Approve Indoor Arts Performances Across San Diego Unified School District


Approve Indoor Arts Performances Across San Diego Unified School District

This petition made change with 1,758 supporters!
Petition to
The San Diego Unified School District

Why this petition matters

Started by Benjamin Jimenez

In early November, the school district informed our theatre arts teacher at La Jolla High School that we could proceed with our planned spring musical, West Side Story.  The students would be allowed to perform in the school theatre without masks and with an in-person audience for the first time since February of 2020.  As a condition, the students would be required to follow the same protocols as those followed by indoor sports, specifically basketball and wrestling, and submit to weekly testing at the school.  

Based on this policy, our theatre department moved ahead with plans for the production, incurring over $12,000 in expenses (with funds primarily raised by students to be recaptured in ticket sales), casting students, and conducting +10 hours of after-school rehearsals every week.  Students in the cast and production crew have been tested for COVID every Wednesday on campus at La Jolla High School.  Four performances have been scheduled between February 24 and ending March 5 and tickets have been sold. In addition, the following plans to protect the cast, crew and audience have been established:

1.       Audience members would be required to provide either vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test to enter the theatre;

2.      The number of seats available would be reduced from 500 to 300;

3.      Open seating between each group of attendees would be required;  and

4.      Air purifiers would be placed along the sides of the isles in the audience to keep the air clean.   

Please note, these precautions have been successfully implemented by professional theaters here in San Diego. 

In spite of all of these efforts, which are well in excess of anything required for indoor athletics, the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) office of the San Diego School District informed our theatre arts teacher this past Friday, 26 days before the curtain goes up on our first show, that the West Side Story production had to be moved outdoors.  Our public school does not have a stage, sound or lighting system to accommodate a musical theatre production outside – much less the money required to purchase such equipment.  The reality is that such a last minute change in policy would obliterate the ability of our high school to present West Side Story this year. 

In contrast, the surge in COVID infections has not prompted any change in district policy regarding indoor athletics.  Basketball games and wrestling matches continue indoors without interruption – as they should.  Athletes continue to play indoors without masks but with masked spectators --- as they should.  At the same time, the performing arts in our schools also need to be supported, not suppressed, by unnecessary and inequitably applied COVID policies. 

On February 9, the school board members will have the chance to change their minds, and we need the support of THE ENTIRE COUNTY. Please sign this petition and share it to show the school board that the arts are ESSENTIAL TOO. #Let us perform! #The show must go on!


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