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Fighting Systemic Racism In San Diego

Cover image for podcast episode

CREDIT: MAYOR TODD GLORIA'S OFFICE

Above: San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria talking to Black leaders at the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center in Chollas View as he announces an empowerment policy plan for San Diego's Black community to fight systemic racism in the city, April 12, 2021.

Mayor Todd Gloria announced an empowerment policy plan for San Diego's Black community. Plus: checking in with students, parents and teachers about the first day back at in-person learning lots of local schools, SeaWorld is opening more... and more of the local news you need.

Good Morning, I’m Kinsee Morlan in for Annica Colbert for the next few days….it’s Tuesday, April 13th.
The long awaited, first day back to school is finally in the books for lots of local students, teachers and parents.

More on that story next, just after your local headlines.

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There are two opportunities today to get the vaccine without an appointment...

At the Border View YMCA and at the Mountain View Educational Cultural Complex.
Although these two sites don’t require appointments, they are first-come, first-serve… and both clinics do have zip code restrictions.

So you’ll have to provide proof of residency or a business address.

Meanwhile….due to supply shortages, the Del Mar Fairgrounds Vaccination Super Station be closed on Wednesday, April 14 and April 16th, 17th and 18th.

Patients who have appointments scheduled on those dates will be rescheduled automatically through the MyTurn online appointment system.
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for too long, San Diego's black community has felt disenfranchised and disregarded.

Yesterday, Mayor Todd Gloria announced a policy plan for San Diego's Black community...meant To Fight Systemic Racism in the city.

I want to amend that. I want to say that they have felt that way, but it's also been true in fact, and we have to change that.

The mayor says the plan will focus on housing, economic mobility, the effects of climate change, police reform, educational barriers and differing health outcomes in the COVID-19 pandemic.

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San Diego Restaurant Week is underway.

The 8-day edible extravaganza runs through Sunday, April 18th and features over 160 restaurants offering variations of prix fixe (pre-fix) menus at affordable prices.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Yesterday felt like the first day of school all over again for students, teachers, and parents across the County..

San Diego unified school district campuses and three South Bay districts reopened Monday for part-time, in-person learning.
KPBS education reporter Joe Hong has the story.

For the first time in over a year, Kate Chaisson is leaving our house and heading to school. I'm feeling good. Now that I'm in my clothes. I have my bag. I have my travel mug of coffee. I'm ready to go and just be at school. Kate is a 17 year old junior at Canyon Hills high, formerly known as Sarah high school in Tierrasanta.
She's one of the approximately 50,000 students in the San Diego unified school district who were at school Monday for part-time in-person learning. It kind of feels like the first day of school. It feels like I'm in September, but it's April. Which is a little weird, but I'm ready to go back. But that doesn't mean things are back to normal.

The district has strict health and safety measures in place and students won't yet be able to hug their friends or teachers who they haven't seen since the pandemic first shut down schools in March 20, 20 chasten said she expects to feel very isolated on her first day back and very lonely, but also very short the school day shortened.
So I'm looking forward to that. Um, I know it's going to be a little bit off just because it's not totally normal, but. I'm looking forward to having somewhat of a normal school day. Meanwhile city and San Diego unified officials were at Encanto elementary school Monday morning to celebrate the reopening of campuses, superintendent Cindy Martin today.
Thanks both teachers and the staff working behind the scenes to ensure schools are safe. And you see with me district staff, whether it's food services, landscaping services, custodial services, getting teachers prepared for online, learning through. Professional development, doubling down on our commitment to equity and making sure our teachers are prepared to teach our students and give them what they need when they need it in the way that they need it.
When everything around them has changed. And about three quarters of the district schools, students will be on campus for four days a week for three hours of in-person instruction for Kate that's enough to feel hopeful about a return to normalcy. I'm so excited. Just I'm excited. Schools are reopening. It's about time. It's April. I'm ready. Let's go.
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And another SIGN THAT SAN DIEGO IS indeed REOPENING..

