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New Reopening Guidelines For Schools Unveiled

The San Diego Unified School District headquarters is shown on March 19, 2020.
Zoë Meyers
The San Diego Unified School District headquarters is shown on March 19, 2020.
San Diego Unified officials signaled optimism for a partial return to campuses in the coming months while the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated guidance.

San Diego Unified School District officials are now saying that a return to full in-person learning is all but certain in the fall. They’re also increasingly optimistic that more students will be able to come to campuses in the coming months, even if it’s just part time.

“We’re very confident that we can open in the fall,” said School Board President Richard Barrera. “We’re very confident we’ll have an expanded summer program, and if trends continue the way they are now, we believe we’ll have more of our students on campus in the spring.”

New Reopening Guidelines For Schools Unveiled
Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

RELATED: CDC Offers Clearest Guidance Yet For Reopening Schools

Barrera applauded Thursday’s announcement by County Board Supervisor Nathan Fletcher that the county will begin offering vaccinations to teachers within the next three weeks, which he described as crucial.

“We need to get the virus under control and the community case rates need to be in decline is kind of the second key part of that pathway to reopening and the third is we need to vaccinate our educators,” he said.

VIDEO: New Reopening Guidelines For Schools Unveiled

Meanwhile, Gov. Newsom’s office on Friday launched its interactive map showing which districts in the state are operating in-person, hybrid or distance learning only.

Also on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its much-anticipated guidance for reopening schools. The guidance introduces its own colored tier system.

RELATED: San Diego Unified School District Resumes COVID-19 Testing Program With Plans To Expand

Counties in the CDC’s blue tier for low transmission or the yellow tier for moderate transmission are encouraged to reopen for in-person learning even if teachers aren’t vaccinated. San Diego County as a whole is currently in the yellow tier. But parts of the county, especially in the South Bay, would be in the orange tier based on their higher case rates.

Barrera said San Diego Unified officials will consult with UCSD experts over the weekend about how the district will respond to the new CDC guidelines.