Distance Learning

Learninig Guide Cover

Distance Learning Guide


Family Distance Learning Guide

Dear Families: 

We know that authentic partnership with you is essential to your child’s academic success, especially in this current context. As your child’s first teacher, you are the expert on your child’s strengths and opportunities for growth. And, during distance learning, you are the adult who knows the most about your child’s experiences and needs.

Throughout the summer, we asked for your input in various ways and we listened to you. You called out a need for more consistency.  Our students made it clear that they need more engaging interactions from their teachers and more opportunities to connect with their peers.  This distance learning guide is one of many ways to communicate with you and to support you in supporting your child’s learning. We hope that you will see in this guide and in your experiences this fall, more consistency in schedules and approach, increased communication, and specific  strategies and resources to support learning in this new format. This guide is a resource to compliment information from your school site(s).  You can also find information on our website and you can call the Student and Family Resource Link at any time for any questions.

Our district’s mission calls on us to support each and every student to develop the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century, both in brick and mortar school and in distance learning.  As we attempt to carry out this mission, we want to be in regular communication with you about how your child is experiencing teaching and learning, about how loved and cared for your child feels by their educators, and about anything else that might impact your family’s wellbeing. 

As we figure out how to do school in this new context, we are clear that we won’t get “everything right.” But SFUSD, in partnership with you, is committed to doing and making this the best we can for our students.  Most of all, we hope that we partner with each other in this journey. Try your best. Give yourself a break. Reach out for help. We are in this together and together, we’ll get through.

In Community,

Enikia (Nikki)  Ford Morthel - Deputy Superintendent of Instruction


Distance Learning Defined

SFUSD Definition of Distance Learning

Students engage in learning and make academic progress when they are not physically present in schools. This is accomplished using a variety of resources and differentiated modes of interaction with teachers (and peers, when possible). How teachers engage students in distance learning is informed by the student’s access to technology, reliable wifi, language proficiency and specific learning needs.

  • Digital Distance Approach

    • The use of  both a device and connectivity to engage with learning on a digital platform (Google Classroom, Zoom or Seesaw).
  • Non-Digital (Print Based) Approach (Non Digital)

    • The use of textbooks, work packets, wellness checks and print resources to engage with learning. The teacher may communicate with students on the phone or at designated check points.
  • Synchronous Instruction/Learning*

    • A learning event in which students are engaging in learning with an educator at the same time, usually on the computer or telephone. 

      *TK-12th grade students will be provided no less than hundred and twenty (120) minutes of synchronous instruction, daily.

  • Asynchronous Instruction

    • Learning  occurring when the teacher and the students interact in different places and during different times. This may be through a pre-recorded video, web-based lessons, or a series of self-paced assignments.

Instructional Minutes

California state law requires all students to have a minimum amount of instructional minutes per day. These minutes may include a combination of live instruction, and other in person interactions, independent work, homework assignments, and/or assessments.


Instructional Minutes per day

Grades TK - K 3 hours (180 minutes)
Grades 1 - 3 3 hours 50 minutes (230 minutes)
Grades 4 - 5 4 hours (240 minutes)
Grades 6 - 8 4 hours (240 minutes)
Grades 9 - 12 4 hours (240 minutes)

Getting Started

How To Get Started

  • Make sure you know and understand your student’s schedule. Schools will be sending this out the week before August 17. 
  • Make sure you sign  up for ParentVUE.
  • Make sure your primary phone number, email and  mailing address are correct in ParentVUE.
  • Check your school’s distribution dates for instructional materials and technology (if needed)
  • If your student receives additional educational services on an Individualized Education Plan, the case manager will be in contact with you to discuss emergency learning plans. 


Teachers take and submit official attendance daily! Attendance data is viewable in ParentVUEStudents are expected to actively participate in instruction, daily, as informed by their teachers. participation will take many forms and may include

  • Attending a zoom class, with or without camera on.
  • Joining a google hangout, with or without speaking.
  • Participating in a group chat(s)
  • Direct email, call, or text with their teacher.
  • Evidence of completion and submission of assignments 
    • Assignments may be submitted  via district-designated platforms, or via emails, photos, phone conferences, or other forms of documentation (as appropriate).

Distance Learning Plan

SFUSD's Fall Learning Plan

After reviewing the best available evidence-based sources of guidance from health officials, and gathering input from staff, students, families, community, and labor partners Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews is recommending to the San Francisco Board of Education that our fall semester will begin with distance learning.

As we plan for distance learning and eventual return to school, we are focusing our efforts in key areas:

  • Teaching & Learning
  • Safety Protocols
  • Coordinated Care Plan for Wellness & Partnerships
  • Communication
  • Personnel
  • Operations & Logistics

We hope to provide a hybrid model (a combination of in-person and distance learning) for some students when science and data suggest it is safe to do so. As we consider various scenarios, the health, safety and wellness of our children, youth and staff remains our top priority.

This summer, we have engaged several work groups, with representatives from organizations representing staff, student and family perspectives. Students, families, community partners and district staff participated in a series of virtual Town Halls and families provided input though a Family Survey. This input has been a critical factor in informing our approach to Fall Learning.

As we plan for the coming school year, we have worked diligently to create a plan that incorporates health guidance, our district’s priorities and values and the input of our diverse community of staff, students and families, along with our state and local guidance. We are navigating these challenging times together. It is not easy, but with a continued focus on our students, and the collective efforts of our families, educators and community partners, we will provide our students with the quality instruction and equitable support they need to thrive.

As new information becomes available, we will let you know. In addition to communicating with you by email, text and phone (as appropriate), we will keep our website updated with the latest information, including these pages:

  • Fall Learning Frequently Asked Questions
  • Wednesday Family Digests (weekly posts with the same content as our weekly emails; includes information on how to ensure you are receiving communication from SFUSD if you are not getting our emails or calls)
  • Wednesday Staff Digests (weekly posts with the same content as our weekly emails)