Yesterday, SEAWORLD OFFICIALLY OPENED THEIR RIDES AND ROLLER COASTERS..

KPBS REPORTER MATT HOFFMAN SAYS THE PARK IS HIRING BACK STAFF WITH PLANS TO RAMP UP MORE IN THE SUMMER.

17;24;30;12 Brindley
We’re very hopeful, that things are moving in the right direction
Seaworld Vice president Corrine Brindley says it took a lot of work to get here… all the rides closed in March of last year, and it wasn’t until this February when they started operating again as a zoo.
17;19;45;03 Brindley
at that point we can demonstrate we can keep people six feet apart we can require people to wear their masks
Now that San Diego is in the state’s orange reopening tier the park can open at 25 percent capacity.. And in addition to masking and social distancing, state officials want everyone who visits Seaworld to be a California resident--
17;21;15;19 Brindley
When you make that reservation because reservations are required then you will attest at that point that you are in fact from california
Not everyone at the park Monday was a state resident.. We spoke to some who said they were visiting from places like Arizona.. Officials are hoping people will be honest when buying tickets.
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A large homeless encampment in Oceanside was scheduled to be cleared out by police this week.

But KPBS North County reporter Tanya Thorne tells us those plans have changed as the city tries to place the people in motels.

I call it in my little eviction. Notice Taleesha about the sta has been living at the homeless encampment off South Oceanside Boulevard for four months until she woke up to this notice taped on her tent.
Wow. The city of Oceanside will conduct a cleanup of the area, including the removal of all individuals, personal property, encampments, junk, trash, and debris. What came after Oceanside city council passed an anti camping ordinance and emergency motel voucher program at last week's council meeting, be encampment that has over 30 tens and dozens of people living in it.
We'll now get some extra time before it is cleared out. And while motel vouchers are secured. Yeah. It's been extended, you know, until we can get the vouchers, um, you know, and, and get people transported to the places I need to be. Um, but I really can't comment on future police operation. So I really don't know exactly when that's going to happen.
Tom Busey is a public information officer for Oceanside police department. He says the city is working to get the people living at the encampment motel vouchers and supportive services. But both these assets, she last heard, there were only 30 motel vouchers available. There's one 30 people here. There's more than 30 10 right here.
So now that's concerning because who gets to have those rooms? How do you figure out who's going to have that? Although the vouchers offer a temporary shelter. And Kevin highlights the need for permanent homeless shelters in North County. You know, the city is looking for a flight, so they have a place already, um, to house some homeless people temporarily in the meantime, Bessie would not comment on how many vouchers will be provided or when the encampment will be cleared out.

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A new shell awaits discovery on the San Diego shoreline.

No… not a sand dollar or clam shell... but one that will soon provide amazing experiences of sight and sound for San Diego audiences.

KPBS reporter John Carroll explains...,

The familiar opening strains of Swan Lake… performed by the San Diego Symphony… part of a special presented by KPBS and the Symphony in 2019… one of the last performances at the old stage at Embarcadero Marina Park South. Its replacement… known simply as The Shell… will debut later this summer.
“It’s magnificent, it’s elegant and it is ours, it is San Diego’s.”
San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer says the Shell will offer audiences delights for the eyes courtesy of a state-of-the-art lighting system… and sound, that comes from massive speakers on stage, but also speakers on towers out in the audience...
“Those speakers are surround speakers, create a surround sound for the audience, you’ll feel enveloped and also there’s a delay in it so that you will have a synchronized present sound.”
There will be new food offerings courtesy of some of San Diego’s leading chefs… and unlike the old venue, where people who needed to answer the call of nature had to use porta potties… there are now 62 new restrooms. The 85-million dollar pricetag was paid for almost entirely by donors. An opening date hasn’t yet been set, but Gilmer says it will be no later than August.

Coming up….
So yeah...as you know….Monday finally marked a return to normal for students, teachers and parents at San Diego Unified…
ER...actually, not normal, but a new normal that involved returning to in-person school for lots of kids, but with lots of safety rules and other new adjustments.

