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You are being overwhelmed with information right now. We all are. 

Thursday, several county and city leaders gathered for a major update on the global pandemic and its reach into San Diego society. They had one big piece of news: They have a case now where someone appears to have gotten the new coronavirus from an unknown source in the community itself. 

To help you sift through all of this, we produced a simple guide to all the guidance government officials have laid out — from the county to schools to border authorities. We will keep updating that link. 

What Do You Want to Know?

Our staff met to talk about what our role is as we watch the United States enter an unprecedented disruption. We are a fiercely local investigative news entity, which makes situations like, say, global pandemics, interesting journalistic dilemmas.

We came up with several ideas of things to investigate and how to explain the local impacts and issues.

But we want to hear from you. What are you concerned about? What do you not understand? What have you heard? What have you experienced? Fill out this form to tell us. Or email us at vosdinfo@gmail.com.

Schools Are Open … for Now

San Diego schools are open but district leaders face a stark and difficult choice. If schools want to have any chance of helping slow the spread of coronavirus, they may have to make decisions about closure sooner than they would like, writes Will Huntsberry in the latest Learning Curve.

More than 4.7 million K-12 students are currently out of school due to closures, but none of San Diego County’s 43 school districts have shut down.

“The time to close would be when we really start to see transmission in San Diego,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital. “If you’re going to make this decision to close, you want to make it very early on as [transmission] starts to happen.”

“The science of COVID-19 is clear: the best way to protect the communities we serve is to limit the opportunities for this virus to spread,” San Diego Education Association President Kisha Borden said in a statement to the U-T.

More Coronavirus Updates

  • A Miramar Marine who recently returned from leave in Washington state tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday. (KGTV)
  • The Old Globe has announced that it will suspend public performances effective immediately and at least through the end of March. All community-based programming through its Department of Arts Engagement will also be temporarily suspended.
  • University of San Diego students must move out of their dorms by March 22 due to the virus. (Union-Tribune) The university’s president announced Thursday that Friday would be the last day of in-person instruction and classes would move online next week.
  • Princess Cruises has canceled all of its cruises departing from San Diego for the next two months, according to the San Diego Unified Port District. No other cruise operators have taken that step. (Union-Tribune)
  • University of San Diego economist Alan Gin warns that San Diego’s economy is already threatened by the virus, not just because of hits to the tourism industry, but also because of the possibility that President Donald Trump will push for further limitations on the border. (KPBS)
  • Meanwhile, the San Diego Zoo is … open.

Yet Another Hurdle for Measure C

The long-running campaign to raise hotel taxes to fund a Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road repairs remains just shy of the required two-thirds threshold in the county registrar’s latest vote tallies.  

The Measure C campaign’s longtime backup plan has been to pursue a legal challenge to argue the measure needed just a simple majority to pass because it’s a citizens’ initiative rather than one placed on the ballot by city.

But a former deputy city attorney who helped craft an earlier version of the initiative says that backup plan has a fatal flaw.

Attorney Brant Will told VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt he believes that the initiative language giving the City Council the go-ahead to issue up to $2 billion in bonds for the expansion, homeless programs and road repairs means it requires a two-thirds vote for that authorization too.

“They made a mistake,” Will said.

The Measure C campaign disagrees and argues it’s got a strong case to take to court if it chooses. Other attorneys also differ on the impact of the bond authorization included in the measure.

Mayoral Election Update

Both Wednesday and Thursday, the County Registrar of Voters counted 7,000 of the county’s remaining provisional ballots. And both Wednesday and Thursday, Councilwoman Barbara Bry closed Councilman Scott Sherman’s lead over her for the second spot in November’s mayoral runoff election by about 80 votes. 

The county has 70,000 provisional votes remaining. If the trend of the last two days continues — and there’s no assurance it will, since there’s no assurance each batch of provisional ballots are similar — Bry will eventually turn her 678 vote deficit against Sherman into a 122 vote victory.

A more scientific way to describe the situation is that it is really damn close, and we’ll have to wait another week or so to know who is in the November runoff against Assemblyman Todd Gloria.

Sweetwater Teacher Reacts to Potential Layoffs

Amid an ongoing budget crisis, the Sweetwater Union High School District school board voted to close a dozen learning centers dedicated to struggling students and possibly lay off 237 employees last month.

Jessica Macias, a Castle Park High School teacher who received a pink slip this week, tells us in a new op-ed about how she developed her passion for teaching and argues that cuts need to come from the top to limit the direct impact on students.

“Our district motto is to put students first, but when will we actually start doing that?” she writes.

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, Andrew Keatts and Lisa Halverstadt and edited by Scott Lewis.

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