SDUSD Walks Back Plans to Close Schools on Nov. 12 After Parent Pushback

School will be optional on Friday, Nov. 12 for students in the San Diego Unified School District, which stepped back plans to close schools on that day following criticism.

The district made the announcement on Nov. 5, a day after interim Superintendent Lamont Jackson said that staff members were planning to ask the school board to approve Nov. 12 as a mental health day off for students and employees, the La Jolla Light reported over the weekend.

The news that Nov. 12 could be a day off for the district prompted concerns and criticism from parents. Some parents said trying to find last-minute child care could do more harm to their families’ mental health than good.

In an email to parents on Nov. 5, Jackson said that “we’ve heard from many families that appreciated the opportunity to focus on mental health and wellness. Others expressed concerns about their ability to find adequate child care solutions on such short notice.”

“After careful consideration,” Jackson wrote. “We have decided to keep our classrooms open next Friday. All students will be welcome at school on Nov. 12.”

However, any students who take Nov. 12 off will have their absence marked as excused, Jackson added.

If students do take that Friday off, it will create a four-day weekend since SDUSD schools will already be closed for Veterans Day on Thursday, Nov. 11.

District officials described the day off recommendation as a way for families and teachers to cope with the stress of returning to in-person learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, some parents balked at the idea and questioned the actual reasoning behind the day off. For example, one person posted to social media what appeared to be a message from a district staff member stating that staffing shortages were the main reason for the closure.

About the author: Mike Peterson is a freelance journalist and writer based in North San Diego County. He’s written and worked for a number of local media outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North Coast Current, and the Oceanside Blade.

Note: The banner photo of La Jolla High School for this article is courtesy of VoiceOfSanDiego.org.

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