Amid spiking coronavirus cases, San Diego Unified School District campuses will remain closed when classes resume next month, Superintendent Cindy Marten said Monday, defying President Donald Trump’s demand that students return to in-person instruction.
The SDUSD on Monday issued a joint statement with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which also announced it will start the school year with online-only courses. In the statement, the districts acknowledged that schools have successfully reopened in some parts of the world, but said the conditions are different locally.
“One fact is clear — those countries that have managed to safely reopen schools have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing available. California has neither,” according to the statement. “The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control.”
The districts said planning will continue for an eventual return to in- person classes, but no timeline was provided. In the meantime, teachers will be given “expanded training in online education,” and students will receive training “to become better online learners.”
SDUSD will begin remote course work as scheduled on Aug. 31, LAUSD on Aug. 18. The school districts will continue to provide free meals for students at the current distribution stations.
Trump has been adamant that school campuses should reopen in the fall, even hinting that the federal government might withhold funding from jurisdictions that fail to return to in-person instruction.
The statement puts the burden of closed schools on the Trump Administration’s handling of the pandemic.
“Our leaders owe it to all of those impacted by the COVID-19 closures to increase the pace of their work,” according to the statement. “No one should use the delay in the reopening of classrooms as a reason to relax. The coronavirus has not taken a summer vacation, as many had hoped. Indeed, the virus has accelerated its attacks on our community.”
San Diego Unified will provide a public assessment on Aug. 10 of how soon a physical return to class might be possible. That assessment will be based on local measures of whether the virus is sufficiently under control, as well as progress on testing and federal action on funding. On the same day, San Diego Unified will outline the physical measures planned for each school to guard against the pandemic and detail the online learning program for the 2020- 21 academic year.
–City News Service
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