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The constraints around resources and staffing are real. Staffing has been recently reported as a very real challenge in both in person and remote instructional settings. See highlights below of San Francisco Unified School District had a much higher demand for at-home learning than expected this fall. With that demand came additional challenges in accommodating all students whose families sought to keep them learning remotely out of uneasiness over coronavirus transmission.

Logistical issues/challenges

  • District staff initially planned an online program for about 450 students, or one percent of the student population, deemed “medically fragile”.
  • Instead, 735 students applied and were accepted, as a results of Assembly Bill 130, allowing independent instruction for children at risk for in-person instruction as determined by a parent or guardian.
  • Just a couple weeks before the school year began, the district had to add another 1,200 seats.
  • All in all, more than 1,900 students have been offered spots in the online programs, which were not quite ready to roll. That’s left some students without instructions or curriculum to learn from as their parents keep them at home due to safety concerns.
  • “We didn’t have the lead time to thoughtfully launch and implement this program.” “The constraints around resources and staffing is real. There’s a huge crisis in staffing in education.” – Enikia Ford-Morthel, SFUSD Deputy Superintendent of Instruction

The Result

  • Staffing is set now for the Online Learning Program for medically vulnerable students.
  • But the On Demand Learning Program for parents who feel in-person learning is too risky for their children still needs another 55 educators.
  • Early information indicated very few high school are seeking remote instruction, while an online preference is strong among Chinese families living in communal housing.
  • Monolingual families, in particular, fear their children will fall behind without hands-on support and staff to connect to.
  • Nearly 500 students accepted for the online program returned to the physical classroom since being accepted, while 577 signed off for remote learning.
  • Efforts are underway to strengthen communication to ensure families understand concerns, receive updates on safety measures and guidelines to build confidence in sending children in person.

Read more about San Francisco Unified School District HERE

Related article: Kentucky: School districts begin virtual programs and are seeing waiting lists.

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