What's the Plan This Fall for Your Child's School District in San Diego?

A guide to how school districts in San Diego County plan to continue learning this fall as the coronavirus pandemic rages on

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On July 17, as the coronavirus pandemic surged, California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out strict guidelines for school reopenings that would make it unlikely the vast majority of districts would have in-person classroom instruction in the fall. Newsom’s new guidelines mandate that public schools in California counties that are on a monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections cannot hold in-person classes and will have to meet strict criteria for reopening. This includes San Diego County, which was placed on the state's monitoring list at the beginning of July 2020. The state rules also include a mandate that students above 2nd grade and all staff wear masks in school.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in San Diego County, school districts must decide how to continue classes for students this fall. We’re keeping a running guide here on those plans, whether it's on-campus learning, distance learning, or hybrid learning.

Things are changing quickly, and many districts are still meeting and creating their learning plans for the fall. NBC 7 is reaching out to all 42 school districts in the county; we will update this story as we hear back.

As California’s schools work out their reopening plans, they will need to follow the state’s guidelines for safely reopening. You can read California’s entire “Stronger Together” guide to safely reopening schools here.

The California Department of Education also offers guidance and resources on distance learning here, geared toward teachers and families of students in grades K-12.

NOTE: All information below was gathered before Newsom made his announcement on strict guidelines for California's schools on July 17.

Unified School Districts

Bonsall Unified School District
Superintendent David Jones told NBC 7 that Bonsall Unified has conducted a parent survey for three learning model options, and a BUSD Reopening School Task Force is still developing its reopening plan. School is still expected to be in session Aug. 19. To read more, click here.

Borrego Springs Unified School District
On July 6, the district published its reopening plan, which includes in-person classes, the staff wearing face masks and gloves, and student health screenings each day. Read more about the plan here.

Carlsbad Unified School District
With other school districts making announcements about reopening, Carlsbad Unified told parents July 13 that it has not yet made a decision regarding its plan for the fall. An update is expected to be announced on July 22. Read more here.

Coronado Unified School District
Superintendent Karl Mueller told NBC 7 July 14 that the district was still developing a reopening plan that "will be responsive to current public health guidance." Parents can read more here.

Mountain Empire Unified School District
The district superintendent has told families and staff that school officials are still "taking this time to gather and weigh community input in order to develop a safe and thoughtful return plan." Parents are told to check with their school's principal. More information about the potential reopening plan here.

Oceanside Unified School District
On June 23, the district outlined three different options for reopening: traditional classes, a hybrid option including online and in-class learning, and an option that is exclusively virtual. The plan is laid out here. The district said on July 14 that no final decisions have been made. In the meantime, families interested in having their students do distance learning full-time are asked to fill out this form between now and July 26.

Poway Unified School District
The Poway Unified School District said on July 13 it will give families the option of in-person or virtual learning for students this fall. PUSD said the district’s reopening plan will be finalized in the coming weeks. The first day of school for Poway Unified was originally scheduled for Aug. 19, but the district changed that date to Sept. 2

Ramona Unified School District
In a letter to parents sent June 30, the district told parents it was still developing a reopening plan and that it would be issuing a survey to parents to find out what works best for them. To read more, click here.

San Diego Unified School District
San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) – one of the two largest school districts in California (along with Los Angeles Unified) – said it will not reopen campuses for in-person learning this fall. This means students will continue distance learning at home when the school year starts on Aug. 31. The district unveiled its plan for the fall on July 30, breaking down exactly what the district's distance learning option would look like for students.

The new online learning plan includes:

  • A six-hour school day with customized learning experiences for each K-12 student
  • All students will have daily, live interaction with their teachers via video conferencing
  • Custom learning experiences will be based on student needs and will include daily live, online instruction (up to three hours), independent learning (at least two hours), working with other students in small groups or participating in educator office hours (at least one hour)
  • All Elementary students will receive instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, and the arts
  • Students will receive grades to measure their progress

SDUSD said the conversations resulted in an agreement signed Thursday by the school district and San Diego Education Association. Some highlights of the agreement with educators include:

  • Teachers and non-classroom educators will continue to work a full, standard workday
  • Educators will hold office hours, organize small-group instruction and provide students with feedback on their learning
  • Educators will have added flexibility to account for the challenges of online instruction
  • Educator growth and progress will be supported

The SDUSD includes 113 elementary schools, 24 middle schools, 27 high schools, 25 charter schools, 10 alternative schools, and 4 other schools in San Diego. In all, the largest school district in San Diego County serves 121,000 students.

San Marcos Unified School District
Superintendent Carmen Garcia told NBC 7 on July 14 that the district was still developing a plan for reopening.

Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District
On June 10, the district sent a letter to parents that said it was still developing its reopening plan but may offer parents three options, including traditional in-class learning, a hybrid plan of in-class and online learning, and an option that is exclusively virtual. Read more here.

Vista Unified School District
As of June 15, the district said it was monitoring guidance from local, state and federal health departments as it continues to develop a plan for reopening. Learn more here.

Warner Unified School District
Superintendent Dave MacLeod told NBC 7 that the school board is expected to decide by July 16 whether to move ahead with a proposal that would provide parents the option of having children either attend classrooms in-person full time or participate in a 100% distance-learning plan when the school year starts Aug. 12. Parents can read more about the options here.

High School Districts

Escondido Union High School District
The district plans on resuming classes on Aug. 25. Two models were approved by the school board on July 14: Online Independent Study Via Edgenuity -- a full-time distance-learning plan -- and a 2-Day Blended Model Distance Learning Schedule, which will entail distance learning for all students on Mondays as well as two other days of the week, dependent upon which of six subgroups to which they are assigned. However, the board voted to begin the school year for both models via virtual learning only. EUHSD said online learning will continue through the district's first grading period -- Sept. 25 -- and, at that point, the district will revisit both models and decide how to move forward from there. EUHSD families can get the latest updates on the 2020-2021 school year here.

Fallbrook Union High School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the Fallbrook Union High School District and is awaiting a response. The district's website may have updates soon, too.

Grossmont Union High School District
GUHSD  is targeting a return to campuses on Aug. 10, and recently released its Roadmap for Reopening plan, which contains both a full distance-learning and blended options, with levels "of students on campus and in classrooms...set at 25%, 50% and 100%. Schools have the ability to move from level to level as needed, including to a full-distance learning model." All students would be participating in distance learning on Mondays regardless of which level the school has implemented. Following the governor’s announcement about California schools on July 17, GUHSD Superintendent Theresa Kemper sent a note to parents confirmed all schools in her district would begin the school year at Level 1, “with all students distance learning.” Kemper said GUHSD would continue preparations to eventually – when it is safe – move all schools to Level 2, with students on campus one day a week. After an evaluation of health conditions, processes, and procedures after 15-20 school days, schools could possibly move to Level 3, and so on. Kemper said the ultimate goal is to “reach Level 5, with all students on campus.”

Julian Union High School District
JUHSD released its reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year here. It includes six key elements: Good Hygiene Practices (frequent hand washing and use of sanitizer, face masks are encouraged); Health Checks (no-touch temp screenings); Welcoming Campus (mental health check-ins); Clean Environment (regular disinfection of campuses); Communication (prompt notification of staff and students if there’s exposure); Limit Sharing. JUHSD would block the schedule to reduce movement around campuses and limit class sizes to 15 to 18 students. The first day of school for this district is set for Aug. 11.

San Dieguito Union High School District
San Dieguito Superintendent Robert Haley sent a note to parents this week saying his district is still actively working on reopening plans for 2020-2021, monitoring state and county health guidelines to make safe decisions. “Here in SDUHSD, we’ve not yet made a decision about the reopening of our schools,” Haley wrote. “We are developing learning models for next year that will align with all of the possible pandemic scenarios we could find our district in, ranging from on-campus, in-class instruction, to the maximum extent possible as called for by the State of California in the current year’s budget, to full-time distance learning.” Haley said SDUHSD will offer a full-time distance learning program for students who are unable to attend on-campus instruction. Keep up on this district’s developments here.

Sweetwater Union High School District
Aug. 3 was the first day of school for the Sweetwater Union High School District. The district said at the end of July that it planned on beginning the school year with online learning. Students will have three 90-minute lessons a day, which will each include virtual interactions with teachers and that the district's online plan will be implemented until at least mid-October, regardless of whether the county remains on the state's monitoring list. District leaders will reassess conditions then to decide whether to start transitioning back to the classroom. To read more about SUHSD's first day of school, click here.

It’s the first day of school for Sweetwater Union High School Students but rather than head back to class, they’ll continue with online learning.

Elementary School Districts

Alpine Union School District
AUSD approved its Reopening Schools Plan on July 8, which includes a return to face-to-face learning in the classroom four days a week, Tuesdays through Fridays. Students will participate in distance learning on Mondays. Classes will resume on Aug. 19.

Cajon Valley Union School District
All Cajon Valley Schools will reopen to students in August. To accommodate individual family needs, students will have the option of 100% distance learning, a hybrid schedule providing two to three days a week of in-school time with the remainder under distance learning at home, or 100% in classroom learning five days a week as school capacity allows.” Classes begin Aug. 19.

