Family Technology Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Technology Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Safeguards Protect My Student's Security, Safety & Privacy During Distance Learning?

Your student’s safety and security is a top priority as we navigate learning in a virtual environment. We are working hard to ensure all of our platforms are as secure as possible. This includes changing practices and bolstering security in both Zoom and Google Classroom. 

To continue making  our digital platforms even more secure, we are taking the following measures:

Google Classroom: Additional Safeguards

Moving forward, only enrolled SFUSD students will be allowed in a Google Classroom. In the spring, educators and families may not have realized that Google Classroom is only for SFUSD students. Instead of allowing parents or guardians to join a Google Classroom as a student, your child’s teacher can invite you to Google Guardian Summaries.  

 

Zoom: Additional Safeguards

In order to prevent "Zoombombing," we have made it so that teachers must explicitly request the ability to have non-district users in a Zoom meeting. Therefore, your student's teacher may use Google Meet or phone calls to connect with families live. By default, students enter a "waiting room" when they go to join a Zoom meeting; the teacher must explicitly let the into the meeting. Students may not change their Zoom name to mask their identity; their Zoom name matches their name in Synergy. Also by default, students may not share their screens unless the teacher changes a setting.

Can I get a device or hotspot?

If your PK-12 student needs a device or hotspot in order to participate in distance learning, please complete the Online Technology Request Form available in ParentVUE. To do so, families must have an active Family Portal (ParentVUE) account.

  • If you haven’t activated yet, please contact your school site for an activation key and follow the steps. You can activate your ParentVUE account at sfusd.edu/activate.
  • Login to your ParentVUE account at portal.sfusd.edu and click on “Online Forms.”
  • You can find step-by-step instructions for completing the Online Technology Request Form and a recorded video example at bit.ly/SFUSDtechrequestguide

While all technology requests are received on this form, devices are being distributed at school sites. Your site will contact you with details about distribution in three to five school days.

I got a hotspot. How do I make it work?

If you received an AT&T or Verizon hotspot and want to know how to make it work, look for the video that corresponds with the hotspot you received in this hotspot video tutorials playlist.

I have questions or issues about home WiFi or district hotspots...

How do I get access to the shared key to my home wifi?

  • Get it from the person in your household that set up your home wifi.
  • Contact your Internet service provider. 
  • Many home wifi routers have it written on the router.

I'm having issues with my hotspot

Is there a cap on the hotspot data?

  • There is no cap on data for AT&T or Verizon hotspots. Data is unlimited. 
  • Sprint hotspots have a 10GB/month limit on data. This is a significant amount of data and should be more than adequate for your student's distance learning needs.

A message appeared on the hotspot that the “cycle is ending in X days" or "no data." What does this mean?

  • Families can disregard either message. The first message is related to the billing cycle that SFUSD is responsible for. The family will not lose internet service on the hotspot. The second message, which can appear on a Verizon hotspot, simply means that the family is not able to see how much data it has used in the billing cycle. Since Verizon has no data limit, the family does not need to worry about how much data it has used.
  • Hotspots will remain active through the school year.

 

I have questions about how to use my SFUSD Chromebook...

How do I connect my Chromebook to my WiFi?

How do I log into my Chromebook?

  • First make sure you are connected to the internet. Once you are connected to the internet you will be able to login using your student SFUSD email address. Chromebooks must be logged into with the student SFUSD email account. Students must type in their full email address, including @s.sfusd.edu 

  • Students also need their SFUSD password to log in to a Chromebook.  For information on how to get your child's password, see "I have questions about my student's Google account," above.

How do I use my Chromebook?

To learn how to use your Chromebook with the digital learning platforms approved by the district, visit: sfusd.edu/familytechnology 

What are the accessibility features of a Chromebook, and how can I child access them?

Chromebooks have several accessibility features, such as…

  • Voice typing
  • Screen readers
  • Screen magnification
  • High-contrast
  • Enlarged cursor
  • ...and much more

Check out this video on Chromebook accessibility features, which has Closed Captions available

How do I connect my Chromebook to a monitor?

 

My child’s Chromebook is not working. What do I do?

This Chromebook Troubleshooting Guide has solutions for the most common Chromebook issues.

In the majority of calls we are currently receiving about Chromebooks not working, we are finding that the Chromebooks are not charged. If your Chromebook seems to have gone "dead," please plug in the Chromebook with the provided cable/charger to make sure that the Chromebook is charged. Make sure all connections are plugged in tight and that the outlet or power strip you are using is known to be reliable. A light should glow on the device, usually on one of the sides, when a Chromebook is charging. A Chromebook battery should last up to 8 hours. However, every device is different.

If none of the above resources or steps solve the problem, contact the Student and Family Resource Link at (415) 340-1716; or visit familylink.sfusd.edu, or email familylink@sfusd.edu. Be prepared to provide as many details as you can about what you did and what happened, and provide the student name and ID number, as well as the SFUSD asset tag number.

