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Carlsbad Unified says 'no' to in-person learning, considers allowing kids to gather for clubs on campus

The school board presented what they call "distance learning 2.0 plus" for middle and high school students with "structured opportunities" for kids to meet on campus

CARLSBAD, Calif. — The Carlsbad Unified School District proposed a plan Wednesday that would add onto distance learning with what officials call "structured opportunities" for kids to meet on campus. But it's not the back-to-school plan many parents hoped for.

Dozens protested for the return of full time, in-person instruction.

“They're lost on the computer,” one parent said.

“Solitary confinement is a punishment,” said another.

But the school board had another idea they call "distance learning 2.0 plus"

“Our teachers and students are hitting their stride right now in terms of distance learning,” said Superintendent Benjamin Churchill.

Under the plan, middle and high school students would stay on virtual learning schedules but would be allowed to return to campus for clubs. This would include small, fixed cohorts of kids, "academic and athletic teams" for example, who would meet in person at specified times.

If it's hard to picture, the superintendent said, it's a work in progress.

“A critical question is how to track and monitor students on campus each day,” said Churchill.

No target dates had been set as of Wednesday. 

The proposal came a couple of weeks after the board approved a hybrid plan for elementary students. They’re set to return to campus next week, just twice a day. The other three days students will remain remote.

“We know a home education can be good but not equal, and the California constitution guarantees a public equal education to all," said parent Sharon Mckeeman.

The board turned down similar plans for middle and high school students to come back on a part-time schedule. Officials say one or two days of in-person instruction for that age group is simply too complicated.

Some parents agreed.

“Is a game of human ping pong really what we're looking at?” a parent caller said.