The Coast News Group
Mission Middle School
In-person learning at EUSD’s Mission Middle School has been temporarily suspended after three individuals tested positive for COVID-19. In-person learning will resume on Nov. 17. Photo courtesy of EUSD

Multiple COVID-19 cases prompt temporary closure of Escondido middle school

ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Union School District (EUSD) decided to temporarily suspend in-person learning at Mission Middle School for two weeks after three individuals recently tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the district, the cases are separate and unrelated, and transmission is reported to have occurred off-campus, but due to the high case rate in the surrounding neighborhoods, EUSD temporarily shut down on-campus activities through Nov. 16.

The closure impacts 526 students enrolled in Mission Middle School’s on-campus hybrid model.

“We understand that any temporary interruption of on-campus activities causes a huge disruption to our families and staff,” said Dr. Luis Rankins-Ibarra, EUSD Superintendent. “The safety and security of our students and staff continue to be at the forefront of all decisions.”

EUSD, which educates 15,000 students in preschool through 8th grade at 23 campuses in Escondido, has recorded 12 positive COVID-19 cases involving students or employees that have impacted nine campuses.

Those cases have resulted in the quarantine of 92 students and 21 staff members total, which is less than 1% of EUSD’s hybrid enrollment, according to the district.

Michelle Breier, Digital Communications Specialist at EUSD, told The Coast News that this is the first time EUSD has decided to shut down a campus as a result of a positive COVID case.

The temporary suspension of on-campus activities at Mission Middle School includes in-person instruction as well as extended care. However, the distribution of free, to-go meals will continue, according to EUSD.

Mission Middle School students are expected to follow the on-campus hybrid schedule through virtual learning at home during the temporary in-person suspension.

“The San Diego County Department of Public Health is aware of the multiple cases. EUSD’s decision to suspend on-campus learning at Mission Middle School was not directed by a public health department,” the district said. “County health officials have continued to express confidence in EUSD’s health and safety protocols. This decision was made to ensure the stability of the educational program offered to our students, as well as to continue our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our students and employees.”

Mission Middle School’s in-person learning and on-campus activities are set to resume on Nov. 17.