Short-Term Independent Study

Short-Term Independent Study Contracts

Short-Term Independent Study

Please review the FAQs below to find more information and resources on short-term independent study options, as well as some action steps that you should take if your child needs to participate in short-term independent study.

What is short term independent study?

Short-term independent study allows a student to continue learning asynchronously under the supervision of their regularly assigned teacher when the student is unable to attend school for a limited period of time due to unique circumstances. Short-term independent study is meant to provide temporary instruction for no more than 15 school days. 

Who qualifies for short term independent study? Does it include students who are quarantining from COVID-19?

A student qualifies for short-term independent study under one of the following circumstances: 

  • Students who are required by health order to isolate or quarantine, including students who are quarantining from COVID-19.
  • A temporary disability or illness that prevents the student from attending school. 
  • A death in the family or other family emergency that requires the student to travel.

How will attendance be handled? Will my child be marked absent during this time?

Students who meet the criteria and are participating in short-term independent study will be marked as an excused absence with an attendance code “Z” while they actively participate in short-term independent study. Upon their return to school in-person, the attendance clerk at your child’s school will revise the attendance code once your student’s work is submitted. The clerk will indicate “I” if work is complete or “Y” if work is incomplete. 



What would instruction look like for my child?

The teacher will provide asynchronous learning activities, which means that learning will take place 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. 

Concurrent instruction, where learning remote and in-person learning happens at the same time, is not available during short-term independent study. 

What kinds of assignments can my child expect to receive?

The teacher will provide digital and/or non-digital assignments based on your student’s grade level. Assignments will be pushed out using common platforms like Seesaw, Google Classroom, or other platforms familiar to the student. 

What are the standards for learning?

SFUSD has set the following standards for learning: 

Students have the following maximum lengths of time to complete an assignment once a teacher has made an assignment: 

  • For students in grades K-3: 1 week 
  • For students in grades 4-8: 2 weeks 
  • For students in grades 9-12: 3 weeks 

A written request can be submitted with reasons related to special or extenuating circumstances if a student needs a longer time to complete an assignment. SFUSD may extend the maximum length of time to complete an assignment to a period not to exceed eight weeks.

How will students receive course credit?

Students will receive credit based on the number of hours of school work completed: 

  • Elementary School (Kindergarten - 5th grade): 
    • 20 hours of work completed will yield 5 days of classroom attendance. (approximately 4 hours a day)
  • Middle School (6th - 8th grade), High School (9th - 12th grade): 
    • In secondary schools that provide 6 one-hour class periods each day, 30 hours of acceptable school work is required for one (1) week of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) and cumulative academic credit for regular school programs. 
    • In secondary schools that provide 7 one-hour class periods each day, 35 hours of acceptable school work is required for one (1) week of ADA and cumulative academic credit for regular school programs.

What are the steps that families can take? (Checklist)

What are the steps that families can take?

Family Checklist

  1. Inform the school of your child’s reasoning and request for short-term independent study  
  2. Your school principal will share a short-term independent study contract with you to review and sign
  3. Complete all assignments 
  4. Complete all assignments per the criteria outlined by the teacher daily
  5. Make sure all assignments have been completed and submitted at the end of the short-term independent study term.

What can we expect from my child’s school and teacher?

You will be working closely with your child’s school and teacher during the process of short-term independent study. Your child’s teacher will meet with you and your student to discuss your request for short-term independent study and the  independent study contract. Your school can support your  child to access necessary technology (laptops, internet access) for independent study. 

Once you complete the short-term independent study contract for your student, your child will be  enrolled in short-term independent study and receive  learning activities and assignments.


What are some resources that my child can access during short term independent study?

SFUSD will provide grade-level and content-specific applications, lessons, and activities on its website that families can use to extend and/or enhance their work. 

SFUSD students will also have access to a host of learning applications and resources in its digital backpack.

This page was last updated on August 4, 2022