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San Diego Unified Delays In-Person Learning Due To COVID-19 Surge

A young girl with a face mask sits at a desk at Lafayette Elementary School in Clairemont Mesa as schools resume with limited reopening on Oct. 13, 2020.
Nicholas McVicker
A young girl with a face mask sits at a desk at Lafayette Elementary School in Clairemont Mesa as schools resume with limited reopening on Oct. 13, 2020.

San Diego Unified School District announced Tuesday that it will delay reopening plans as COVID-19 infection rates spike across the county.

The district was originally planning to open elementary schools on Jan. 4 and middle and high schools on Jan. 25 for hybrid instruction. But the current surge in cases has halted that timeline. The vast majority of instruction will stay online until further notice.

San Diego Unified Delays In-Person Learning Due To COVID-19 Surge
Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

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Video: San Diego Unified Delays In-Person Learning Due To COVID-19 Surge

“It’s a disappointment obviously because we and everybody had hoped that after the winter break we could start expanding into our Phase 2 and subsequent phases, bringing more students back onto campus,” said Richard Barrera, vice president of the San Diego Unified SchoolBoard. “We can’t do that as long as the county’s in the purple zone, and every indication is that this is gonna get worse before it gets better.”

In the meantime, district officials said in an email that schools will continue offering limited in-person instruction to struggling students in all grades. So far, about 2,000 of the district’s more than 100,000 students have received some form of in-person instruction.

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“The current spread of the coronavirus in our community makes it unsafe to move forward with Phase 2 of our reopening at this time,” the district’s email said. “We plan to reassess the public health conditions and provide an updated timetable on Jan. 13.”

The district’s website includes a dashboard with factors officials are watching to determine when it will be safe to begin re-opening.