California Governor Gavin Newsom is talking about plans for gradually opening society. What could that mean for schools that have been closed for weeks?
Many people thought schools would open at least by September, the start of the next school year. Maybe. Maybe not.
“We don’t know if we’re going to be able to be fully open in September,” said San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Richard Barrera. “But we have to plan as if that opening might be gradual.”
Barrera said that might mean schools would not look like they did before they were closed in early March.
To comply with social distancing, for example, the district might consider staggering the times and days students go to school. In high schools, students studying the same courses could be put together, and teachers, instead of students, would move from classroom to classroom. “All of these are potential ideas that we’re going to need to consider,” said Barrera.
He also said one consideration would be to prioritize which students might come back to the schools first, like students in special education or those with disabilities, or those who are homeless. They need the support that is difficult to get with distance learning. Barrera said the health crisis continues to change, but this is definite.
“We would never allow any student or staff into the schools, without having the proper testing to know who is vulnerable to the virus.," he said.
Barrera said all of this is based on what is known today about the virus. That could change. If it’s for the better, Barrera said schools could open to a limited number of student and staff even before September.
He said the district will adjust and readjust as the situation requires. For now, it will work on a plan.