Parents of San Diego Unified students demand plan for reopening schools

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SAN DIEGO – Families and students from the San Diego Unified School District Tuesday rallied outside of the district’s offices in a plea to administrators to move forward with reopening.

Families and students from the San Diego Unified School District Tuesday rallied outside of the district’s offices in a plea to administrators to move forward with reopening.

Dozens of attendees held signs and chanted that “Schools are essential” in a rally organized by a parent group called Reopen SDUSD. The group has pushed the state’s second-largest district — which began its year Aug. 31 in an entirely online format — for a plan to reopen schools with options for in-person learning for students.

Gina Smith, co-founder of Reopen SDUSD, argued Tuesday that the district has been “silent” while other districts in the area are charting courses toward reopening.

She said distance learning has proven difficult for her second-grader.

“I work two jobs so managing work and school life is very challenging,” Smith said. “He is losing interest in his classes and sitting in front of a screen. He’s distracted and losing motivation day by day.”

Several local school districts have reopened or otherwise announced plans for a return to in-person learning. San Diego Unified leaders have asserted the district is following a “more stringent set of health and safety standards” than others being used throughout the county.

In a statement, the district touted plans announced last month “to begin gradually reopening for small groups of students with the greatest needs as early as late September.”

“In the meantime, we have spent some $45 million in necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are making other accommodations that will be required for a physical reopening,” the district’s statement said.

Some parents still say they feel left in the dark about San Diego Unified’s reopening plans.

“They didn’t do anything,” parent Camo Dietz said. “Like no one has set foot in the schools. No one has set foot in this building. No one has created any kind of barriers, you know getting masks organized, getting donations for sanitation purposes of the classroom — they didn’t do anything.”

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