COVID-19 Forces SFUSD To Go Virtual To Start School Year

The San Jose Unified School District has announced it will begin fall classes on August 12, but only online. The district joins other California school districts like San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego in making the decision to go virtual ahead of state guidance.

In a release late Thursday, the district said the "best possible next step is...fully at-home learning for all students for at least the first six weeks of the instructional calendar, through October 2, 2020."

Administrators in the San Francisco Unified School District plan to "gradually phase in a staggered return once science and data suggest it’s safe to do so," according to a release from the district earlier this week. Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews noted in a letter that the district eventually hopes to implement a "hybrid approach" to learning.

"I know this pandemic has been incredibly challenging in so many ways, and I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to ask a question, share their thoughts, and participate in this process of planning for the fall," Superintendent Matthews said in the letter. "There is a range of viewpoints regarding the best course of action. Hearing from our community is assisting us in creating the most effective plan possible."

Administrators intend to release a plan detailing ways in which virtual learning can be improved in a meeting with the San Francisco Board of Education on July 28.

"We had some bright spots but mostly teachers and families suffered," Board of Education President Mark Sanchez said. "We have to do better, we will do better. We have to use this time leading up to and beyond the opening of schools to make sure we prepare. We have to prioritize the students that we know through distance learning got the least."

The "most essential details" will be shared with parents the following day.

The Oakland Unified School District announced last week its new school year will start fully online. Similar announcements have been made by districts in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.

San Jose had been the largest remaining holdout in the Bay Area.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to provide further guidance on school reopenings in a press conference Friday.