escondido schools covid
A Bear Valley Middle School student works on a class assignment. The Escondido Union School District offers hybrid-model in-classroom at all campuses during the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

School is back (sort of). This week, San Diego Unified — the largest school district in the region — opened up for in-person learning. This is the first time some students have had a normal classroom experience in more than a year. And it was just a matter of hours before the district announced its first positive COVID-19 case.

The district is requiring all students to wear a mask on campus, indoors and outdoors; all staff must either be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. And while the district is offering remote learning options, most students are back in person.

Also back this week is our Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools. It’s a tool we furnish every year to help parents make informed decisions for their kids’ education. When we first started putting it together this year, we were totally stumped. But it’s available now — and it’s our best ever.

On this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts discuss some of the biggest findings in this year’s guide, including a new analysis that accounts for poverty levels. A big takeaway from that study was charter schools that operate mostly online continually underperform.

But What About the Bitchin’ Sauce Guy?

Ryan Smith, who helped cook up the idea for local San Diego delicacy Bitchin’ Sauce, was among the many who commented against a resolution by the county to declare COVID-19 misinformation a public health crisis.

The resolution passed 3-2 this week. On the show, Lewis and Keatts review the intriguing history of the San Diego dip and its family and what these residents may really be after in these now-frequent demonstrations at the Board of Supervisors.

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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

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