Teachers in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) are volunteering to teach unaccompanied migrant children in-person while San Diego residents remain in virtual learning environments.
San Diego County’s Office of Education has approved a program that would allow teachers to volunteer to instruct migrant children being held at the San Diego Convention Center, according to a report from Fox News. A county spokesperson told Fox News that the program will be available to children staying in the facility through July.
“The San Diego County Office of Education is providing the education program for the unaccompanied migrant children who will be staying at the San Diego Convention Center through July,” the spokesperson said. “All children in California, regardless of immigration status, have a constitutional right to education. We also have a moral obligation to ensure a bright future for our children.”
According to the county, the educational program will provide migrants with English language development opportunities and “social-emotional” learning tools. Teachers who participate in the programming are considered volunteers and allegedly do not get paid for their service.
The county told Fox News that the program is “following a COVID-19 screening protocol based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Programming will take place inside the San Diego Convention Center, which is being used to house minor immigrant children due to the dramatic influx of people arriving at the southern border.
The teaching program was made public via Twitter by San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond.
“The San Diego County Board of Education will be sending teachers for in-person learning for the migrant children at the convention center,” Desmond tweeted. “It’s great there’s in-person learning for them, I wish every child in San Diego County was allowed the same opportunity.”
The San Diego County Board of Education will be sending teachers for in-person learning for the migrant children at the convention center. It's great there's in-person learning for them, I wish every child in San Diego County was allowed the same opportunity.
— Supervisor Jim Desmond (@jim_desmond) March 29, 2021
Reopen California Schools, a parent advocacy group that aims to open California schools for in-person learning, emphasized the hypocrisy of allowing migrant children to be taught in-person while taxpaying families remain in virtual classrooms.
“Wait a minute … So you’re saying it is ok for San Diego teachers to teach in person … just not to San Diego children?”
Wait a minute… So you’re saying it is ok for San Diego teachers to teach in person… just not to San Diego children? https://t.co/jE56xYcQT3
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) March 29, 2021
The opportunity comes as San Diego students have remained in virtual school since last March. The SDUSD intends to move to a hybrid learning model — which would allow some students to come in one or two days a week for a few hours — beginning April 12.
Teacher unions have cited rising rates of coronavirus infections as a reason to keep school facilities closed. According to Fox 5 San Diego, coronavirus is spreading throughout the San Diego Convention Center. Thirty-seven of the unaccompanied minors have tested positive for the coronavirus. Another six tested positive for the virus shortly after coming in contact with the initial 37, and another four tested positive later in the day.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, none of the cases are serious, though all of them are symptomatic.