If it is determined that the device will need replacing, please complete the Online Technology Request Form available in ParentVUE. To do so, families must have an active Family Portal (ParentVUE) account.

  • If you haven’t activated yet, please contact your school site for an activation key and follow the steps. You can activate your ParentVUE account at sfusd.edu/activate.
  • Login to your ParentVUE account at portal.sfusd.edu and click on “Online Forms.”
  • You can find step-by-step instructions for completing the Online Technology Request Form and a recorded video example at bit.ly/SFUSDtechrequestguide

While all technology requests are received on this form, devices are being exchanged at school sites. Your site will contact you with details about distribution in three to five school days. The "not working" device must be provided in the exchange for another device.  

Please note:

  • A replacement device is only available for district-issued Chromebooks/hotspots
  • Only 1 replacement device will be made available to a student. If it is determined that more than 1 replacement device is needed, fees may be applied before the student can receive a 3rd device
  • Only a district-issued Chromebook will be provided as a replacement device
  • Once the device is reported to the district as broken/not working, it will be deactivated so the device will no longer be usable.

I have questions or issues about Zoom...

How can I get Zoom to work? 

I am concerned about Zoombombing. What safeguards are there?

  • You may have seen stories about Zoombombing, where an unauthorized person breaks into a Zoom meeting and behaves badly. SFUSD manages its Zoom accounts centrally and has installed important safeguards to prevent this. First, SFUSD staff must fill out a Help request to even be authorized to allow non-SFUSD-users into their Zoom meetings. Second, SFUSD Zoom meetings are set up to have a waiting room. The meeting host (teacher) must specifically choose to allow people into the meeting, or those people will simply be waiting with a blank screen, unable to interact with others in the waiting room or the meeting itself.

I have questions about Synergy (ParentVUE, StudentVUE)...

How do I get my child's StudentVue username/password?

  • You are able to see your student’s SFUSD username and default password in ParentVUE
  • Click on “Student Info/Accept Offer” tab and it will be under “StudentVUE and Gmail Login Info” section.
  • Note: we cannot give passwords out via phone or email because we cannot verify the identity of the requester.
  • For instructions and a how-to video on viewing your child’s StudentVue/SFUSD Google username and default password, including email, visit the SFUSD website at: sfusd.edu/parentvue.

I didn't get my ParentVUE Activation Key letter; how do I get one?

  • Please contact your school site for an activation key. For more questions on ParentVUE please visit our website: www.sfusd.edu/parentvue

Can I update my contact information using ParentVUE?

  • Yes! You can update your email address and phone number using the ParentVUE app or website. This webpage will show you how to update your contact information.
  • Note: To update your address, you need to contact the Educational Placement Center (EPC). During the shelter-in-place, the EPC office is closed for safety reasons, but you can leave a message at 415-241-6085, and your call will be returned within 5 business days, due to high calling volume. Or email them at enrollinschool@sfusd.edu.

How can I learn more information about ParentVUE (also called the Family Portal)?

I have questions about my student's Google account...

What is my student’s email? 

  • If families don’t have their child’s SFUSD Google login, they are now able to find their username and password through ParentVUE: portal.sfusd.edu under the “Student Info” tab. If you need help accessing your ParentVUE account, please submit a request via bit.ly/familyportalhelp.
  • Email address convention: First two initials, last name, @s.sfusd.edul. E.g.: Sam Student’s address would be sastudent@s.sfusd.edu 
  • For instructions and a how-to video on viewing your child’s StudentVue/SFUSD Google username and default password, including email, visit the SFUSD website at: sfusd.edu/parentvue.

What is my student’s email password? 

  • You can see your student’s password by logging into ParentVue (portal.sfusd.edu) and looking under the “Student Info” tab.
  • Or reach out to your child's teacher or school office staff. The Department of Technology cannot give passwords out via phone or email because we cannot verify the identity of the requester.
  • For instructions and a how-to video on viewing your child’s StudentVue/SFUSD Google username and default password, including email, visit the SFUSD website at: sfusd.edu/parentvue.

 

How Can I Get Additional Help with District Technology?

The Technology Resources for Families webpage is continually updated with tutorial resources. In addition we are happy to offer two new sources of support:

Technology Videos

Check out the Family Technology Video Tutorials page at sfusd.edu/family-technology-tutorials for videos on how to use district Chromebooks, hotspots, ParentVue, and several digital learning platforms


Free 1:1 Technology Support for Parents and Guardians!

In collaboration with the San Francisco Education Fund, SFUSD has recruited tech volunteers to provide personal phone and video support on basic questions about Zoom, Google Meet, Google Classroom, and Seesaw. 

Sign up for an appointment! ← (Click or tap here)

Volunteers can support you for up to 30 minutes. 

Tech appointments are available in several languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.