Assembly Member Todd Gloria hosted a telephone Town Hall with Superintendent Marten and Dr. Aliya Weise from San Diego High School to answer questions from parents, students and others. (Recorded April 10, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the formal launch of Distance Learning begin?
The formal launch occurs on April 27 for traditional-calendar schools, and May 11 for year-round schools.
What about year-round schools?
The Distance Learning soft launch for year round schools will begin Monday, April 27, with a formal launch on May 11. For more information about the soft launch, please review the Soft Launch FAQs.
What happens after the formal launch on April 27?
Formal graded assignments with standards-based instruction begins. Educators will begin to engage virtually with students, if they have not already been doing so. Teachers will assess students’ academic progress using a variety of sources, including projects, writing samples, videos, and observations of student learning, using tools like Zoom or Flip Grid.
What will students be expected to do?
All students who are able to access Distance Learning are expected to participate regardless of the grade they earned prior to schools closing. Students should begin the day prepared to learn. Elementary students will be expected to understand and demonstrate the learning objective for the day, engage in health and VAPA lessons with their peers, and work with their teacher and peers practicing strategies. Secondary students will engage in mini-lessons, participate in small group instruction with their teacher and peers to further their understanding of each subject, and take the initiative to meet with school staff during virtual office hours to help support their learning.
What type of work will my student have?
Expected workload and type of work varies by grade level. Students should expect a blend of screen time and off-screen time learning, interactions with educators using a mix of technology and virtual face-to-face instruction, small group support based on student need, and engagement with the class via a live Zoom meeting or pre-recorded videos.
How will students be tested and assessed?
Students will be tested and assessed through formative assessments including the work student is producing with feedback from the teacher.
How will students be graded?
Students will be graded through formative assessments including the work student is producing with feedback from the teacher. San Diego Unified has adopted a grade protection policy during distance learning, which means a students’ final grade will not be lower than what he/she had earned on March 13.
What does a typical day of Distance Learning look like?
There is no typical family and there are no typical students. Flexibility is important, as educators and families work together to support student learning with an understanding that students are not only learning content but are also developing their skills with new digital learning tools.
How many hours are reasonable for students to be engaging in online Zoom meetings?
Each student is different. Students will be working in unique situations and therefore, the amount of time online is going to vary. Families should speak with their teachers if they feel their student is getting too much -- or not enough -- online Zoom meeting time.
How will students access lessons?
Access to lessons varies by grade level:
Grades TK-2 will access lessons in Seesaw
Grades 2-12 will access lessons via Google classroom
Grades 6-12 could also use Google classroom or Canvas
If the classroom used Dojo or another platform before the school closure, the teacher may continue to use the same platform.
What is teacher availability outside lesson time?
Families should expect a contact from their teacher the week of the formal launch.
Educators may provide differentiated, small group support through phone calls or online meetings based on student need. Educators may offer online office hours and/or telephone feedback for students. Students who feel they need one-on-one dialogue with their teacher, may request a phone call, email, virtual online or video conference with their teacher.
Is my school counselor available?
Yes, school counselors will be offering direct student services. Counselors will be checking in with students, providing support to students in their academic progress, and having individual and group interventions.
Can I still access the lessons from the Soft Launch?
Yes. The links are still active.
Middle School students
High School students
What other types of learning are available?
TV remains a learning option for many families. San Diego Unified School District, KPBS and the San Diego County Office of Education have collaborated on a plan to provide for continuity of learning for all students. “At-Home Learning: Where Children Matter” includes a broadcast component with standards-aligned programming in blocks by grade level, and a digital component with access to an online library of free PBS educational resources. Click here for KPBS learning opportunities.
Are my college courses still available online?
All community college courses moved to an online format starting on March 23rd. Students need to access the SDCCD Canvas Login Page and will need to use their 10-digit College Student Identification (CSID) number and password, to access their coursework. Courses will remain online for the rest of the school year.
Advanced Placement tests
International Baccalaureate Program
The Internal Baccalaureate Program https://www.ibo.org announced that the May 2020 examinations are scheduled between April 30 and May 22 for the Diploma Programme. Career-related Programme candidates will no longer be held. Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work.
What do you have for the Arts?
