August 14, 2020

OPINION: Schools cannot reopen on their own; a national crisis requires a national response

By Cindy Marten, superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District

What’s most striking about the national response to the COVID-19 crisis is that there isn’t one. On issue after issue, states and local authorities have been left to fend for themselves.

For school districts like San Diego Unified, that has meant creating our own health and safety standards to protect our students, staff and community. On Monday, we will announce the results of that work. Tapping into some of the best scientific minds in the field, we have worked with experts from the University of California, San Diego, to create the San Diego Unified standard for reopening schools in the safest possible manner.

Moving beyond the maze of confusing and contradictory standards released by every level of government, we have created a clear road map for the route ahead. Many of the requirements are well known – masks, social distancing and the ready availability of testing.

Despite all our efforts as a school district, we cannot do it alone. The mitigations outlined above are not only necessary, but expensive. A federal relief package needs to include direct relief to schools to support the implementation of the health and safety standards we know will protect our students, teachers and staff.

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