San Francisco Unified School District's fall semester will start with distance learning, but students could return to school gradually in phases once the data shows it's safe, Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said Wednesday.
As schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as cases continue to rise, the start of the fall semester is on the horizon and during a SFUSD Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Matthews provided the update for the upcoming school year.
According to Matthews, the district is currently working on improving its distance learning programs, using information from town halls, working groups and survey filled out by families and staff members. A more detailed plan on those efforts will be provided at the next Board of Education meeting on July 28.
"I know this pandemic has been incredibly challenging in so many ways," Matthews said in a statement. "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."
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."
When the district moved to shut down its schools back in March due to the pandemic, it set out to continue learning by providing students from third to 12th grades in need with access to technology and the internet. For the upcoming school year, the district will continue to provide additional technology to students who need it.
In addition, the district is also looking into ways to use technology to engage students between pre-kindergarten and second grades.