San Diego County

School District Preparing for Potential Long-Term School Closures

SDUSD says the steps will save the academic year for students worried about getting enough credits to graduate and parents concerned about a lost academic year

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San Diego Unified School District is taking steps to transition to distance learning for all students, where educators teach students remotely. The district says the move will save the academic year for students in the state’s second-largest school district.  

When students come back from Spring break on April 6, there will be a “soft launch” of distance learning to a fully online program that will begin April 27. That is when students will begin to be graded.

“The issue with grades is obviously, we can’t grade assignments when some students have access to material, and some don’t. That’s the equity piece,”  said Board Trustee, Richard Barrera.

Barrera said every student in the district has a computer, but the computers are stored at schools. Some students already have access to computers and the internet at home, but Barrera said the district anticipates it will have to get 40,000 other students each a laptop with Wi-Fi hot spots.

Computers will have to be cleaned, hooked up with Wi-Fi and then distributed. Students likely will be given certain times and places in their neighborhoods to pick up their computers.

Distribution at that scale is challenging because we can’t have large groups of students come at any one time at one point.

Richard Barrera, SDUSD Board Trustee

Eva Glick, the mother of a kindergarten boy, says she’s been working from home, while also helping her son with school.

“I’m excited we will have more structure and more support at home,” said Glick. “But there’s also fear and anticipation, not knowing what it’s going to be like, how much work is going to be required of parents still working from home.”

Kisha Borden, the president of the San Diego Education Association, and the teacher’s union, said she hopes there is a safe and effective way to roll out the distance learning, given the challenges. She is concerned about students not having the parental support they need at home, and educators having to take care of their own families at home.

Still, she said teachers understand the situation, and are on board.

Barrera said people are focused.

“We don’t have time to be overwhelmed. We have to focus on what we can actually do, and I think that’s the spirit we all have right now.”

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