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Controversy over Coronado HS and Middle School reopening

The school opened for on-campus learning this week
Coronado High School
Posted at 4:54 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 19:54:38-05

CORONADO (KGTV) -- The middle and high school in Coronado reopened to in-person learning, against the wishes of some teachers and the union.

A maximum of 25 percent of the total school population will be on-campus at one time. Families who chose to remain in distance learning were able to continue with that option.

Reopening at all, while the county is in the Purple Tier, is not sitting well with some teachers.

One high school teacher, who did not want to be identified, said even with a smaller population on campus, the students are still mixing classes and it is difficult to maintain distance. According to the teacher, the union has filed a grievance against the district.

"The ultimate concern is we're testing it as we're going," the teacher told ABC 10News. "How are we the only ones allowed to do this?"

Superintendent Karl Mueller was not available for an on-camera interview, but in a statement released by his assistant, said he stands by the decision.

"CUSD opened in the Red Tier and developed a phased reopening plan," the statement said. "We have met the definition [of 'open'] and all other Safe Schools for All Plan checklist items - including a robust rapid COVID testing pilot program for staff and students."

The teacher disagreed, saying that the upper level schools were not fully open in the Red Tier and instead had small on-campus classes for those who had difficulty with distance learning.

A county spokesperson said the district followed state guidance and can open.

Masks are required and families need to fill out a health and safety agreement before return to in-person learning, according to a Coronado High School online newsletter. There is also a specific traffic flow students need to follow on the campus.

On Tuesday, Governor Newsom said schools can start to safely reopen, echoing the words of CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

"There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest students need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely," Walensky said.

The California Teachers Association disagrees. "Educators in classrooms should be vaccinated," said CTA spokesperson Claudia Briggs.

She added "the conditions aren't safe and schools should not be open while they're in the Purple Tier." Briggs confirmed a cease-and-desist letter was sent to the district.