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Poway Unified School District reopens middle and high schools for in-person learning

Poway Unified School District
Posted at 9:17 PM, Mar 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 11:04:20-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - Poway Unified School District is officially reopening their middle and high schools for in-person learning two days a week starting Monday.

It's been a whole year since many students have been able to sit in a classroom.

PUSD's reopening comes after the CDC updated their recommendations Friday saying students are safe three feet apart while wearing a mask. That is half the distance of prior guidelines.

The California Teacher's Association released a statement saying in part, "Another shift in guidelines as a way to sprint back to classrooms sends another confusing message to students, parents and families... Moving to three-feet distance for students in schools and cramming young adults into classrooms will pose myriad challenges for our large urban school districts and those that haven’t yet implemented the necessary, multilayered mitigation measures that the CDC says are essential, regardless of the spacing between students in classrooms."

The controversial change in guidelines has some parents scratching their heads.

"There’s so many competing pieces of information like COVID lives on surfaces, no COVID does not live on surfaces. You can only get it if you’re not six feet away, but if you’re a kid you can’t get it unless you’re closer than three feet way. So that’s why I think we throw it out and get back to school," Julie Hansen said.

Hansen has a sophomore in the district and both are elated at him getting back on campus.

"I am so glad and he is so glad to be going back to school!" Hansen said. "Before COVID, it was like, oh my god another week of school and oh I can't wait for Friday. Now it's a completely different thing, it's like, I really want to go back to school!"

Hansen is a Lecturer at San Diego State University and understands the struggle of distance learning from both sides, "It’s been really really challenging and I think they want to learn but they are just done learning in front of a camera."

She said all students are missing out on building interpersonal relationships this year, and mother Elizabeth Jorgensen agrees.

Jorgensen has four boys, "Ty’s a Senior, Rhett’s a Sophomore, Ryan’s a Freshman and Luke is in 7th grade."

The 2020 school year was going to be critical, filled with sports, memories and milestones.

She said distance learning has made it an incredibly difficult year, "I mean they’re just not motivated the same way, they’re scared to take challenging classes." Jorgensen said they were intimidated by tough math and language classes they wanted to earn good grades in.

Those concerns are starting to slip away as PUSD reopens.

Both moms say grades are split by last name and the groups either attend class on campus Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday.

PUSD stated on their website earlier this month, "We’ve established effective contact tracing and quarantining processes. We’ve added filtration devices and upgraded ventilation systems in all of our classrooms and schools. We've implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. We've implemented physical distancing and mask requirements. And we have successfully advocated for the prioritization of vaccinations for our staff."

Other districts like San Diego Unified and Sweetwater Unified plan to reopen mid-April.