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San Diego Unified School District Trustee Richard Barrera speaks at press conference announcing school closures. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego schools have been working on an evolving plan that would allow students to return full time to classrooms in the fall, with some changes (think activities held in auditorium and gyms to allow kids more space). There is, however, a big catch, as Will Huntsberry breaks down in a new story: School officials say they won’t do it unless the state provides more money for schools than last year, not less, as the governor’s latest budget proposal envisions amid widespread cutbacks.

School board trustee Richard Barrera described what he thinks the crisis now requires of schools: “Schools need to hire one full-time nurse for each school. They need more counselors to deal with mental health fallout from the pandemic. They need more custodians to make sure schools have a deep clean regularly. They need to remake some physical spaces. Without those changes, going back to school simply isn’t safe, he said.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom has already floated pulling billions from reserves and says any more money would require an infusion of funds from the federal government. Senate Republicans, who will weigh the latest stimulus proposal, could be a major factor in determining whether San Diego kids will be learning in schools or at the kitchen table this fall.

There was a letter: Six of the largest school districts in the state sent a letter to the state saying they could not “in good conscience risk the health and safety of our students and staff by returning to the classroom prematurely and without funding for the necessary precautions given the continued lack of a national testing program and a lack of clear understanding of the impacts of coronavirus on young people.”

In the letter, they also were asking for their funding to remain stable no matter how many students attend school (they would average the daily student funding they get over the last three years) and they want permission to do things like shorten the school year and hire retired teachers as substitutes.

Tijuana Shelter Is Teaching Girls to Code

Tijuana shelters for the past year have already been struggling with how to accommodate and help the migrants who’ve poured into the city as they await asylum proceedings in the United States. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown new anxieties and complications into the mix.

But, as Maya Srikrishnan writes in the latest Border Report, one shelter, with help from UC San Diego and the group Create Purpose, is moving forward with an educational program for migrant children that’s become a bright spot for those enrolled. The program is teaching seven girls between the ages of 8 and 14 how to code.

Tom Wong, the director of UCSD’s U.S. Immigration Policy Centersaid the organizations decided to focus on coding because they wanted to provide children with a tangible and desirable skill that could help them find asylum in the United States and then complete public school here. The pandemic forced the program to pivot to online learning, which Wong said has actually been a blessing in disguise because it means it could scale to other areas of the city.

Casinos Are Full (Just Not With Journalists)

Two local casinos reopened Monday despite objections from the governor and county officials. NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda noted that Viejas was at maximum capacity at 11 a.m. 

One person who was not inside: the Union-Tribune’s Lyndsay Winkley. The casino denied her entry after she identified herself as a reporter.

Jamul Casino, which had a soft reopening Monday, said it made the decision after a survey of its guests revealed “94 percent of respondents indicated that they would be comfortable coming back to the Casino when it re-opens.” 

More are set to reopen soon: “Sycuan Casino Resort will reopen Wednesday and Valley View Casino and Resort will open its doors on Friday,” NBC San Diego reports.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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