20,000 Grossmont Union High School students return to school Tuesday


SAN DIEGO — Tuesday is the first day of school for 20,000 students in the Grossmont Union High School District.

The district’s superintendent Theresa Kemper joined FOX 5 Monday morning to talk about what students and teachers should expect when fall semester begins. Once again this year, the focus is on safety and stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

“One big lesson we learned last year is that students learn best from their teachers in face-to-face interaction,” Kemper said.

The district first welcomed back students last September.

“I think we have shown we can have students back in person safely,” Kemper said. “Students will all be wearing masks when they’re indoors and we’ll continue with the cleaning protocols that we instituted last year.”

Teachers and staff will also wear masks inside. The mandate has seen some pushback from parents and Kemper said the district offers an alternative for families who have concerns.

“If they would like another option, they can choose to put students in an independent study program,” Kemper said. “It’s the traditional independent study program where students work independently but check in with teachers. It will not look like the hybrid learning and distance learning that we had in place last year.”

With COVID-19 cases increasing again in San Diego County, FOX 5 asked Kemper how this back-to-school season differs from the beginning of last year.

“I believe the vaccinations has made a difference. We’re a high school district and all high school students now have the option to be vaccinated as well. It’s the masking that allows us to be back without following the stricter distance guidelines that we had last year so we’re happy to accommodate in order to get students back.”

If there is an outbreak on campus, Kemper said the protocol is the same as last year: the student who tests positive is sent into quarantine along with close contacts.

“We found that school goes on. We had very few cases last year and so, at this point, we’re not concerned because we do follow safety protocols and recognize, and our parents recognize too, how important it is to get students back in school.”

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