COVID Quarantines Challenge Operational Efficiency
December 7, 2020
The Escondido Union School District is implementing a temporary suspension of in-person instruction in the hybrid model and extended care.
This suspension is effective Tuesday, December 8, 2020, through Monday, January 11, 2021. Students will follow the Virtual Hybrid Model schedule at home. This shift results in an additional 11 days of remote instruction. In-person instruction will resume Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution, as well as out of a commitment to providing a rigorous educational program for our students. We know this decision directly impacts our families, we know that it’s far from ideal, but this was the right decision at this time,” said Dr. Luis Rankins-Ibarra, EUSD superintendent. “The operational efficiency of our schools is essential to the safety and health of our students and staff, which has been and will continue to be my top priority.”
Once a positive case is confirmed, extensive contact tracing is conducted by EUSD staff to identify all individuals who came in close contact with the positive individual. Those individuals are directed to begin a 14-day quarantine. Exposure to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and were in attendance on an EUSD campus while in an infectious state has resulted in the quarantine of 193 students and 37 employees in December so far, and a total of 655 students and 151 employees since September 28.
“Ensuring sufficient, high-quality staffing is a daily struggle in this situation,” Dr. Rankins-Ibarra said. “This includes teachers, substitute teachers, health technicians, custodians, aides, and other staff members, all of whom fill vital roles. That compromises safety for our children and employees. We can’t provide a quality in-person educational experience if we don’t have the staff.”
New positive cases alone over the weekend resulted in the need to quarantine more than 120 students and staff members.
The suspension of in-person instruction is not related to the state’s new three-week Stay Home Order. However, the increase in community cases and the impact on EUSD schools has reached a point where the operational efficiency of schools could compromise the safety and health of our students and staff, and compromise the district’s ability to provide a consistent, quality educational program. This shift to a virtual hybrid schedule ensures that our students have access to their assigned teachers and support staff, who will be able to provide a continuous and cohesive learning experience both before and following the winter break.
During this time, school offices will be staffed to receive calls and emails for site-specific support and technology issues. School principals will schedule and communicate with families about any needed distribution of learning materials. EUSD’s Nutrition Services team will continue to distribute no-cost, to-go meals during the temporary suspension of on-campus instruction. Food will be available according to the community feeding schedule: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at all school sites through December 18. During winter break, meal distribution will take place at Mission Middle School, and Central, Farr, Felicita, Glen View, Juniper, and Lincoln elementary schools. Distribution will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the following dates: December 21, December 23, December 28, December 30, January 4, and January 6.