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San Diego Unified launching new summer program for K-12 students

Posted at 5:15 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 00:40:23-04

San Diego, CA (KGTV)- The San Diego Unified School district is already looking ahead to the summer, just weeks after getting some of its students back in the classroom.

Richard Barrera, SDUSD board president, said the district has teamed up with The San Diego Foundation to offer a free summer school program to all K through 12 students called “Level Up San Diego”.

“We’ve partnered with The San Diego Foundation to have our community-based nonprofits do enrichment and engagement programs for students in the afternoon. We’re very excited about what we’re building in the summer,” he said.

The goal is to help students prepare for the next school year with a summer of learning and joy, after challenges during the pandemic.

The program will offer in-person learning in the mornings Monday through Friday.
In the afternoons, students will be able to participate in enrichment activities, such as learning how to kayak or fly a drone. The days the afternoon activities are offered will depend on each program.

SDUSD said summer school is typically only offered to a group of students who have struggled, but the district will offer the Level Up program to anyone for free.

Open enrollment will start in late May, with learning and enrichment beginning on June 21st.
As for the current return to in-person learning plan, Barrera said a little more than half of the district’s students are back in the classroom.

“About 80 percent of our schools are offering four days a week of instruction. Even over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some schools that began offering two days a week that have now moved to four days a week," he said.

Barrera said overall, the reopening process has gone smoothly, thanks to COVID-19 safety preparations and staff training before students returned.

“For months, staff was working on getting classes properly ventilated, maintaining the distancing between desks, maintaining the signage at the schools, putting in air monitors,” said Barerra. “Then we had a week of training where all staff was on campus before students came back.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 26 active COVID-19 student cases districtwide and three active staff cases. Barrera said there had been zero instances of on-campus transmission.

“We do send them home for the 14 days to quarantine,” he said.

Right now, one of the biggest challenges for educators has been hybrid learning. Many teachers are pulling double duty, teaching students in-person and online at the same time,

The district's teachers union sent ABC 10News the following statement about the return to in-person learning so far,

This is yet another pivot that educators are making this school year. This new hybrid model definitely has its challenges and problems. But, as usual, educators are working hard to find solutions to meet the diverse needs of students who are both in-person and online.

Educators are also working to make sure all students and school staff are safe by following the protocols established in collaboration with UCSD public health experts. Overall, our educators are excited and happy to see many of their students face to face.
Kisha Borden, San Diego Education Association President

Barrera said with plans for the summer and fall, teachers won’t have to balance both learning modes anymore.

“It’s a challenge that our teachers are taking on and throwing themselves into, but it’s a challenge that will only last for the rest of this school year. When we go into our summer program and next fall, we won’t have the hybrid situation anymore.”

Barrera said an online program will still be offered in the fall, but it’ll be separate from the in-person learning.