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The school district has also committed to offering extended learning opportunities this summer. File photo
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San Marcos Unified announces preliminary reopening plans for next year

SAN MARCOS – The San Marcos Unified School District board recently discussed preliminary plans for in-person learning in the next school year, which includes returning all students back to campus five days a week.

The district’s board held a special meeting at the end of last month and said that they plan on returning elementary, middle and high school students to the classroom on a fairly regular schedule starting in the fall of 2021.

The announcement comes shortly after the district decided to offer in-person learning for middle and high school students two days a week for the remainder of the current school year.

The district’s elementary students who chose a hybrid-learning option have been attending in-person classes two days a week since October, while this is the first time in a full year that middle and high school students have been on campus.

The expansion of in-person learning coincides with a lawsuit filed against the state by a group of parents from local North County school districts with the help of the Parent Association of North County in an effort to get students back to in-person learning.

San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is one of the named defendants in the lawsuit.

Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland, who’s presiding over the ongoing lawsuit, issued an order March 17 prohibiting the state’s enforcement of certain COVID-related restrictions and compelling districts listed as defendants “to reopen their schools for in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible at the earliest practicable time.”

However, Dr. Tiffany Campbell, interim superintendent of San Marcos Unified, said the district’s plans for a return to in-person learning were in place prior to the lawsuit.

“The judge’s ruling did not affect the district’s ongoing safe return to school plans that were already in motion,” Dr. Campbell said. “From the time our schools closed due to the pandemic, our goal has always been the safe return to in-person learning for our students to the greatest extent possible when circumstances and state guidelines allowed for it.”

The district has also committed to offering extended learning opportunities for students this summer and before/after school during the 21/22 school year to ensure students are on track with grade-level expectations.

“The board and district leadership is in an incredibly difficult situation; navigating through changing rules and trying to serve their constituents. It is impossible to meet everyone’s needs,” said Sandra Greefkes, a SMUSD parent. “It means so much to so many even if only two days a week for secondary students. We look forward to our kids returning to school in August and are very supportive that the district has started planning for the next school year already.”