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San Diego County School Officials Expect Full Return To In-Person Learning In Fall

The outside of the Board of Education building for the San Diego Unified Scho...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: The outside of the Board of Education building for the San Diego Unified School District is shown in this photo, March 24, 2016.

School officials across San Diego County are expecting a new normal when the 2021-22 school year starts in the fall, with students in many ways returning to a pre-pandemic learning environment. But they should keep their masks handy.

San Diego Unified, the county’s largest school district, will welcome back all students to campuses for full-time in-person instruction, said School Board President Richard Barrera.

Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

“Parents who are ready to have their students come back to in-person learning should expect a typical pre-COVID schedule,” he said.

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Reported by Joe Hong

However, while class schedules will likely be back to normal, it’s still possible that students will be wearing masks and some physical distancing will remain in place. Barrera says the California Legislature is unlikely to pass a vaccination mandate before the new school year, and the state Department of Public Health (CDPH) has yet to say how its guidelines could change.

“Those guidelines around mask-wearing, around distancing, around small cohorts, all of those measures that are in place right now, may look differently in the fall,” Barrera said. “Whatever they look like either at the beginning or as we go into the school year, we want to evolve based on the CDPH guidelines.”

Other large districts like Poway Unified, Chula Vista Elementary and Sweetwater Union High also plan on a full reopening.

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But these districts and San Diego Unified will still offer virtual instruction for families who prefer it. Barrera said the district will expand its online, independent learning programs that existed before the pandemic.

San Diego Unified doesn’t yet know what percentage of students will return to campuses in the fall, but Barrera says he expects class sizes to be back at pre-pandemic levels.

A spokeswoman for Poway Unified said 98% of returning students selected in-person instruction during registration.

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