‘West Side’ outside? La Jolla High University play ‘is staying derailed’ by COVID-19 rule, upset backers say

Immediately after months of rehearsals and other preparations for its forthcoming output of “West Aspect Story,” the La Jolla Large College Theatre Arts Office has been explained to that indoor performances need to be moved outdoors because of to the current regional spike in COVID-19 coronavirus cases. The discover, which arrived 4 weeks prior to opening night, has several students and parents upset about what they contemplate unfair treatment method, and they are nervous the conclusion will jeopardize the clearly show.

La Jolla Large theater arts teacher Stacey Allen stated he acquired an e mail from the San Diego Unified College District’s Visual and Performing Arts Section late Jan. 28 stating that “we ended up no for a longer time allowed to perform our present indoors.”

The electronic mail followed a district announcement dated Jan. 10 and posted on the SDUSD internet site that states “district indoor things to do, functions and college dances are no for a longer time allowable centered on the amount of positive COVID-19 circumstance prices in San Diego County.”

Even so, athletics are authorized to continue on indoors, following a 2021 court ruling that allowed all large faculty athletics to resume.

Hector Jimenez, whose son Benjamin is in the La Jolla Superior manufacturing, explained to the La Jolla Light-weight that the theater division does not have the capability to stage the musical outdoor with only four weeks’ discover. “Our musical is being derailed,” he stated.

Jimenez wrote in a Jan. 31 e mail to Russ Sperling, director of SDUSD’s Visual and Doing Arts Office, that “our public school does not have an outside phase, an outdoor sound program or an outside lighting method, considerably significantly less the income to order any of this devices essential to transfer our manufacturing outdoors.”

Jimenez stated the theater department and its Drama Booster Club, a team of theater students’ mothers and fathers that supports the division as a result of fundraising and other assistance, have currently invested extra than $12,000 on the generation, which they planned to recoup from ticket sales.

Allen said “the predicament basically is not honest to the pupils at our faculty [who] have been functioning particularly really hard for the past 3 months, and to have it all taken absent at the very last minute is just a tragedy.”

“The most difficult point to settle for is that our athletes are allowed to engage in indoors with people in the stands, but our doing arts pupils are not,” he explained. “We all want our children to be safe, but all learners need to be addressed fairly and equally.”

Sperling explained to the Gentle that the position of the prohibition on indoor situations will be reconsidered Wednesday, Feb. 9.

He additional that he is not involved in the selection, but presented that coronavirus circumstance numbers are falling, “chances are fantastic that the LJHS production will be equipped to be held as prepared. Rehearsals are equipped to go on as they have been.”

Sperling pointed out that athletics are protected less than the court ruling that will allow their gatherings to carry on. “The district is subsequent that ruling and generating its decisions on all other indoor functions based on recommendations from the several governmental well being companies,” he reported.

La Jolla High School Drama Booster Club members discuss the future of the school's "West Side Story" production Jan. 31.

La Jolla Significant College Drama Booster Club members explore the future of the school’s “West Facet Story” output Jan. 31.

(Elisabeth Frausto)

Jimenez claimed he was educated in November that La Jolla Large could commence with the prepared musical indoors without having masks and with an viewers, adhering to the very same protocols as indoor sports.

The 50 solid and crew users for “West Aspect Story” have worn masks during rehearsals and are tested weekly at the university for the coronavirus, according to recent district rules.

Jimenez explained there have been no infections because of to participation in the rehearsals.

He added that the theater office programs added safeguards for the four scheduled performances amongst Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, March 5, like necessitating viewers customers to have on masks and present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a detrimental exam. It also strategies to lessen viewers capacity from 500 to 300, with open seats amongst groups, and set up air purifiers along the aisles.

Through a Jan. 31 Zoom conference of the booster club, Ken Grudko, a theater dad or mum and a pulmonary and vital treatment health practitioner, stated he is “deep into [COVID] protocols. … It is definitely outstanding and a demonstration of efficacy and safety that you seriously have not had an outbreak in the theater group during this peak of Omicron.”

He stated he would produce a letter to the district supplying epidemiological knowledge to assistance holding the performances indoors.

“We support our athletes,” Jimenez stated, “but the district’s actions are offensive. Theater is critical, at least for these 50 young ones.”

Allen questioned mom and dad to “keep implementing strain,” and the booster club agreed to have pupils and mom and dad compose letters to district officers and ask for to speak at the SDUSD board assembly Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The club also is considering legal action in opposition to the district if the play is not authorized indoors, mother or father Jim McInerney explained.

“We need to stand prepared to do no matter what it usually takes to help save the demonstrate,” Jimenez said. ◆