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CA pediatricians say students can safely return to the classroom

Over 500 pediatricians in San Diego and Imperial counties say they strongly support students going back to school in person.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Reopening schools across the state is a priority for Governor Newsom but some school districts and teachers are still pushing back on being in the classroom during the pandemic. Most people agree that kids need to be in school but it’s how to get that done that’s a source of contention between the Governor and some teachers but today the Governor found a new ally.

Over 500 pediatricians in San Diego and Imperial counties say they strongly support students going back to school in person. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the data shows that students can return to school with proper safety measures.

“When done right, with masks, and social distancing and good hand washing, schools are not a significant source of spread or starting of outbreaks of COVID-19,” said Jaime Friedman, a Pediatrician and a Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Friedman also says students’ mental and physical health is suffering because they’re not in school. In December, Governor Newsom laid out a $2 billion program offering more money per student to schools that reopen. But some teachers, especially teachers with older students, say they want to wait.

“There would be a lot more student mixing on those campuses. So, I think that’s why many middle school and high school teachers are wanting the vaccine before they go back to school,” said Corinna Kitchen, an elementary school teacher with Poway Unified School District.  

With or without a vaccine, there are teachers who say they want to return. Teachers in Oceanside held a rally Tuesday, while accusing the district of not working hard enough to get students back on campus. Friedman said vaccinations may give some teachers the sense of safety they need.

“I would very much advocate for teachers getting vaccinated sooner rather than later,” Friedman said. 

Board Supervisor Nathan Fletcher says the county will continue to vaccinate seniors which make up 90% of COVID-19 deaths. He says teachers and police will be vaccinated in the next tier.