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San Dieguito teachers push back against January reopening date

Brown said teachers want a temporary restraining order to be issued by the courts.

ENCINITAS, Calif. — Teachers in San Dieguito Union High School District are still pushing back against schools reopening in January. Late last week, the union filed a lawsuit against the district to prevent teachers and students from going back into the classroom as COVID-19 cases skyrocket.

It was just last week that the students staged a protest to express their desire not to go back into the classroom next month. Now, the teachers are staging their own protest and taking the district to court.

Some San Dieguito teachers and students are supposed to return to in-person instruction, which could happen as early as January 4. But on Friday, teachers filed a lawsuit to try and to stop that from happening.

“We felt that the district was reopening schools unlawfully in the midst of the deadliest part of the pandemic,” said Duncan Brown, the San Dieguito Faculty Assoc. President.

The district held a special closed-door, board meeting Tuesday afternoon. Brown said public comments were allowed in the beginning but afterwards, the Board President came out to announce that no further action would be taken.

“I think that teachers need to be prepared to go back on January 4, and I’m not sure when this will go in front of a judge as well,” Brown said.

News 8 requested a statement from the San Dieguito Union High School District but did not receive it as of Tuesday evening.

Brown said teachers want a temporary restraining order to be issued by the courts. In the meantime, he said some teachers have the option to continue working remotely if they or family members have pre-existing conditions. Only 25% of students will attend class in-person each day, but teachers will be in class for four days a week. 

Even with the reduced student population, Brown said teachers have serious concerns about coronavirus spreading.

“With high school and middle school schedules, it’s not cohorting," said Brown. "So, they will change classes up to four or five times a day, mixing with each other during those times, which again, is problematic from our viewpoint.”

When students return to class on January 4, they will be required to wear a mask and if a temporary restraining order is not granted to teachers by January 27, all students can return to in-person learning full time.