San Diego Unified believes a foundation in the arts is essential for every student. Please review this online curriculum created by our Visual and Performing Arts professionals.
Special Education students
Families with children receiving special education services will have equal access to opportunities. We intend to provide students in special education with the same educational benefit available to every student at this time. We are working to develop a Distance Learning plan for each child, one that will help them continue to learn, while keeping them safe. An education specialist, case manager, or related service provider will consult and collaborate with parents/guardians in an effort to provide every child with access to curriculum and instruction. Plans will provide access and meaningful educational benefits through online learning opportunities. For more information regarding Special Education services, please visit this site.
As the District, schools, and educators engage in Distance Learning, lessons will include specific considerations to address appropriate supports and scaffolds necessary for language development as well as formative measures to note progress toward English proficiency. Planning for small group collaboration will be imperative for ELs to authentically practice language and receive feedback.
Will we still have state testing?
The California Department of Education has suspended all standardized testing, including the CAASP and the CAST.
What about college?
The University of California and California State University systems are relaxing some admissions requirements. Students applying to UC schools for the fall of 2020-2021 will not have to take a standardized entrance exam. UC and Cal State schools also are suspending any letter grades for students taking classes to get into college during the school closures and the resulting Distance Learning. Superintendent Thurmond has announced reassurances to high school and community college students facing admissions and placement challenges from the suspension of in-person learning, including reevaluating financial needs and suspension of SAT as part of fall 2021 admission for applicants who are currently high school juniors.
Proms and graduations
A task force made up of students from each high school will present their plan on May 1.
What is a graduation waiver?
Due to Emergency School Closure, a waiver can be submitted for students who are at risk of not meeting graduation requirements due to the following circumstances that may have occurred during the time of the school closure and/or during distance learning.
What are graduation waiver requirements?
Below are the graduation waiver requirements:
- Waivers will only be issued for students with incomplete coursework during the semester(s)/quarter(s) when the emergency school closure took place.
- A maximum of 6 total credits may be waived for each semester of the school closure or a maximum of 4 credits for each quarter of the school closure. The number of credits waived per subject area cannot be lower than the State requirements.
- Physical Education and Social Science credits cannot be waived, as these courses are required by the State of California.
- Science credits must include at least one year of Biology and one year of physical science.
- VAPA and World Language: 2 credits must be earned in either 1 year of VAPA or 1 year of World Language
- In addition, a student’s 9-12 graduation weighted GPA under 2.0 may be waived, but the student’s 9-12 graduation weighted GPA cannot be lower than a 1.75.
Who may approve a graduation waiver?
All individual student graduation waivers due to emergency school closures must be approved by the parent/guardian, site counselor, and site principal.
What if I don’t have internet?
The district has partnered with internet service providers who have provided qualifying families free or discounted full service internet offers, like the Cox Connect2Compete program. Mobile hotspots have been made available, as well. For more information, please visit this site. You may also call the Distance Learning Family Support Line at 619-260-2460.
What if I don’t have a computer?
If you need a computer to participate, you can pick up a Chromebook from your closest distribution site at Clairemont, Hoover, Lincoln, or San Diego High Schools, weekdays from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. For pickup instructions, please visit our site. For additional help, please call the Distance Learning Family Support Line at 619-260-2460.
What do I have to bring to get a computer?
Please bring your photo ID and show proof of identity for your child by providing your: 1. Child’s school ID card OR 2. Student ID number OR 3. Child’s date of birth and address 4. Write your child’s name, ID number, or date of birth and address in large print on a sheet of paper that can be easily ready by staff members from a distance of at least 6 feet. Carry this with you to the line or place on the dash or your car and be prepared to show it to staff. Students in middle or high school may pick up their laptop device without a parent or guardian present.
What if I am having issues with the computer I was given or need tech support?
If you experience issues with a device, or if a device needs to be exchanged, please visit the support page. A Dedicated Family Technical Support phone line is available at 619-732-1400.
Will my student be safe online using Zoom?
Will my student be safe online?
San Diego Unified has implemented a new cloud based-web filtering software for students called iboss. It allows the District to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and extends web filtering for student devices regardless of the location they are learning in. With the iboss cloud, security follows the student, and ensures that the same level of protection and compliance is applied to a student regardless of whether they are on campus or at home. All District distributed Chromebooks will have the web filtering extension installed on it, no action will be required from the students or school staff.
