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Nearly all students at EUHSD are currently taking classes virtually. File photo
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Escondido Union High School District postpones in-person learning

ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Union High School District (EUHSD) last week announced that they are postponing a blended learning option that includes in-person classes until later in the spring semester due to a countywide surge in COVID-19 cases.

At a board meeting last Tuesday, Dec. 15, the district said they will offer two online learning options for the upcoming semester through the first grading period, but may return to campus later in the spring, depending on the county’s COVID-19 status.

All students at EUHSD are currently taking classes virtually, though the district began allowing small groups, including special education students and English learners, to return to campus in September.

These small groups are taking classes through learning pods or cohorts that do virtual classes on campus with support from teachers.

“While 78% of our students very much desire to return to campus, 22% find that working virtually and from a distance is the best fit for them and their families and have opted to continue in distance learning in one of two models throughout the spring semester,” Superintendent Dr. Anne Staffieri said. “The third learning option we have added, Distance Learning via Canvas Learning Management System, has provided additional such flexibility to both groups, and the 12% of students who have opted into this model show that they are interested in continuing.”

Staffieri told The Coast News that the board will continue to monitor the county’s COVID-19 status and, if conditions allow, students who choose the blended model will return to campus part-time.

“Our decisions will continue to be based on local data and state and county guidance. We are hopeful with the launch of the vaccine and additional testing sites that our local area metrics will improve and allow us to return to campus,” Staffieri said.

As of Dec. 11, EUHSD had 46 COVID-19 cases since opening campuses to small groups of students, with 17 of those cases coming from students and staff who were not on campus but participated solely in distance learning.

The district is planning to launch a COVID-19 dashboard beginning in January to keep students, families and the community updated.

“We appreciate the amazing work being done each day by our students, staff, and administrators. These truly are unprecedented times, and it takes all of us working together to stay safe and support student learning,” Staffieri said. “We look forward to implementing the additional learning models in the new semester and are hopeful that local conditions allow us to bring our students back to campus in the near future.”