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POWAY, Calif. – The Poway Unified School District plans to push back the scheduled reopening of its classrooms as a post-winter break surge in COVID-19 cases has left them short-staffed.

In a letter to families Monday, the district said it recorded more than 70 COVID-19 student and staff-related infections in the first week of January. The result has left the district unable to staff critical roles, including teachers, program aides and custodians, among others, officials said. Students were slated to return to classrooms in-person Jan. 19 in a plan approved by the district’s board last month.

District leaders will recommend to its board Thursday a new plan to reopen elementary schools, special education classes and small groups at middle and high schools on Feb. 1. Under the plan, middle and high school campuses would be set to reopen Feb. 17.

Only full-day preschool classes, ESS programs and additional supports will return Jan. 19.

“We know there have been many changes and pivots to our reopening plans, and we appreciate you pivoting with us,” the district said. “Please know these changes are not due to lack of planning or effort, but rather the constantly changing public health conditions and safety guidelines that are beyond our control.”

Despite classes being suspended on campus, free meals are being offered to students to pick up from school sites. They will be available from 7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Meal sites include:

  • Del Norte High School
  • Los Penasquitos Elementary School
  • Meadowbrook Middle School
  • Midland Elementary School
  • Mt. Carmel High School
  • Pomerado Elementary School
  • Poway High School
  • Rancho Bernardo High School
  • Turtleback Elementary School
  • Twin Peaks Middle School
  • Valley Elementary School
  • Westview High School