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Spring learning model selected & more updates!

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San Juan Unified district and school staff members want to thank all of the families who provided responses to the return to in-person learning survey last week. The responses provided valuable information on how each of the learning models being considered would impact our students, families and staff members. 

Each of the learning models being considered had benefits. However, given the number of families choosing to return to in-person compared with those remaining in distance learning, two of the models would have required reassigning many students to new teachers. The relationship built between students and teachers is very important. Therefore, the district has elected to implement model two which provides the option for in-person learning two days per week or remaining in distance learning. TK-8 homeschool and 9-12 independent study programs will remain options as well. This model will mean few if any students must switch classes or teachers this spring. 

You can read more about how the model will work in elementary and K-8 schools or how it will work in middle and high schools. (For families with a student enrolled in grades 6-8 at a K-8 school, please note that your student will follow the elementary model to help ensure consistency for families.) 

The model will be slightly different for special education students with moderate or severe needs served in self-contained classrooms, or those served at Laurel Ruff, Ralph Richardson or La Vista centers. Those selecting in-person instruction will receive at least two and a half hours of program time for elementary and K-8 and three hours of program time for middle and high school but be on campuses four days each week. Distance learning will also continue to be an option for moderate and severe need special education students. 

While the district greatly values the collaborative relationship built with each of its employee groups, it is important to note that agreement was unable to be reached with the distict's teachers’ association to select a model. Therefore, the district has chosen to impose the model that will cause the least disruption for students and teachers alike. The San Juan Teachers Association has indicated that they will assert their right to bargain the impacts of any working condition changes imposed by the district for their members and district staff expect to engage in this conversation fully and with the urgency it requires to ensure the safety needs of staff and students are met. 

To help students, families and staff members know what to expect as we work toward a return to in-person learning, the district is releasing its Path to Return which highlights key milestones on the journey ahead of us.  It is not a complete list of all work being undertaken but highlights major events and decision points. It will be updated as additional tasks or decision points are added. You can always view the latest version at A few highlights: 

  • Today, the district is releasing the latest version of its COVID-19 Guidance [PDF Link] for site principals and other leaders. This document continues to evolve and change with health conditions and guidance but lists the policies and strategies in place to protect student, staff and community safety. This guide reflects the district’s latest updates including the change to require all students wear face coverings when on campus. 
  • Today, the district is also launching its COVID-19 dashboard which provides an overview of COVID-19 positive test results and exposures impacting district schools. 
  • Next week, schools will be contacting families to confirm their choice of in-person, distance learning or other learning options given the final selection of the learning model. 


This week, Sacramento County was placed in the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system. 

While Sacramento County is in the purple tier, schools are not allowed to offer a return to in-person learning outside of specific conditions being met which district staff continue to discuss with county health officials. However, the best and safest way to ensure that San Juan Unified can offer the option to return to in-person learning on Jan. 5 is to help Sacramento County return to less restrictive tiers. To do that, the county’s COVID-19 case rate must return and remain at lower levels no later than Dec. 15. 

Be sure to check out a few tips for how you can help Sacramento County return to red or even reach orange or yellow!

San Juan Unified's planning for Jan. 5 continues at this time. District staff will continue to monitor health conditions, the state ranking and county restrictions and keep students, families and staff informed of any changes or developments.