Zora Williams / Photo courtesy of Zuri Williams

Zora Williams was a star student at Lincoln High, involved in countless clubs and applying to prestigious colleges across the country. 

During her senior year, she enrolled in an AP calculus class, only to see 13 of the 21 students drop the class. With only eight students left, leadership at Lincoln High decided to cancel the class after the first quarter, as Scott Lewis reports in a new story on Williams’ ordeal.

But when Wellesley College put her on its waitlist, Williams’ confidence plummeted, and she was unclear what alternative options the district had made available for her to complete the AP course she’d told colleges she’d be taking.

Richard Barrera, a San Diego Unified trustee, suggested during a town hall that it was actually a silver lining of distance learning that students at Lincoln and elsewhere would have increased access to AP classes. Williams’ story shows it’s more complicated than that.

Both Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, the school board member who represents the area, and Barrera acknowledged the school did not handle the situation well. Once the class had started, the school should have committed to letting the students finish what they started, they both said.

It’s actually not possible to imagine an AP class being shut down abruptly at Scripps Ranch High or many others,” Lewis writes.

But Williams’ story had a happy ending.

She was accepted at Spelman College, got back on track, and ended up enrolling at Cal Poly Pomona.

Surging Cases Put North County Schools’ Reopening Plans at Risk

If San Diego County’s COVID-19 numbers continue to surge, it’ll put school reopening plans across North County at risk, reports Kayla Jimenez. 

In her rundown of reopening dates, Jimenez highlights the mysterious departure of San Marcos Unified School District’s Superintendent Carmen Garcia. 

“After a great deal of reflection and due to personal reasons, I’d like to inform you that I will be leaving the district,” Garcia wrote in a letter to the district community. “I thank the Board for the amicable separation and for the opportunity to work together these past two years with phenomenal students, teachers, parents, staff, administrators, and the community at large.”

Numerous community members and parents expressed concern with the district’s reopening plans during recent school board meetings. Enrollment decreased at San Marcos Unified Elementary School District this year as parents opted for alternatives to distance learning amid COVID-19.

The Answer From Newsom Is: ‘No.’

San Diego may indeed be placed into tighter pandemic restrictions, after Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected the county’s request to exclude San Diego State University’s COVID-19 cases from its total.

Newsom settled the issue after county supervisors asked the state to discount SDSU’s high infection rate from the county total to avoid reverting back to restrictions on businesses and worship centers. 

Restaurants, worship centers, museums, movie theaters, hair and nail salons, barbershops, gyms and fitness centers could offer indoor services with capacity restrictions as of Aug. 31. That’s after the state rolled out a new system to measure COVID-19 cases and grade cities based on the level of risk. 

A reporter asked whether the governor would consider special exceptions like San Diego’s seeking. 

“The answer is no,” Newsom said, because those students and staff live out in the community and not “on an island.”

In Other News

  • Winter rains can be an ironically unwelcome visitor in zones touched by the Valley Fire. So the county will begin giving out free sandbags and other material to help property owners stabilize erosion. (CBS 8)
  • The latest budget estimates project the city of San Diego will be looking at a $300 million shortfall by next summer, including $48 million in lost hotel taxes, now that city officials have acknowledged that Convention Center activity is not going to resume in November, as they had assumed, and will wait until at least March, the Union-Tribune reported.
  • San Diego County has seen a 5 percent increase in its response rate for this year’s Census, since the last one was conducted 10 years ago. (City News Service)
  • The city selected a new head of its Ethics Commission, the city watchdog agency tasked with enforcing its ethics ordinance and rules around campaign donations and lobbying, ahead of the retirement of its longtime leader, Stacey Fulhorst. She’ll be replaced by Sharon Spivak, a deputy city attorney and former Union-Tribune reporter, if the City Council approves her appointment. (Union-Tribune)
  • O’Farrell Charter School has hired a new superintendent, after firing its previous leader after a misconduct allegation. (inewsource) 
  • To combat weak WiFi systems at home, San Diego County is studying the use of publicly owned spaces like libraries or parks and recreation facilities that could serve as learning hubs. (FOX 5)
  • In an effort to prevent wrong-way freeway crashes, the state’s transit agency plastered 30 novel “do not enter” banners across highway ramps. (FOX 5)

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts and MacKenzie Elmer, and edited by Sara Libby.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.