The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

December 16 Board Meeting Update

This is a continuation of successive Board Meeting updates.

Carlsbad Unified School Board decided to push the re-opening date to Jan. 25 in their last board meeting of 2020. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution for students and staff and was based on recent health updates.

The image illustrates the current COVID-19 update across the state of California. The board decided to push back the opening date due to an abrupt rise in COVID-19 cases and ICU capacity in the San Diego region. (Photo by Bella Niems)

Middle and high school levels will not make a hybrid return until the planned Jan. 25 date which is the fourth time the school board has pushed the opening date. Elementary levels are planned to make a full five day return on Jan. 25 and possibly sooner if staff believes that the conditions are safe.  

“I was torn because we have done so much in preparation, but we have made commitments to the community that we would make the schools as safe as we possibly could, and especially to our staff. Now we have people [in] quarantine, students home sick, and we have classrooms going out” stated newly elected board president Claudine Jones.

Jones continued to say that the situations taking place within the Carlsbad schools are a reflection on what is taking place in the community, and in order to mitigate the spread and infections happening on schools’ campuses, the best decision is to push back the re-opening date. 

Despite this data, some of the trustees did oppose this idea.

“I don’t want to put a timeline or date when it [reopening] actually could be sooner.” explained Trustee Veronica Williams. 

Based on this, and like minded comments from Trustee Pearson and an undecided trustee, the board decided to make an amendment to the original proposition.

This amendment was constructed by Trustee Kathy Rallings in an attempt to get an agreement from all trustees. 

The amendment stated that there was a possibility that primary school could return sooner if staff believed they would be returning in a completely safe environment. The Board then voted in a 5-0 ruling in favor of the amended proposition.

The graph demonstrates the number of students and staff currently with COVID-19 or quarantined due to close contact. Within the week leading up to winter break, the number of COVID-19 cases nearly mirrored the total number of cases throughout the entire year. (Photo by Bella Niems)

The Board decided upon this based on the recent drastic rise in COVID-19 cases and within the sudden rise in cases on school campuses. Within a week period, from December 8 to December 16, seventeen students within the Carlsbad school district who have been on campus within the last week currently have COVID-19, causing over 200 students to quarantine due to possible close contact. Within this time frame, seven new staff members who have been on campus have also contracted COVID-19 and have forced 37 staff members to either take a leave of absence or work remotely.

Superintendent Churchill as he did his COVID-19 updates, explained that the case numbers seem to be getting worse, and could even be harsher than the numbers they are seeing now after the winter break.

“‘ What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,’” Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top disease expert, said. 

This means that the case rise within the Carlsbad region could exponentially increase, even past the rate that residents are currently seeing. This could potentially be insight into the possibility that the planned Jan. 25 return may not be realistic either. 

The Board also was enlightened by Rick Grove, the CUSD assistant superintendent, that the district seems to be facing immense struggles when it comes to staffing. They have had several teachers and staff out at almost all schools and just this week they needed 35 substitutes on both Dec. 14 and 15, and nine requests went unfilled.

The image above showcases the number of substitute requests that wen unfulfilled. This data is seen as worrying as COVID-19 cases are on the rise and the need for substitute teachers are on the rise, but the district is seeming to fall short on the ability to fulfill these requests. (Photo by Bella Niems)

“Principals were in classes, we had other teachers at the secondary level…we filled in a number of ways, but one of the things we lose the ability to do when we transition an elementary to a full instruction, is we lose the ability to put kids into a class that may be unfilled,” Grove stated. 

Once elementary students go back full time, there will be no ability to shuffle students around, and secondary teachers will no longer be an option to fill those absent positions because they will be back in school as well. 

Recently there was a positive case in a preschool setting and the teacher and other staff members were forced to quarantine. This left the district with no alternative staffing accommodations which forced them to close the classroom and caused students to go without education for a period of time. 

Based on this information, the board will be meeting before the Jan. 25 proposed reopening date on Jan. 20,

and final decisions on a return to school plan will be made. Until these final decisions arrive, students patiently await what the end of their first COVID-19 induced school year will look like. 


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