San Diego City College / Photo by Megan Wood

Community colleges in San Diego County are stepping into the housing game thanks to a flurry of state legislation aimed at providing funds to support such efforts. Some of the legislation is still in the works, but SB 169, which awards both planning and construction grants to community colleges, is already paying off.

Schools in every community college district in the county received grants ranging from $155,000 to $812,000 to fund the planning of housing on or near campuses. This is a far cry from the dollars needed to actually build that housing, but officials say it’s an exciting step. 

Some colleges, like San Diego City College, are working toward specific projects, while others like Palomar College are still figuring out what’s needed and where it will go. 

But providing new housing isn’t cheap and colleges will have to find a way to pay for it. 

Some of that may end up coming from SB 169 construction grants — all of the schools plan to apply to receive some of the more than $360 million available for construction over the next two years — but even that pot isn’t big enough to fund all of the projects in their entirety. So colleges are trying to figure out where the rest of that money may come from and everything from partnerships with developers to additional grants to bond measures are on the table.

Read more about the housing projects at local community colleges here.

Don’t Want to Wear a Mask? Don’t Come to School, Says Board Member

With COVID cases and hospitalizations on the rise, San Diego Unified is enforcing a new mask mandate. And for those who aren’t comfortable or can’t wear a mask, the district’s board president had a tough message: Don’t come back.

In an interview with KUSI News, board president Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said students who don’t want to wear a mask should plan on attending online school via Zoom. What about students who want to go to in-person classes and are already attending summer school, the interviewer asked her.

“They should make it known they don’t feel comfortable and at that point not return,” said Whitehurst-Payne.

“I’m struggling to understand why a school leader would put out this exclusionary message in any context,” tweeted education journalist Anya Kamenetz. “We know that many of the kids who have trouble tolerating/complying with masks have special needs and also have trouble benefiting from online school.”

As Kamenetz pointed out, and educators have frequently acknowledged, students are more likely to fall behind and languish in online school.

In a letter sent home to parents, San Diego Unified officials did not say whether there might be any exceptions to the new mask mandate. During previous mask mandates, special needs students who were not able to wear a mask were not able to attend school in person.

In Other News 

This Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Lisa Halverstadt and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Megan Wood and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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