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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

A Back-to-School Deal

Cover image for podcast episode

MATTHEW BOWLER

The Montgomery Middle School playground is pictured in San Diego, Feb. 17, 2021.

Governor Gavin Newsom and State Legislatures have reached a deal on reopening California’s public schools. But some fear the return to in-person learning is coming too late for students who have fallen behind.. Meanwhile, Petco Park’s vaccination super station is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday - but many are worried that their rescheduled appointments for the second dose shot are coming long after the interval recommended by the CDC.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday, March 2nd

A deal has been reached to reopen schools.

We’ll have more next, but first... let’s do the headlines….

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria launched San Diego Community Power on Monday, also called SDCP. It’s a new government agency designed to purchase wholesale clean electricity on behalf of customers across the county and speed up the transition to renewable energy.

"it creates a situation where our cities, and our economy and our climate all see significant and tangible benefits. and with the launch of san diego community power, we are taking bold steps toward cleaner air, more livable neighborhoods, and a thriving green tech economy."

For now SDCP is powering municipal buildings. Businesses will come online in June and residential customers will join in in 2022.

San Diego county is accepting applications from south bay residents for its Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board, that’s according to the city news service. The board will investigate citizen complaints against sheriff’s deputies and probation officers. Applications will be open through the county website until April 2nd.

Comic Con will be online again this year due to health concerns. The online version will be free from July 23rd to the 25th. Comic-Con is planning to host a three-day in person convention in November. But more details on that are yet to come.

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

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

State legislatures have reached a deal with Governor Gavin Newsom on how to reopen public schools. The agreement will send billions in funding to districts who can reopen by the end of march. Locally, San Diego unified school district is hoping to get in on the offer, but there’s a catch. KPBS Education reporter Joe Hong has more.

The 6.6 billion dollars will be split into two allotments: The first is 2 billion dollars for districts that can reopen TK-2nd grade before April 1st. To qualify, districts must have a 7-day average case rate below 25 per 100,000 residents.
Once you dip your toe in. Once you build a cohort confidently. Once you build trust, we will start to see a cadence of reopening across the spectrum, but again on the basis of building confidence and trust.
San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera says the district could qualify for up to 100 million dollars of this additional funding. However, last week the district announced it won’t begin its next phase of reopening until April 12. But since the district’s spring break is the last week of March and teachers are scheduled back on April 5, Barrera says the district should still get a full share.
“It allows us to right after spring break to have a week where our staff is on campus preparing and getting trained in all the mitigation strategies that are necessary to keep everybody safe.
Another caveat is that the district already made an agreement with its teachers union to not reopen until all teachers are vaccinated.
That was KPBS Education reporter Joe Hong.
…..

Meanwhile, with the momentum to reopen schools growing..education experts say they’re concerned about students who have fallen behind during the pandemic, and that achievement gaps are widening.

CapRadio’s Pauline Bartolone has more about how English language learners will be among the students who struggle the most to get back in sync with their peers.

