San Dieguito district forms senior events committee

The class of 2020 had drive-through graduation ceremonies.

The class of 2021 has spent over half of their senior year away from school, missing out on all of the traditional and memorable experiences that come with the last year of high school. With the uncertainty of the pandemic over the next few months, many senior activities like prom, grad nights, trips, picnics and graduations are listed as TBD (to be determined).

At the Feb. 1 San Dieguito Union High School District special meeting, SDUHSD President Mo Muir established a subcommittee on senior events planning, to make sure no student misses out on celebrating this less-than-normal but no less important year. Muir proposed that the committee include board members Michael Allman and Melisse Mossy, site principals and a parent from each high school campus.

“I want to make sure it’s uniform within the district that everyone is getting everything that’s going on and the seniors do make some memories,” Muir said. “It’s really important that we move this along.”

Muir’s intent is that all students, no matter what school they attend, have equal opportunities for senior activities—each campus will be able to infuse their own school traditions. Mossy said she understands that principals have been hard at work planning for their seniors but the committee offers a way for parents to get involved to help and for all to collaborate and add creative ideas to the mix.

“A lot of the seniors are missing out on their activities,” said Zander Samarasinghe, the student board representative from Torrey Pines High School. Zander said senior events could really help with mental health and give students a boost—he loved the idea of including student voices so they could help create what they want to see in their last months of high school.

At the meeting, SDUHSD Deputy Superintendent Mark Miller took the time to acknowledge senior parents and students.

“This is not the senior year that they’ve hoped for but they really have persevered,” said Miller, a parent of a senior student himself. “I’m living it so I know it’s not easy.”

In an effort to improve communication surrounding the district’s expanded reopening efforts, on Feb. 1 Muir additionally established a new communication task force.

The new task force will include the two union representatives, board members Katrina Young and Allman, staff and members of the reopening steering committee. Muir encouraged more parent and student surveys and clearly and effectively getting information out to the community on what they are doing.

According to SDUHSD Superintendent Robert Haley, the district is ready to expand for general in-person instruction when the county gets out of the purple tier and into the red tier, which would require a reduction in case numbers. Per the California Department of Health guidance, the district is not permitted to reopen further until the county is out of the purple tier for five consecutive days.

“Our students need to be in classrooms, getting instruction and that’s what we continue to work toward,” Haley said.