La Mesa-Spring Valley district postpones reopening amid virus concerns

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LA MESA, Calif. — Students in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District will remain away from campuses for at least another six weeks after district leaders this week postponed its modified reopening amid concerns of a virus surge in the county.

The decision comes after county public health officials indicated this week that the county might drop back into the state’s most restrictive reopening tier due to a rise in cases, Superintendent David Feliciano said. Before the move, students were planning to return to the classroom twice a week in a hybrid learning model on Oct. 12.

Now, they’ll have to wait until at least Nov. 30, the start of the district’s second trimester.

“Hearing that the case rate had risen to the level that it had and that the county would likely be placed in the purple tier, we decided to go ahead and make the decision to postpone,” Feliciano said.

Feliciano also cited concerns over the spike in cases at nearby San Diego State University. Some SDSU students worked within the district’s afterschool program, he said.

As of Friday, the university had reported 753 confirmed cases and 32 probable cases among students living on and off campus.

“La Mesa is very much a part of the SDSU community and visa versa,” Feliciano said.

As a result, the deadline for parents to choose either the hybrid or fully virtual option for their students has been extended. The district will reopen the “Learning Options Survey” a few weeks before the proposed reopening date in November.

Robyn Kettering, a grandparent of four students in the district, said her family opted to send her youngest grandchild to a private school rather than continue with distance learning.

“It’s just a horrible situation,” Kettering said. “It’s forcing a lot of parents who work to have to pay someone to watch their children while they sit in front of a screen. And little ones like this, they can’t sit that long.”

Felicano, a father of four himself, said he has experienced the difficulties of distance learning.

“I just want to reassure our parents that our goal is absolutely to get students back on campus, but we want to do it in a stable way,” he said. “That’s the reason for pressing pause.”

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