3 North County school districts’ reopening plans denied by state

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POWAY, Calif. — Poway Unified School District, Carlsbad Unified School District and San Dieguito Union High School District announced Sunday that their applications to expand in-person learning were denied by the California Department of Public Health.

Each district’s superintendent released a statement Sunday night about the decision, noting that their applications had the support of Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer. Each superintendent said they spoke with Dr. Naomi Bardach, leader of the state’s Safe Schools For All Team, to appeal the decision but she was “unwilling to change the ruling.”

Poway Unified superintendent Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps told FOX 5 her district received a template letter addressed to Carlsbad Unified’s superintendent followed by an email acknowledging it was wrongly addressed. She said the same letter was received by the other North County districts that were denied.

In an email to families, Kim-Phelps said the request to reopen the district’s middle and high schools was denied because it involves moving the students from class to class instead of staying with the same group all day. She said the district could reopen by the middle of next week if the county moves into the less-restrictive red tier by March 16.

San Dieguito Union High School District superintendent Robert Haley said his district is standing by its decision to have some students report to school Monday.

“We want everyone to know we stand by our decision to have those students who were assigned to come to school tomorrow to do so,” Haley said in a statement on the district’s website. “We are reviewing our options and will have an update for families and staff during the day on Monday.”

Carlsbad Unified School District superintendent Dr. Ben Churchill said his district is also reviewing its options and expects to have an update Monday.

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