Luther Burbank High School teacher Larry Ferlazzo is trying to make the best of zoom school.
FERLAZZO: We’re going to continue to learn about the transcontinental railroad today.”
He’s using interactive quizzes to teach history and basic English to non-native speaking students in this South Sacramento neighborhood.
(AMB...Ferlazzo: “You have one minute to sign up…)
The families of Ferlazzo’s students come from all over the world. Afghanistan, Central America, Vietnam, the Pacific Islands. It’s hard to connect with them through a computer. While he teaches them the word “available” almost all of the students have their cameras off.
“Do you have any time available to study english after school?
HAFSA: No, I do not have any time to study english. I am very busy.”
His students are very busy. Emili Carrillo is a senior, and her family came here three and a half years ago from Mexico. She works part time at a grocery store in addition to going to high school. She said it’s harder to learn English at a distance.
EMILI: When we were at school,and we kind of communicated more with our classmates. And this year, during the pandemic. We don’t even talk sometimes.
But it’s not just the technical glitches and physical distance getting in the way of learning … Ferlazzo says some kids have trouble just showing up to class.
FERLAZZO: There are the distractions at home. Many of our students are having to take care and assist younger siblings… A fair number of our students are also having to work to help their families during the recessions.
Then, of course, there’s the virus itself.
FERLAZZO: There’s a case every week of students who tell me that they or their family members are suffering from COVID19.
Recent research out of Stanford University suggests all these hardships may be setting California’s English language learning students back more than their peers this year. Heather Hough (huff) of Policy Analysis for California Education says the younger kids especially are learning less.
HOUGH: In the fifth grade, our research shows that students learning English are about 30 percent behind where they would be in a normal year in English language arts, compared to 10 percent for students that are not learning English.
Hough says the learning gap is directly tied to the different supports kids have at home.
Hough: So in some families, you know, students have full time tutors, or even credentialed teacher, who's at home supporting their learning or a parent who doesn't work, who's supporting their learning full time. And then on the other end of the continuum, we have families where perhaps there isn't an adult at home during the day at all because all adults in the family are out working multiple jobs.
English learning students are almost a fifth of California’s public school population. As the legislature and the Governor hash out how to reopen schools, many say summer school may be in the cards, but it has to be engaging to kids.
“Can we see your niece? (unintelligible)”
Ferlazzo is trying to do that until Sacramento City Schools reopen. The youngest kids could go back in early April…But these highschoolers might not see each other again until May, and only if the COVID threat level goes down in the county.

And that reporting from Cap Radios Pauline Bartolone

Coming up.... The closures at the Petco Park vaccination super station have some people worried their second dose will be pushed back far beyond CDC recommendations. We’ll have that and more local news just after the break.

The county’s largest vaccination site near Petco Park in Downtown is closed through today due to lack of supplies of the moderna vaccine. and some are worried that their appointments for a second dose of the vaccine are getting pushed back beyond cdc’s recommended interval. ..
kpbs reporter matt hoffman spoke to an infectious disease expert who says that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

People should not worry about being delayed
UC San Diego infectious disease expert Dr. Douglas Richman says he knows that the CDC recommends seconds doses be delivered no later than 6 weeks after first ones. But he says historical data shows booster shots for other vaccines can wait up to six months, so even if you have to wait 8 or 10 weeks--
It’s not like you’re immunity disappears
The CDC says there is limited data about how effective doses are after the six week window but it can still be given--
When those studies were designed we had no idea how good these vaccines would be and it turns out these vaccines are better than anyone expected. And as a result those of us that have look at the data are reassured there is really protection after the first one at least for several months
Richman says a letter with more information was sent out to those who might be getting their booster past six weeks.

And that was KPBS Reporter Matt Hoffman.

THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED THE FIRST JAIL INMATE TO DIE OF COVID-19. But THE NEWS COMES THREE MONTHS AFTER THE 62-YEAR-OLD MAN DIED. INEWSOURCE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER MARY PLUMMER HAS MORE.

Edel Loredo died on November 21st at Sharp Chula Vista hospital.According to the Sheriff’s Department, he was transferred there in an ambulance the week before his death.His daughter says the family believes jail staff didn’t provide proper medical treatment until it was too late.The Sheriff’s Department delayed announcing the death because they were waiting for the county medical examiner to complete its investigation. That wrapped up early last week.As of Friday, 11 people in San Diego County jails had COVID-19 and about 80 more were isolated out of precaution.

That was Inewsource Investigative reporter Mary Plummer. INEWSOURCE IS AN INDEPENDENTLY FUNDED, NONPROFIT PARTNER OF KPBS.

If you want to see the Carlsbad flower fields this year, there’s some new rules to follow. KPBS NORTH COUNTY REPORTER TANIA THORNE has more.

Guests wanting to take a peek at the 55 acres of blooming flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields will need to follow some new rules to combat COVID-19.
Face masks and social distancing are required and the biggest change… mandatory online reservations. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
Fred Clarke, the general manager of the Flower Fields, expects this season to be one of the busiest as more people look for outdoor activities.
“I think it's going to sell out, this is outdoor recreation at its finest, its open air, sunny, beautiful. Nowhere in Southern CA like it.”
Clarke recommends booking early for a guaranteed spot..
The Carlsbad Flower Fields are open from 9am to 6pm everyday through Mother’s day.

And that was KPBS North County Reporter Tania Thorne.

that’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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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.