ENCINITAS — As the divides between parents, teachers and school board continue to amplify, the San Dieguito Union High School District board of trustees adopted a resolution this week that would allow all students the option to return to campus for in-person instruction four days a week starting on April 12.
The adopted resolution leaves the option for students to remain in the distance learning model for the remainder of this school year and also calls for schools in the district to be open for in-person instruction five days a week for the 2021-2022 school year.
Not included in the resolution are any specific plans for the 2021-2022 school year or an option for students to remain in distance learning for the coming school year.
“I think this is a big move in support of our students,” Trustee Michael Allman said. “I am 100% supportive of this resolution.”
The lone no vote on the resolution came from Trustee Kristina Young whose hesitation to support the resolution stemmed from worries the board might use it to force students to attend five days a week before the end of the school year.
“As board members, we’re supposed to look at all the students. I just want to put some safeguards out there to make sure for the remainder of the year to assure them that we do have all the interest of our students at heart,” Young said.
Public sentiment continues to be mixed on the topic with some, like Justin Davis, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy, not convinced that the board is doing all they can to keep the teachers and students safe.
“I would like to stress the importance for a distance-learning option for students who aren’t necessarily comfortable going back at this time or at any time in the near future. You can’t just go mindlessly galavanting about like nothing is wrong in the middle of a pandemic,” Davis said. “These parents keep going on about what the students want but they refuse to take into account the students themselves. I believe my voice speaks for so many students when I say that we need to take this pandemic seriously when it comes to reopening.”
District resident Lisa Ritchie expressed her support for the resolution as well as her negative thoughts about the virtual learned model used by San Dieguito Union.
“We need five days, we need the old bell schedule and pre-pandemic instructional hours reinstated. I just want to say the virtual model has really impacted our kids negatively on a number of fronts,” she said.
Board President Mo Muir and Allman attempted to convince Young to vote yes and make the support for the resolution unanimous, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
“I’m not sure what else we can do. I just wish we were all cohesive,” Trustee Melisse Mossy said of the vote.
Carrie Su, a student member of the board from Canyon Crest Academy shared her thoughts from a student perspective before she voted no on the resolution.
“Today I want to ask the board to consider equity. This board and all of us student representatives, we serve to provide all students with a quality education and this means all students,” she said. “By choosing to go back to four days a week after spring break where students may be traveling, we are driving a deeper wedge between in-person learners and remote learners.”