San Francisco public schools planning for distance learning and lengthy closures

San Francisco Unified School District is working on its plan for distance learning going forward in an uncertain time.

Schools are still in their first full week of closure and while many individual schools are working to keep kids up to speed academically, the district is still working on its comprehensive plan going forward.

Empty schools are a sight the governor says we can expect to see for the remainder of the school year. SFUSD is working on developing plans for how that is going to work for the district's more than 50,000 students.

"We're going to be thinking about how teachers can interface with students via the internet," said Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Enikia Ford-Morthel from San Francisco Unified School District. "How can they provide lessons, and resources and links via the internet, and also how do we duplicate many of those efforts with paper and pencil."

The district says it has a diverse student population, so it's not as simple as telling families that they're going to shift to online learning for the remainder of the year. The district points out that many families don't have access to a computer at home, some don't have internet.

SFUSD is working on plans to make sure that every student gets an equal academic opportunity.

"We want to make sure that whatever plan we roll out is really thinking about how do we hold access and equity at the center and how do we make sure that we are not rolling out a plan that is advantageous to some and continues to disenfranchise or not meet the needs of others," said Ford-Morthel.

While the district is working on a comprehensive plan, many teachers and schools have come up with their own plans and have put them into motion.

Katie Rosenfeld says her daughter's public middle school got to work right away making sure every kid had access.

"The library and IT department reached out," said Rosenfeld. "They announced to all of the classes that if any of the students didn't have a laptop at home, they could borrow one from the school's store of laptops."

She says the teachers are working with students, even the physical education teacher, making sure the kids are engaged and active.

"The teachers clearly spent Friday night and part of the weekend, bless their hearts, like, uploading stuff," said Rosenfeld. "She's got links, she's got assignments. I think it would be, I'm ready for them to go the next step and have video interaction."

The district says it is working on multiple plans on everything from classes resuming on April 7, to longer term plans, and the district plans to release more details before the first week of April.

The district is also working on making sure parents know about educational resources. The have made available on the school district website. That work not mandatory , but it is a way to make sure parents can keep their kids intellectually engaged.