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San Diego Unified walks back proposal to cancel classes for mental health day

Students still able to take day off as excused absence.
Posted at 9:21 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-06 02:16:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego Unified School District announced on Friday night that it would be walking back its decision to vote on whether to cancel school Nov. 12 for a mental health and wellness day.

San Diego Unified sent a letter Thursday to those in the district that the board would be voting on Tuesday on the final decision. The district couldn’t close the schools for class that next Friday without a vote of approval from the school board trustees.

After getting some praise and some criticism, the district is adjusting to appease everyone in the community.

The district announced Friday evening that it’s walking back that move after hearing concerns from parents about finding adequate childcare on short notice.

The district told ABC 10News they'd making plans to accommodate those who needed childcare and meal services if the vote to cancel classes was approved. But will also allow students to take Nov. 12 off for mental health, which will be considered as an excused absence.

ABC 10News spoke with two SDUSD parents, one of whom is also a PTA member.

That parent said she understands the initial concerns of parents who may not have been able to find childcare if the closure was approved.

The whole experience has been filled with surprise for her but feels this is a agreeable compromise for all.

"I feel like at least they didn't wait until like Monday or Tuesday to announce. So, parents wouldn’t have been shuffling to get childcare and then they go, ‘Oh we're open,’” said Dianne Strameillo, SDUSD Parent and PTA member.

“So, I'm glad that they were so quick to make that decision to kind of take back that other email and say we're going to do it this way instead.”

"I think some people might consider it be like wishy-washy or they're trying to please everybody,” said another SDUSD parent Elise Malmstrom. “I think they're really trying to recognize some very, very big concerns of the families."

Below is the email SDUSD Interim Superintendent sent to parents Friday night:

Students, parents, friends and colleagues:

We are writing to follow up on the communication sent yesterday regarding a proposal to make next Friday, November 12, a non-instructional day.

We’ve heard from many families that appreciated the opportunity to focus on mental health and wellness; others expressed concerns about their ability to find adequate childcare solutions on such short notice. After careful consideration, we have decided to keep our classrooms open next Friday.

All students will be welcome at school on November 12.

We will continue to offer students the chance to use that day to rest and recharge. Families that choose to keep their students out of school for a mental health day on November 12 will have their absence marked as “excused.”

Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact us. Your input helped us arrive at what we believe is the best possible option for all families. We continue to look for new ways to recognize the importance of mental health.


Dr. Lamont Jackson
Interim Superintendent San Diego Unified