That story after a quick break.

For lots of parents of school-age children like me...It seemed back in the darkest days of the pandemic last winter, that this day might never come…

But yesterday, it finally did.

San Diego unified, the county's largest school district, joined many other schools and districts across the County and reopened the school doors…

But Most students won't find things exactly back to normal. There's a shortened school week, many safety precautions, and some students still learning remotely.

But it's closer to a post pandemic world than we've seen in a long time.

As the reopening gets underway, many students will begin to assess how their learning has been affected by the school shutdown over the past year.

KPBS asked 17 year old Canyon Hills high school, junior Kate Chasin, to share her thoughts on going back to school.

I think the first time that it really hit me, that the pandemic was going to change my learning for the foreseeable future. Was when our school district shut down for six weeks. To try and figure out what they were going to do. There were so many moving pieces that they needed to figure out. And then once the six weeks were up and we were supposed to supposedly go back after our extended spring break, it's still, nothing had been figured out.

And just the fact that I was in ambiguity until June when the school year ended, it was insane for me to. Just realize, Oh, this is really going to be a long-term effect on my education.

I'm a very social person and I'm a very touchy person. So I like to give my friends hugs and pats on the back and things like that. And so, um, when we weren't in person anymore, It made it so difficult just to be social. And luckily now we've all adapted to it. We're using zoom, we're on phone calls, FaceTimes, texting, things like that.

But in the beginning, just so many little elements of my school day that were so normal. All of a sudden we're. Speeding by in the rear view mirror. Like that's not a thing that's going to be happening anymore.

luckily it was very easy for me to adapt to the online format because I had the resources and infrastructure already set up for me to be successful in a distance format. I had fantastic teachers that. Still stuck with it. They still put out information for us to be able to learn in the great period for the first couple months of the pandemic.

I think the missing piece in school, and also just in life in general that the pandemic has caused just there's a missing social aspect to it. There's just kind of a buzz and a warmth of being in a classroom with a bunch of other kids. And especially this year, I feel like I got so cheated out. Cause my English class had the most thought provoking conversation in the chat box and just imagining how much more I could have gotten out of that class.

How do we been in person? If we were all sitting in our chairs in a circle, having a dialogue about social issues and things just there, there's an energy that comes from being in the classroom. That was absolutely lost this year. And I feel like I learned less in those classes because the environment was very cold and I guess sterile for lack of a better word.

I'm personally happy to be going back with. A caveat of I'm going back two days a week. And so three days a week, I'm still going to be doing the exact same thing I've been doing this entire school year. Um, so I am excited to go back just to get that social aspect from my friends that are going back and to see my teachers.

I really like to engage with my teachers. So it's nice to actually be able to meet them finally. Um, but I do have anxiety over. How easy it is for someone to not wear a mask and to not wear hand sanitizer and to not follow the COVID regulations that are in place for our safety, because there are just to put it politely.

There are certain people that may not have the regard for other safety to wear a mask or to socially distance while on campus. And that is a big reason why a lot of my friends are choosing not to return. Um, but like, I feel comfortable enough to go back. Um, so I do have apprehension about the environment, but also I just really wanted to be back on campus.

So I'm going to

I'm definitely looking forward to going down that social vein. Just the little things that come with being in person. So like a mild acquaintance of mine will wave at me in the halls and I'll be able to wave back at them and say hi, or like I'm in my math class right now. And every single math class that any high schooler has been and will know that there's a little shuffle that everybody does during passing period before the class starts, or everybody huddles around like the two smart kids and they get all the answers to the math homework.

And so just little things that are such a big aspect of the high school. Experience, despite being so minute to everyday life, I'm just excited to get those mentalities back.

And that was Canyon Hills high school, junior, Kate Chasin. Who returned to campus for in-person instruction on Monday….You can hear more first-person stories about the return to school in a special KPBS Midday edition episode that aired yesterday. Find and subscribe to KPBS Midday Edition wherever you listen to podcasts.

And that’s the show. Thanks for listening.

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San Diego News Now

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.