San Dieguito Union High School District to continue remote learning

Posted at 5:16 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 20:19:02-05

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - Students in the San Dieguito Union High School District won't be returning to campus in January.

Monday morning, the school board voted to confirm that it will not continue with its reopening plan that would have brought students back on campus one day a week beginning on January 4th, with the option of returning five days a week on the 27th.

The move comes after the union representing the teachers filed a lawsuit last week to block the return.

Jason Barry's daughter is in 7th at Earl Warren Middle School. She was looking forward to returning to class.

"Here we are again, kicking the can down the road. I hope this isn't a pattern that is going to continue," said Barry.

Barry broke the news to his daughter Monday after the board vote.

"She's gone from, as this whole thing has gone on, she's gone from tears to frustration to just quiet," said Barry.

Newly elected Trustee Michael Allman was the only board member to vote against ratifying the settlement reached last week with the union.

"We offer all this accommodation so that these essential workers, who are guaranteed the highest paid in the county can teach our kids, and they say thank you by filing a lawsuit , and then they offer to settle as they hold the kids as bargaining chips and I just don't want to reward that behavior," said Allman during the meeting which was held via Zoom.

The California Teachers Association filed a legal petition on behalf of the San Dieguito Faculty Association. The union said the district's reopening plan violated the state's public health rules concerning the pandemic.

Under the state's health mandate, schools that were already open for in-person instruction were allowed to remain open. The legal petition challenged the district's definition of "open," alleging that none of the schools was open for regular instruction; instead, they were open for small cohorts.

The union also estimated up to 20% of teachers would not return in January either for health concerns or childcare issues.

Barry and other parents are starting a grassroots effort to make it easier for people to become substitutes. Many parents say they are willing to step in to help fill the void. The district has said there is a shortage of subs.

"Whatever I need to do, to get this across the line if I need to be a substitute teacher, be one body that can help, I'm going to do that," said Barry.

Barry said he worries about the impact of remote learning on his daughter's development.

"This whole situation is causing a stunting to, I would say, an entire generation of kids who should be engaging, learning, growing, expanding their boundaries, and now they are stuck at home not testing themselves with their peers. There's going to be a loss that we won't see, and this school board or that school board will be long gone, and we'll still be dealing with it," said Barry.

Union leaders say most teachers want to return to the classroom, but not at the height of the pandemic.