A view of homes in Bay Park along Clairemont Drive. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

For the last few months, while health systems and insurance policies had differing standards in order to get COVID-19 tests, San Diego county had essentially no bar for its testing sites. You didn’t need to have symptoms, and you didn’t need a doctor’s referral. But that’s changed.

Because of shortages, the county is now prioritizing people who have symptoms as well as those who are high-risk or who are frontline workers. This local update — which seems to reflect national confusion about testing and approaches to coronavirus — touches a lot of other things as folks scramble to plan life.

If you’ve been following the VOSD podcast you know what we have to talk about now. Schools.

San Diego Unified School District sent a shockwave through the state this week when it announced the school year will begin in an online-only format.

Hosts Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby in this week’s podcast, unraveled the increasingly sticky complex of district-by-district decisions on what to do about putting kids in classrooms.

Inequity Update: Yeah, It’s Everywhere

This week, VOSD reporters unleashed three stories that told different angles of the same story. In San Diego, there are major systemic inequities that hurt Black residents.

Coronavirus citations to Black residents wildly outpaced their share of the population, educators are discussing solutions to the longtime inequities in suspension rates and a disproportionate number of people experiencing homelessness are Black.

Keatts and Libby review these stories in this week’s podcast.

One for the Land Use Nerds

On the second half of the show, housing advocate Ricardo Flores, director of LISC San Diego and frontman for “SD 50,” spoke with Keatts about a major plan he’s pushing the city of San Diego to adopt: end mandated single-family home zoning.

Flores argues that San Diego’s current system, which provides few options on how one can manage chunks of land, holds our neighborhoods in states of division that ensure segregation.

Ending the “mandated” portion of this zoning rule, Flores says, could open up the land to be used in more ways and effectively create “middle class housing,” providing more opportunities to people of color and those who can’t afford a half-million-dollar home.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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