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City, San Diego Unified Leaders Urge Health Responsibility Over Spring Break

The entrance to the San Diego County Administration building in this file pho...

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: The entrance to the San Diego County Administration building in this file photo taken Dec. 13, 2020.

As San Diego and its largest school system gradually reopen from COVID-19 shutdowns last year, city leaders cautioned students, parents and others to avoid large gatherings like the ones occurring in Miami Beach over Spring Break.

Spring Break in San Diego Unified effectively began when schools let out Friday.

"San Diego has some of the best outdoor attractions in the world, but it's not an excuse to let our guards down in the fight against COVID-19 during Spring Break," Mayor Todd Gloria said. "We have made so much progress to stop the spread and begin the reopening process. Let's work together so we don't lose the ground we've gained and get our kids back in the classroom safely."

San Diego Unified Board of Education President Richard Barrera, District Superintendent Cindy Marten and San Diego Education Association President Kisha Borden echoed the mayor's call for students to participate in responsible recreation.

"Friends and families can have fun together without creating super spreader events," Barrera said. "Schools are leading the way by demonstrating to young people how to be together without sharing exposure to the COVID-19 virus. We need students to remember those lessons about mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing, even when they are not on campus and no adults are supervising them."

San Diego Unified School District will tentatively reopen for in-person education for the general school population next month.

"We want to speak directly to our students today, because they have demonstrated incredible courage and resilience through this pandemic," Marten said. "This is not the time to let our guard down. Have fun, get lots of rest and make sure you stay healthy for when school reopens online on April 5 and for in-person learning on April 12."

Borden reminded San Diegans of the massive surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths following the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years holidays.

"Though cases are declining in California they are once again on the rise in other parts of the country due to new variants, social gatherings and relaxing of mask usage," she said. "We must not allow the coming Spring Break holiday to set back the return to regular activities that all of us have been working toward."

Gloria and the education leaders urged the city's students and parents to follow the medical advice from San Diego Unified School District Physician Dr. Howard Taras. Taras set out six practical ways to stop a surge in COVID-19 due to Spring Break:

— Get vaccinated: If eligible to get the vaccine, book an appointment through your medical system, at a county-sponsored site or a nearby pharmacy and get one as soon as possible;

— Distance: Avoid mingling with other families, whether they be relatives or friends. If you do, stay six feet apart and wear your masks;

— Outdoors is safest: If you are enjoying beverages and food with relatives and friends over the break, do so outdoors and keep your distance. This is true for homes and restaurants. Outdoor parks and beaches are better than indoors;

— Masks: Places like airplanes, trains and airports can be safe, but only if everyone keeps their masks on. Since you cannot control what strangers do, keep your own mask on and keep your distance.

— Self-quarantine: If you do not want to be tested and you have traveled or mingled with other households over Spring Break, please stay at home for 10 days. Students may choose the "online" option for their education for the first 10 days after the Spring Break, and then opt to return to school.

— Testing: If you mingled with others outside of your household over Spring Break in San Diego and you do not want to self-quarantine, please get a COVID-19 test before school starts. If you traveled, then the CDC recommends that you stay home and get a viral test three to five days after you return. A negative test can decrease the recommended travel quarantine days from a full 10 days down to only seven days.

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