San Diego Unified Board member Mark Powell wants special needs kids back in school immediately
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Citing ballooning COVID-19 rates and multiple cases of the illness among students in other school districts, leaders of the San Diego Unified School District announced Tuesday they are cautiously looking to Jan. 4 for a major expansion of in-person learning — depending on the course of the pandemic.
Speaking Tuesday at Gage Elementary School, the SDUSD officials said safety measures put in place over the summer have so far prevented any documented cases of COVID-19 transmission on the campuses that have reopened on a limited basis.
“Safety has been our strategy from the start,” said SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten. “The safety precautions put in place at schools like Gage and elsewhere appear to be working. So far, we have had zero documented outbreaks of COVID-19 and zero documented cases of transmission on campus, as determined by the County Office of Public Health. Exactly two weeks into Phase 1, we are encouraged.”
On Oct. 13, SDUSD entered Phase 1 of its four-tier reopening plan. The district invited back some elementary school students “who have been uniquely identified by their teachers as experiencing learning loss” for limited in-person appointments. Participation has been voluntary, by invite only and students who participate in the sessions continue to receive online learning.
Since that time, there have been about 4,000 appointments for in-person learning across 106 schools within the state’s second-largest school district, according to SDUSD officials.
The next phases would continue to be rolled out gradually, Marten said. Schools will continue increasing the number of appointments in the weeks ahead, with the goal of soon providing time slots for secondary and pre-K students.
San Diego Unified School District Board member Mark Powell does not believe the plans reopen schools quick enough, but is happy to see some plan.
Powell explained kids are struggling, and the virtual learning style is not working for many. Mark Powell believes we should “immediately” reopen schools from 6th grade through 12th for all special needs students.
Powell explained his support for reopening citing the low risk young people have from coronavirus with KUSI’s Ginger Jeffries in more detail.