Written by Julianne Foster
San Diego Unified School District students are being allowed to slowly return in the event of phase one school reopenings. On October 13, the students suffering the most from distance learning were given permission to return to classrooms.
Education administrators are targeting special education students and those falling behind in their learning abilities to be the first among those allowed back on campus, primarily in elementary schools. Teachers have been given the special task of identifying students who have fallen behind and need immediate assistance in-person. Those allowed back do not specifically include English-language learners.
Teachers have learned to adjust the classroom settings to keep students apart appropriately and assist them in ensuring that they’re getting quality education while staying safe. Some methods of keeping students safe include enforcing social distancing everywhere on campus and scheduling half-days to prevent students from being close together for long periods of time. They have also limited classrooms capacities to 20 percent.
Educational leaders are attempting to navigate the allowance of students returning to the classroom without sparking COVID-19 outbreaks, which would presumably shut down schools again. Due to SDUSD leaders collaborating with UC San Diego, the county has considerably stricter rules for reopening schools than the state’s standards.
Parents are still disappointed with their efforts and frustrated with the restrictive guidelines for reopening. Those a part of the “Reopen SDUSD” group claimed the current reopening plan was “riddled with vague language that is a far cry from a comprehensive plan that families have been asking for.”
The county is taking very small steps forward in the reopening process, but flexibility for students must be a priority as they risk falling further behind and the parents are burdened with teaching their children while dealing with other responsibilities made more difficult by the pandemic.