Cardiff School District
The Cardiff School District sent a letter to families on July 14 saying the district is prepared to start its school year on Aug. 25 with a full return to classroom instruction that “could pivot to a staggered start hybrid model plan or a distance learning model if necessary.” The district plans to hold a special board meeting to further discuss 2020-2021 learning options and wants to finalize its plans by the end of July to give staff, students, and families time to prepare.

Chula Vista Elementary District
NBC 7 has reached out to the CVED for details on its fall learning plan.

Dehesa School District
The district sent out a parent survey in June, with replies requested by June 26. School officials have not yet announced a plan for fall.  

Del Mar Union School District
All students will be enrolled in either an in-person school at a school campus or the district’s distance learning program. All parents/guardians recently completed an enrollment confirmation survey, but they will have the option to change their enrollment confirmation at the beginning of August. The first day of school will be on Aug. 24.

Encinitas Union School District
No plan for return has yet been announced, though school officials anticipate providing one by the end of July and will communicate directly with families and staff when it's been decided upon. 

Escondido Union School District
Like most districts in San Diego County, EUSD families were asked to participate in a survey about students returning to school. The district outlined possible learning options including two on-campus learning models (two-day hybrid and four-day hybrid) and full distance learning. The options can be seen in greater detail here. The EUSD Board of Education met on July 16 and approved two hybrid learning model options: “Modified Classic” – for grades TK through 5 – that includes four half-days on campus and one day of distance learning, and the “Two-Day Hybrid” for grades 6 through 8, which consists of two full days on campus and three days of distance learning. The board also approved the district’s request to postpone the start of the school year to Aug. 25 (two weeks later than the original Aug. 11 start date). The district said this will give additional time to monitor COVID-19 stats in the region and “fully ensure that every precaution for safety and preparation measures for learning are in place.” The EUSD serves more than 15,500 students across 23 schools in Escondido. The district said that under current public health regulations and guidelines, it will not be able to accommodate all students on campus every day at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. “Our goal is to return to a full-day, five-day on-campus option for every student as soon as it is safe,” the district added. The board also approved on July 16 a "Contingency Plan B," which "calls for implementing the hybrid learning model virtually with distance learning through Sept. 25."

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
FUESD laid out its reopening plan here, which, as of July 9, includes two options: on-campus learning 5 days a week, with a modified instructional day or virtual learning 5 days a week, taught either by a teacher or parent. You can see the district’s full presentation here. The first day of school is set for Aug. 17.

Jamul-Dulzura Union School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

Julian Union School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

La Mesa Spring-Valley School District
LMSVSD Superintendent David Feliciano sent a letter to parents on July 15, saying the district is awaiting guidance from public health officials on “whether or not it is advisable to reopen our campuses in August.” Feliciano said his district has been planning simultaneously for in-person instruction, online learning and a combination of the two. “No matter what we are ultimately able to do, we will be ready,” the superintendent added. The LMSVSD plans to provide more information to families by July 22.

Lakeside Union School District
The superintendent announced July 9 that the district intends to open school on Aug. 20 "with in-person learning for all who desire to return." The school will also offer a distance-learning option to its students.

Lemon Grove School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

National School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

Rancho Santa Fe School District
Classes will resume Aug. 24. Families can select from options of voluntary distance learning or in-school home classrooms, where desks are socially-distanced, as well as socially-distanced outdoor seating and zones on campuses to keep children separated.

San Pasqual Union School District
The first day of school is set for Aug. 19, but it is unclear what instruction will look like. NBC 7 has reached out to the district for details.

San Ysidro School District
The district will reopen schools on Aug. 17 with a distance-learning program.

More than 1,500 Chromebooks have been distributed to students districtwide, and students were able to keep their chromebooks through summer in order to participate in the district’s summer reading program. This summer the district ordered an additional 3,788 chromebooks that will be made available to students who may not have a device when the new school year begins.

The district is working with the San Diego County Office of Education’s technology department to provide any necessary Internet service options to families that need access in the fall.

Santee School District
The Santee School District sent a letter to parents on July 15 saying the district planned to reopen all its schools “every day, for every child” come Aug. 19. To do this, the district said it will create social distancing in all classrooms, hire additional teachers to further reduce class size, and purchase “single-user desks” to allow for more space between students and teachers. The letter also said the district would provide individual student supplies and materials for classroom use and use other areas of campus not previously for instruction in order to space students out, including multipurpose rooms and libraries. For families who want to opt for distance learning, the district said those families must submit their request by July 31 to the district’s Distance Learning Enrollment team. The Santee School District’s “Safe at School” reopening plan was set to be finalized on July 17, however, after Newsom's announcement on July 17, the district sent another note to parents saying they would send updated information by July 23. Parents can get updates here.

Solana Beach School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

South Bay Union School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

Spencer Valley School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

Vallecitos School District
NBC 7 has reached out to the district for information about its fall reopening plan.

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