State unveils interactive map as some parents raise concerns about school reopenings

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SAN DIEGO — Some parents and teachers are raising concerns about students’ return to classrooms after the CDC released a new roadmap for reopening schools.

The guidelines came the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new interactive map for parents to monitor the status of school districts, charter schools and private academies across the state.

“I certainly don’t trust the parents right now who are speaking loudly about us opening schools for our children to go back,” Fresno Unified School District parent Marisela Velasquez said during a virtual meeting Friday. “Let me be clear, they don’t speak for me, and they don’t speak for my community. I won’t be sending my kids back until it is safe.”

Her concern was echoed by San Diego parent Dr. Lisa Delano-Wood. The UC San Diego professional said she’s concerned the health of children and teachers was put to the side as the pandemic was politicized.

“It’s weird to me to hear Newsom say in November, ‘Our case rates are too high. We’ve got to get teachers vaccinated and cannot open schools,'” Delano-Wood said. “Now, the case rates are far higher than they were then, and the tune has very much changed.”

FOX 5 has covered a number of rallies by parents who are pushing to get students back into classrooms, citing concerns about prolonged online learning.

A San Diego Unified School District parent said during Friday’s meeting that she thinks teachers should be praised for the hard work they’ve done during distance learning, rather than pressured to go back to campus.

“A majority of students are succeeding academically during online learning, and so we really need to make sure our focus is distance learning, rather than focusing so much on implementing or trying to put out arbitrary dates,” Dawnial Carlock-Stewart said.

The meeting with the California Teachers Association and Californians for a Safe Reopening came as the CDC revealed new guidelines for returning to on-campus learning. Delano-Wood said she doesn’t feel the expectations are realistic.

“Kids can’t effectively stay masked, they cohort. They get close together. We know that this virus really floats in the air like smoke,” she said.

Newsom’s 2021-2022 school budget includes historic levels of funding for schools to respond to the pandemic.

The state says its new interactive map serves as a snapshot of school reopenings with key data, including outbreak information, added to the map every two weeks.

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