How can parents help?
- Stay healthy: Continue to follow all public health guidelines to protect yourselves and others from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Monitor district communication for up-to-date information.
- Communicate with school staff regarding technology needs.
- Stay involved in your child’s learning. Check out these online tips for parents.
- Give yourself permission to have students work independently when you need time for your own priorities.
- Try to make time to play together, read stories together and document your family’s experience of this time together in a journal.
- Be gentle with yourself and your family, this can be an unsettling time for everyone. San Diego Unified has mental health and wellness information online.
- Don’t get frustrated by technical difficulties. They are inevitable as our entire city adapts to sheltering in place. If family members get stressed out, talk together about strategies to stay calm.
- Stay connected: find safe ways for you and your student to connect with classmates, friends and others online.
How else can we stay healthy?
Stay active! Our Physical education teachers have set up a site for continued learning. The Athletics Department has also shared information.
I need help (mental health)
Mental health and wellness is critical for parents and students during this challenging time. The District has created a web site with available resources. There’s also a self-care tool for youth Gritx.org and a mindfulness platform specifically designed for mental health, Inner Explorer, that includes short, 5-10 minute activities for our students and families.
I need help finding food
Students cannot learn without fuel, which is why we have set up food distribution sites across the city. In some cases, there may not be a school offering food supplies near your home. Distribution has been limited as many of our medically fragile employees have been directed to remain at home. In addition to our own food services, we are actively working with Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank for assistance on food distribution. Both have excellent options available in most neighborhoods.
Do I have to have my student with me to get food?
No. The Department of Agriculture has waived the requirement that children have to be present with their parents to pick up breakfast or lunch. The waiver allows parents to pick up student meals without the student. However, a student ID and/or photo of the child will need to be shown during food pick-up. If you have multiple children, you will need to provide student IDs or photographs of each child.
How about my pets?
The San Diego Humane Society is delivering dog and cat food to our District warehouse, to be dispersed at school food sites to help feed pets during the current COVID-19 crisis. Pet owners can also visit any of the Humane Society’s three campus locations between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. to pick up a bag of dog food or cat food, as well as supplies such as cat litter, pet treats and beds. Supplies are on a first-come basis.
Will I get notified if someone at my school develops COVID-19?
No. Treatment for possible coronavirus exposure is being handled by the student’s or staff member’s healthcare provider. The District is no longer notified if someone tests positive for COVID-19, so the District will no longer notify schools of positive cases.
When will you physically re-open?
School physical facilities will remain closed until such time as public health officials declare it is safe for students to return.
Why not simply end the year?
Schools are closed, but learning is not. We want our exceptional students to know this school year counts and this school year matters. Each student will have the chance to complete their academic year. Our primary goal is to provide students with opportunities to continue their learning with access to content, support, and feedback.
What will school look like in the future?
No one knows for sure, but the district has experts, including district physician, Dr. Howard Taras, who are helping us prepare to safely reopen. To watch Dr. Taras’ recent testimony before the Board of Education, click here.
How do I enroll my student in San Diego Unified?
All students are guaranteed enrollment in their neighborhood school. For details on the enrollment process, please visit our Office of Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options. There, you will find remote enrollment procedures for new-to-district families for the current year, along with other useful information.
Can I apply to attend a school outside of my neighborhood?
Yes, parents are still welcome to apply for the Choice program for 2020-21. If space is still available, your student may be offered enrollment. For more, please visit our Office of Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options.
When does preschool enrollment begin?
Preschool enrollment for 3-year-olds begins June 1, 2020.
Will the enrollment options office be open throughout the summer to assist incoming military families who will be arriving when the Department of Defense lifts the “stop movement order?”
Yes, our Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options office is currently serving families remotely for all enrollment needs. Please visit their home page for more information.
Will I be expected to pay preschool tuition for the rest of the current school year?
No, there is no tuition being charged for the balance of the school year, and the district is sending out letters to impacted families with adjusted invoices. Parents may email the ECE Business Manager, Sheri Bazemore, with further questions.