Downey Unified School District reopens in-person learning for elementary schools

Downey Unified School District plans to reopen in-person learning for grades K-5th on March 29, 2021. They hope to send all grades back to school before the end of the year.

Courtesy of Downey Unified School District

Downey Unified School District plans to reopen in-person learning for grades K-5th on March 29, 2021. They hope to send all grades back to school before the end of the year.

Samuel Carey

Downey Unified School District plans to reopen in-person learning for K-5 graders on March 29. Dr. John Garcia, superintendent of DUSD posted on the district website that he and the school board are still working on a reopening plan to send secondary schools back to campus.

Dr. Garcia and California School Board Association member Dr. Mark Morris led a town hall on March 3 to discuss the district’s reopening plan. Morris began the meeting by addressing the questions that parents had about reopening in-person learning.

According to Dr. Garcia, 83% of 5th grade families responded to the district’s plan to reopen.

Garcia said 55% of the parents wanted their kids to actually return to campus, while the other 45% of the parents wanted their kids to continue remote-learning.

Dr. Garcia explained that the plan to send 12th graders back to campus is on hold because Coronavirus cases are spiking. He discussed how the Los Angeles County of Public Health will not allow more students to return to campus.

Garcia says Downey is in the purple tier, which means the virus is still widespread.

Garcia discussed the class of 2021, saying, “Seniors, don’t think for one minute that I have forgotten about you guys, we will continue to work to get you back on campus.”

When Downey is in the “Red tier” students may come back on campus, however, it is not guaranteed that all students will return to campus by the end of the school year.

Sports were a main topic of question during the meeting, with parents and students concerned if sports would be cancelled for the rest of the year.

Garcia announced that boys & girls basketball practice and games will continue.

Dr. Garcia noted that he appreciates the support from the Board of Education, Downey Unified School District, and the parents of the community for being so cooperative during this time of need.

“Everyone understands why this is difficult because no one expected this pandemic to go on like this,” Garcia says.

The superintendent wants things to go back to normal as they were, but the virus has to be under control.

Morris closes out the meeting by saying, “What makes Downey great is that we are a family and we love each other to give the best education for our children as possible.”

He very much agrees with Garcia and the message of their reopening plan on March 29.