- Option 3: Elementary schools only
- Option 4: Create a new plan
NBC 7 reached out to the district for comment and has not heard back.