2 Vista Unified high schools delay reopening after students attend Halloween parties

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VISTA, Calif. – Vista Unified School District officials are postponing the in-person reopening of two high schools after reports of hundreds of students attending Halloween house parties last weekend.

In a letter to families Thursday, district leaders said two parties were confirmed to have occurred over the Halloween weekend involving some 200 students, primarily from Mission Vista High School and Vista High School. Students in attendance were not practicing social distancing and not all were wearing masks at the gathering, according to the district.

The district now plans to postpone the resumption of in-person classes to Nov. 16, Superintendent Matt Doyle said.

“Public health officials have expressly warned the public about the dangers of the COVID-19 virus spreading among the attendees at large gatherings like house parties,” Doyle said.

In October, Vista Unified became one of the first local districts to fully reopen its campuses rather than adopting more of a hybrid model of at-home and in-person learning as some districts have.

The district has reported a total of 20 positive COVID-19 cases, including two apiece between Vista and Mission Vista, since campuses reopened Oct. 20.

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, Mission Vista had been scheduled to resume in-person learning Nov. 9. Vista was slated to return Nov. 12. Students at Rancho Minerva Middle School also are scheduled to return Nov. 12 after the district this week moved the school back to virtual learning following two positive tests.

“We continue to follow our decision tree and guide, and have notified and quarantined all of the students and staff who may have come into contact with the individuals,” Doyle said.

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