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Several Vista Unified schools back to online learning after positive COVID-19 cases reported

Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 02, 2020

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Several schools in the Vista Unified School District are returning back to virtual learning for two weeks after positive COVID-19 cases were identified.

The district reopened for in-person learning at normal capacity, also known as Vista Classic, on October 20th.

According to the district’s website, 17 cases have been reported since October 20th.

District Superintendent, Dr. Matt Doyle, said Vista Classic and Vista Virtual were designed to work together so that there is the flexibility to move back and forth.

Mission Vista High School, Vista High School, Madison Middle School, Roosevelt Middle School, and Rancho Minerva Middle School are also back to Vista Virtual due to positive cases.

A class of 28 students and one teacher at T.H.E. Learning Academy Elementary school is also under quarantine after one positive case was reported.

Last week the school unanimously approved a plan that would close down some middle and high schools for two weeks when positive cases are reported.

The closures would happen if one school has two or more positive cases at the whole time, the entire school would switch back to Vista Virtual for two weeks. If three secondary schools have one positive case each, all three will return to Vista Virtual for two weeks.

“I think two is tough; that doesn’t give us a lot of confidence that it won’t close down again,” said Dolly Goulart, a parent of a Mission Vista High School student who has been back to virtual learning.

“I do appreciate that they’re doing trying to get classic families back in. They gave families a choice over the summer.”

Goulart said her son’s transition back to Vista Virtual went smoothly.

“From my perspective, it seemed perfectly seamless. He did fine pivoting back,” said Goulart. “He’s about a week into his two-week virtual pivot.”

“We meet regularly with representatives from the S.D. Health and Human Services Department to discuss our health and safety measures and make adjustments as appropriate,” said Dr. Doyle in an email to A.B.C. 10News.

Doyle said in just weeks, a high volume COVID-19 testing center would open in Vista Unified.

Before school reopened, the district notified parents that they couldn’t guarantee that students would be six feet apart in class.

The district’s website stated, “It is important to note that while many health and safety precautions are in place for the Vista Classic learning model, all classrooms will have the normal amount of students enrolled. This means that while we will be following social distancing procedures, student seating arrangements will be less than six feet apart.”

There have been mixed reactions to the reopening plan from teachers and parents; some like Goulart are happy with the plan, while others call for revisions.

“Why are we allowing kids not to social distance within our classrooms?” asked Keri Avila, the Vista Teachers Association president. “When we talk about keeping businesses open, when we talk about returning to some sort of normal, this takes that all away.”

Avila said, in some cases, students are in crowded classrooms without enough safety measures in place.

She’s calling on the district to make changes to the current reopening plan so that schools can remain open.

“We hope to work with our district to create a system to keep our schools open, not one that keeps pivoting back to virtual,” said Avila.

Two positive COVID-19 cases have also been reported at Alta Vista High School, but ABC 10News has not been able to confirm if the school has closed down.