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San Juan Unified campuses to remain closed through end of school year, distance learning to begin after spring break

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Based on guidance from both state officials and local health officials, and in coordination with other local school districts, San Juan Unified is extending the closure of our school facilities through the end of the school year.  

This does not mean the 2019-2020 academic year is finished. While we will continue to stay physically apart, teachers and staff are quickly working to shift to a new model for delivering instruction. After spring break, teachers and students will engage in new lessons via distance learning which can take many forms.  

We recognize this difficult but necessary decision may cause disappointment and understand the hardship that distance learning creates for our students, families and staff. Superintendent Kern will be assembling a group of students to generate and review ideas on how we can best celebrate our graduating seniors’ achievements and support their post-secondary goals. More information on these efforts will be shared as they become available.

There are still many questions that need to be answered. Please know that we are working hard to address your concerns and will be in touch as we have updates. In the meantime, please see below for details about distance learning and what to expect as we return from spring break. 

Distance learning timeline 

This week, our teachers and staff members have engaged in a variety of professional learning opportunities to help them prepare.  

Here are the key dates for the implementation of distance learning: 

  • April 6-10: Spring break - no virtual office hours or assignments this week 
  • By April 15: Distance learning will begin for grades 6 -12 at K-8 schools, middle and high schools  
  • By April 20: Distance learning will begin for early childhood education and elementary grades (TK-5/6) (The April 20 date allows time for the distribution of devices to students in need at our 33 elementary schools as well as additional practice time in the use of devices and technology services for both our teachers and our youngest learners who are likely to be less accustomed to its use.) 

Distance learning will continue through our last day of school on June 9. 

What is distance learning? 

Distance learning is instruction in which the student and teacher are in different locations. Class content and activities can be engaged in a variety of formats including the use of computers or other instructional methods or materials depending on the teacher, the assignment and students’ needs.  

In a distance learning format, students will not experience a traditional school day schedule. There is not an expectation that students are in front of a computer for an entire school day. Instead, students will have a blend of experiences that offer instruction and learning that occurs at the same time, and other learning opportunities when instruction and learning occur at different times.

  • Instruction and learning that occur at the same time (also called synchronous learning) might include live class meetings, chats, student conferences, etc. These events will be scheduled by teachers. For ECE and elementary students, these activities may be scheduled anytime during the school day. To avoid conflicts for scheduling for middle and high school students, these shared learning times will be held during a class’s scheduled period.
  • Instruction and learning that occur at different times (also called asynchronous learning) may include journal writes, assessments, collaborative student group work, etc. For example, a teacher might post or distribute the instructions to an assignment and allow students to work on the task independently or as part of a student group.

Teachers will reach out to their students with specific plans for their class after returning from spring break. 

Delivering special education services 

Teachers and our special education staff have been working to identify the supports needed by individual learners to help them be successful with distance learning. If your student receives special education services, accommodations will be made to the extent possible. Alternative devices are being identified for those students who cannot use a traditional laptop-style computer. If your student requires services that cannot be met with a distance learning model, an IEP meeting will be held to discuss the impacts on your student and determine whether compensatory education would be appropriate. 

Technology to support distance learning 

Distribution events have been held at each of our K-8, middle and high schools to provide any student who needs a computing device with a Chromebook. If you are a K-8, middle or high school student and missed your school’s distribution event you may pick up a device from any elementary school during their scheduled pickup times. 

Elementary schools will hold distribution events April 13 - 17. A full schedule will be posted to the district and school websites as soon as it becomes available and families will also receive mass notification messages from their school at least two days prior to their event.  

Additionally, technology support is available should students have difficulty with their Chromebook or accessing learning resources. If your family needs help accessing the Internet, click here for resources.