By Christine Huard
The Escondido Union School District closed one of its five middle schools Monday after three people tested positive for COVID-19. In-person instruction and extended care are expected to be on hold for two weeks, according to a district spokeswoman.
The temporary suspension comes at a time when San Diego County’s public school districts are trying to reopen campuses under varying safety protocols — and experiencing varying levels of success.
“As a result of the three positive cases at Mission, combined with a high case rate in the surrounding neighborhoods, Escondido Union School District has decided to implement a temporary suspension of on-campus activities at Mission Middle School through Nov. 16,” said Michelle Breier, a district communications specialist.
Breier said the three cases were separate and unrelated, and that transmission of the disease did not occur on campus. San Diego County public health officials are aware of the cases, and did not direct the district to close the campus, she added.
The decision affects 526 students enrolled in the school’s hybrid model learning program. During the campus closure, they will return to distance learning from home. The distribution of free, to-go meals will continue as usual.
“We understand that any temporary interruption of on-campus activities causes a huge disruption to our families and staff,” said Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra. “The safety and security of our students and staff continue to be at the forefront of all decisions.”
To date, the district has seen 12 COVID-19 cases on nine campuses that involve students or employees. Those positive cases have resulted in 92 students and 21 staff members being quarantined. According to the district, that adds up to less than 1% of the hybrid model enrollment.
The North County district serves nearly 15,000 students in preschool through Grade 8 at 23 campuses.
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