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San Diego Unified teachers prepare to return to the classroom

Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 20:16:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- With San Diego in the red tier, and more teachers getting vaccinated, San Diego Unified School district is looking at the week of April 12th as the target date to get students back in class.

Teachers are expected to return to schools a week before their students.

“I would say overall, the majority of educators are really excited to get back into the classroom with their students,” said Kisha Boren, president of the San Diego Education Association, the union which represents more than 6,000 educators. “Our agreement provides for in elementary five hours of instruction for those students coming on site. For secondary, I believe it’s four hours of instruction. So students will continue with the schedule they were doing online, but those students will also have the opportunity to come on site and be in their teacher’s classroom.”

Borden said the agreement reached with the district addresses strict COVID-19 safety requirements and focuses on balancing the needs of students remaining entirely online with those returning in-person.

She said all teachers would be back in their classrooms.

“Our agreement requires our educators to be onsite. So unless they received an ADA accommodation from the district, all teachers will be onsite,” she said.

Teachers may also be faced with some challenges for the rest of this school year. They’ll be pulling double duty, teaching students in-person and online at the same time.

“These have been very long days, and now to add in-person students, it’s going to add on quite a bit to their workload,” said Borden.

She said by the fall, that should change.

“Part of our agreement was to ensure that in the fall, if there are still families that need to stay at home and still need that online learning, then there will be online only teachers for that. We want to avoid hybrid as much as possible, so part of our agreement was that the district will provide online only educators,” she explained.

On Monday, a district spokesperson said the district is still going through surveys sent to families to find out how many students will return in-person or remain in distance learning full time.

Each school’s learning model could be different depending on the results.

“I know some of the communications that have gone out to parents have been confusing about the number of days students will be on site. I do know there’s been a lot of information going out, some of it is sort of confusing, so I would suggest families reach out to their school principals for clarification,” said Borden.

Parents should be hearing directly from their child's school officials about specific reopening details.
For in-person learning, face masks will be required for everyone, COVID-19 testing will be mandatory for staff, and there will be at least five feet of distance between desks. Ventilation systems in classrooms have also been upgraded.