San Diego Unified to resume in-person learning for some students

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Unified School District plans to bring back small groups of its most “vulnerable” students for in-person learning starting Oct. 13, a move that will mark phase one of its reopening.

SDUSD Board Vice President Richard Barrera says the groups will include homeless students or those with special needs. Next week, teachers will talk to families about whether their child qualifies for the appointment-based learning sessions. About 12,000 out of the district’s 100,000 students will get to participate.

Last week, parents protested outside the district headquarters, demanding that schools fully reopen. Gina Smith with the group “Reopen SDUSD” was one of them.

“I did just hear the news but I think it’s interesting that we continue to learn information about the reopening through the media and directly from the board but it sounds like there is some progress,” Smith said.

“That’s a very limited basis,” Smith continued. “That just includes a fraction of our students who are essentially failing so we just want to have clear communication and transparency as to what the plan is.”

But others say remaining closed during the pandemic is the right move.

“Everyone’s getting sick and just sending them away, it’s only going to bring it back to you at the house ‘cause you never know someone could be sick at school,” said resident Keanna Jones. “Your kid could contract it and then they can bring it home to you.”

The district is spending more than $30 million on supplies such as personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and shields for offices in an effort to eventually reopen safely.

“Our goal is to hear some communication as to what their plans are, even if they were to communicate the beginning of next year, just so we can have some timeline in mind and we can plan according to that timeline,” Smith said.

Barrera says phase two of reopening would depend on how well phase one goes, but hopes to have phase two started in November.

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