SDUSD Board President Richard Barrera says no guarantee schools actually resume on April 12
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego Unified School District leaders announced Tuesday that they have set a targeted date of April 12 to allow students of all grade levels to return to the classroom — provided the county drops into the red tier of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system — nearly a year after the district closed its schools due to the pandemic.
Under the plan, teachers — who will have the choice to be vaccinated — will return to classrooms a week before then, on April 5. The plan is a hybrid model and students will have the option to continue learning from home. COVID-19 safety protocols will continue to be observed on campuses indefinitely, officials said.
Board of Education President Richard Barrera said the plan is to bring all grade levels back after spring break, provided the vaccination schedule holds up and case rates continue to decrease. As of Tuesday, San Diego County had an adjusted case rate of 15 per 100,000 people — in the state’s purple tier of its four-tiered reopening plan.
To fall in the required red tier, the county must report fewer than seven cases per 100,000 people. It’s far from guaranteed to be in that metric by April, but the case rate has declined precipitously in recent weeks. As recently as the first week of February, the county’s rate was nearly 50 cases per 100,000.
Barrera joined KUSI’s Paul Rudy on Good Morning San Diego to discuss the reopening plan in more detail, but confirmed that target date is not a guarantee.
To start the interview, KUSI’s Paul Rudy got right to it and asked, “Can you say that April 12th is a firm date? Regardless of the governor’s tier, regardless of teacher vaccinations, regardless of additional funding, on the 12th, teachers are going to be back in school. Can you say that today?”
Barrera answered saying, “no.”
He went on to explain that in order for in-person classes to resume on the target date, San Diego County must move out of the Purple Tier and teachers AND staff need to be vaccinated.
KUSI’s Paul Rudy pointed out that grocery workers and many other industries have returned to work without vaccinations, asking why the teachers union should be different?
Barrera responded saying, “I think people in our community overwhelming support the idea that we should make vaccinations available to our educators. By the way, I think the people overwhelmingly support that we should get vaccinations to the grocery workers and other essential workers as well.”
KUSI followed up by asking Supervisor Nathan Fletcher if he agrees with the demands of the teachers union, but Fletcher refused to comment.
It is worth noting that not even hospitals are mandating that 100% of staff get vaccinated.
Regarding the return of outdoor youth sports, Barrera would not confirm if San Diego Unified facilities would be available for youth athletes, since sports will resume before kids are back in the class. Instead, Barrera said they will have to follow the public health guidelines.