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San Diego Unified Schools Will Stay Open For Time Being; Teachers Union Calls For Closure

The outside of the San Diego Unified School District Education Center is show...

Photo by Megan Wood / inewsource

Above: The outside of the San Diego Unified School District Education Center is shown on May 8, 2018.

San Diego Unified School District officials said Thursday that its schools will remain open for the time being. The district’s teachers union responded with a call on state and county public health agencies to require school closures.

In a letter to families, the district said schools would take necessary precautions but it is keeping schools open on the advice of county health officials.

“San Diego Unified School District has been monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation in San Diego County,” the letter stated. “We have been advised by public health officials that closing our schools is unwarranted at this time and could create unintended consequences that would hurt their efforts to protect our community.”

The San Diego Education Association (SDEA), which represents the district’s nearly 6,000 teachers, said public safety would be better served if schools were closed.

"After consulting with the educators on the SDEA Board of Directors, and discussing current COVID-19 response plans with District leadership, I believe that now is the time to close our schools to protect the health of students, staff, and the broader community," SDEA president Kisha Borden said in a statement. "We call on the County and State Health Officials to allow SDUSD to temporarily cease regular operations."

During an afternoon news conference that included top officials from throughout the county, Marten said the school district would not make any decisions unilaterally.

"All decisions are made in concert with public health officials," she said. "We do not make decisions in isolation, and we cannot make decisions without the guidance and approval of the public health officials."

Marten also said the district has plans in place to continue serving students, especially the most vulnerable populations who rely on schools for food and other services. Borden echoed these priorities in her statement.

"As we respond to this crisis, we must ensure that there is access to food for our students who depend on our school system for their basic nutrition," she said. "We call on the State, County, City, and School leadership to set up safe food distribution systems for our students."

Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

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Joe Hong
Education Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs an education reporter, I'm always looking for stories about learning. My favorite education stories put a student's face on bigger policy issues. I regularly sift through enrollment data, test scores and school budgets, but telling student-centered stories is my top priority.

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