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San Diego school district forced to quarantine 100 students, staff days after return to in-person learning

San Diego school district forced to quarantine 100 students, staff days after return to in-person learning
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More than 100 students and faculty at a San Diego school were forced to enter quarantine this week just days after returning to in-person learning.

On Tuesday,Escondido Union School District sent 8,700 students back to school for on-campus instruction, according to a release from the district obtained by The Hill.

The students, spread across 500 hybrid-model classrooms across 23 campuses, were divided into groups that attended school for in-person learning at staggered times. 

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Within two days of retuning back to in-person learning, however, the district recorded 17 positive cases of the coronavirus. According to the release, "Eight of those individuals came to campus in an infectious state."

By Thursday evening, 81 students and 15 staff members were placed under a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

As of Friday night, 26 positive cases were recorded in the school district, and the number of individuals in quarantine jumped to 116, the New York Times reports.

The district noted that none of the coronavirus cases were confirmed to have been transmitted while students were on campus.

At any given time, there is a maximum of 12 students in a classroom at both the elementary and middle school levels. Face masks are mandatory at all times, as well as other health and safety precautions including social distancing and temperature checks, according to the Escondido Union School District.

"Safety continues to be our top priority as we work to provide education and support for our families during this pandemic," Superintendent Dr. Luis Rankins-Ibarra said.

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Rankins-Ibarra said the district has been implementing "very strict health and safety standards" and have taken "every precautionary measure," but that ultimately they "cannot control the environments off campus."

Having to quarantine so early in the process of reintroducing in-person learning is frustrating and concerning, however, "We believe that we can sustain on-campus instruction in the hybrid model," Rankins-Ibarra said.

The San Diego area has experienced a slight reprieve in coronavirus cases after a sharp spike earlier in the year. However, the area's average number of cases per 100,000 people remains at 40, according to The New York Times tracker. The figure is higher than the state's overall average, which sits at 37 cases per 100,000 people.