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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

'We wanted to make a difference' | Poway students weigh in on reopening plans

A task force of Poway high school students put out a 24-page report detailing what it found, as well as what it recommended.

POWAY, Calif. — As districts throughout San Diego County finalize plans for the upcoming school year, students in Poway Unified are giving their input when it comes to reopening schools.

A group of Poway high school students formed a task force to address the reopening of schools.

"We wanted to make a difference," said one student.

While some students view summer as a time to forget about school, Lili Olah and Daniel Shaw are doing the exact opposite.

"We feel that because the district's primary purpose is to serve the community of students that students should have an opportunity to present a comprehensive reopening plan of our own," said Shaw.

The soon-to-be Westview High School seniors helped create the Poway Unified School District Coronavirus Response Student Task Force.

Together, with other students, they developed a survey asking both parents and students throughout the district about their input related to reopening schools.

"[It was] to show them that we have an input into everyone's education and safety," said Olah.

In total, they received about 1,000 responses.

Using that information, as well as their own research, they put out a 24-page report detailing what they found, as well as what they recommend.

"If local conditions do allow reopening - and of course it's dependent on what local conditions look like - then we will be conditionally in favor of reopening," said Shaw.

RELATED: What's the plan for each school district in San Diego County this fall?


Initially, the task force opposed a delayed reopening date. Poway Unified was scheduled to start August 19. That's since been pushed back to September 2.

Shaw said the group now supports the move but has a number of recommendations. For starters, with the school year starting virtually, it would like:

-online classes capped at 20 students to help with performance

-screen time breaks should be enforced

Based on survey results, some other suggestions include:

-providing resources to help seniors with the college admissions process

-ensuring families who can't care for their children at home have alternative options

"If it's possible to have schools reopen only for those students while maintaining as much social distancing as possible, then that is something we could look into," said Shaw.

The Task Force has presented its report to the Poway Unified School Board.

"Our students' proactive stance in offering recommendations regarding PUSD reopening plans is to be commended and is much appreciated," a district spokesperson told News 8.

There will be a Poway Unified virtual Q&A session on Thursday night, which you can watch here.

RELATED: Proposal made to allow waivers for in-person learning in San Diego Unified School District