August 26, 2020

August 26, 2020

Dear SFUSD Staff:

We’re nearly two weeks into the new school year, and I hope that you’re able to navigate this time as best you can with grace and compassion for yourself and others. There are many important updates in today’s digest so please keep reading.


Security, Safety and Privacy in Distance Learning Online Environments

Our student’s safety and security is a top priority as we navigate learning in a virtual environment. The Guide to Virtual Meetings with Students has helpful information for you to safely launch virtual meetings with students. You can learn more about these tools by attending an upcoming webinar or by watching previously recorded webinars.

To help make our platforms as secure as possible, SFUSD staff need to consistently practice safe behaviors and implement platform settings that protect our students to the greatest extent possible.

Top Safety Tips:

All staff should review and follow these safety tips, including guidance and best practices for secure use of Zoom, Google Meet, and Google Classroom. Top guidance includes:

  • Never publicly post Zoom/Google Classroom/Seesaw links or join codes. Use your class website page in Synergy as a secure posting alternative.
  • Only admit your students into any virtual class/environment:
    • Zoom: Zoom Waiting Rooms help ensure participants are a part of your class. Your vigilance is needed to help protect your class against Zoombombing.
    • Google Classroom/Seesaw: Only the students in your class should be students in Google Classroom and Seesaw. Do not add parents/guardians or service providers as students in Google Classroom.  In Google Classroom, sign parents/guardians up for Google Guardian Summaries. To get started in Classroom, turn it on in your class’ settings (video), and then on the People tab, add parent/guardian emails for each student (video). In Seesaw you can enable family access and invite parents/guardians to view their student’s work. 

The DoT has also created a Digital Platform Safety and Privacy Protocols Deck sites can use to review best practices and available resources. 

Increased Security Measures

SFUSD is reviewing security settings in our distance learning platforms and will be implementing additional security measures to help make our virtual classrooms as safe and secure as possible. These improvements include:

  • Zoom: SFUSD will be reviewing user accounts with the ability to allow external participant access. This setting should only be used for individuals who regularly need to connect with participants outside of the district. External access is not a recommended setting for classes, as it greatly decreases the security of a virtual meeting.
  • Google Classroom: We will be limiting Google Classroom to only users with SFUSD accounts. All CBO providers, partners, and other individuals requiring access to SFUSD Classrooms will need an SFUSD account to interact with students.  

District Approved Digital Tools and Applications

In service of student safety, and per the UESF Distance Learning MOU, educators must only use approved applications and platforms to assure compliance with relevant data privacy provisions. All platforms/tools/applications require a district-approved contract/agreement. At this time, we are not approving and implementing additional applications given feedback from students, families, and educators to streamline the use of existing applications for distance learning. 

Learn about the Approved Digital Tools and Apps that are available within SFUSD for distance learning. Here you will find available applications organized by instructional purpose, as well as resources, training, and support to get started in their effective use.

Questions About the City’s Hubs?

The Community Hub Initiative is a citywide, neighborhood-based strategy to support children, youth, and families during the school year. The Hubs will provide support for students in grades K-6 who are utilizing SFUSD’s Distance Learning Curriculum, and will prioritize children and youth with the highest need.

The city will utilize a focused enrollment model for the Community Hub Initiative in order to serve children who have the absolute highest level of needs. The first wave of focused outreach will only be open to the following groups: HOPE SF, public housing and SRO residents; homeless youth; foster care youth; English language learners; and low-income families that are African American, Latinx, Pacific Islander and Asian. Community based organizations and City agencies, not SFUSD schools or staff, will be reaching out to the eligible families they serve. More information is available at SF School Year Community Learning Hubs.

Join Zoom Meeting to Learn About Redesigning Student Assignment

Meeting logistics:

  • What: Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment
  • When: Monday, Aug. 31, 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Join via BoardDocs
  • Agenda: a) Update on process and timeline for this year. b) Why we are changing student assignment.  c) Elementary school portfolio analysis.  d) Update on EPC process improvements.


Outdoor Education Spaces

As we rethink time and space for the hybrid phase of distance learning, we are exploring many options including the use of outdoor spaces. We have been meeting with experts, community and city partners and with internal working groups to build out this option, making sure to consider health and safety guidance and best practices for facilitating teaching and learning outdoors. 

At this time SFUSD is not opening up school sites for outdoor education. We are focusing on getting a stronger distance learning model up and going while considering what the next phase will look like when health guidance allows schools to open to in-person instruction.

No Showing Students and Do Not Drop Lists

By end of day Aug. 31, all sites should drop students in Synergy who have not attended a single class in the first 10 days. Learn how to "no show" students in Synergy

To ensure that we are supporting our most vulnerable students, EPC will send a Do Not Drop list of students to each site by Friday, Aug. 28. This list will include students with IEPs, homeless, foster, siblings, and newcomer students. Guidance will be provided along with the lists. 

View the OASIS post.

Questions? Contact Jeff Kang at​ ​or Lauren Koehler​ at

Authentic Partnership and Communication During Distance Learning

A necessary component of partnership is clear and regular communication. In the world of the remote school building, families rely on websites, ParentVUE and other means to get information about school and their child specifically. We understand that there are a number of other ways that you can share this information with families as well. But, as we work to have consistent structures across our district, all families and students should be able to access syllabi and course information via ParentVUE and StudentVUE.

Share with parents and caregivers (as well as students) the best means of communicationemail, set office hours, phone (if appropriate), etc.

To support transparency and truly facilitate families’ ability to partner with us in their child’s learning, please make sure that the following is true for your school and/or class:

  • Schoolwide information: School schedules are posted onto the school’s website, along with any other information relevant to distance learning
  • Class/teacher specific information: 
    • Class syllabus is posted onto the class website in Synergy so that families can access it in ParentVUE
    • Communicate with families using class websites in Synergy. Each Synergy Gradebook has a unique class website that is accessible in ParentVUE and StudentVUE. This is a great place to securely display class announcements, homework notices, and class documents, such as a syllabus, schedule, or class curriculum. During distance learning, SFUSD recommends teachers post class schedules, welcome letters, Zoom/Meet links, and course syllabi on Class Websites to provide a consistent means for parents/guardians and students to access their class information.  Learn how to get started and post an item to your class website!

Access to School Sites

Our focus right now is on gathering teacher requests and making a good faith effort to assign staff to available workspaces appropriate to their content area, provided we can do so in compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Teachers will be given an update regarding available workspaces no later than early September. 

Parental Consent Form for Zoom Recording

Please find a consent form to use when seeking permission for your students to be recorded during class to provide broad access to distance learning to all students, including those who may not be able to attend sessions at the scheduled time, we are seeking to record our live instruction and make it available to students who missed the class.

Feel free to cut and paste these instructions in an email to your families: 

“Please read and return the attached form using one of the following methods: 

  • Print out the attached form, sign and date it.  Send a picture of the full page of the completed form with your signature and date visible to your teacher. OR

  • Send an email to your teacher with the following text (cut and paste these 2 sentences into your reply email and fill in your child’s name):  I have read the attached form “Parent/Guardian Consent to Use Student Image and Voice in Zoom/Meet Recordings” and agree to its provisions.  I consent to the recording and release of [insert student name]’s name, image, voice or other personally identifiable information shared during Zoom/Meet instruction to other students who missed the live Zoom/Meet session.

18 PD Hours for Educators (formerly QTEA/Prop A hrs, LWEA/Prop G hrs)

UESF-represented educators will again have 18 paid professional development hours for the 2020-21 school year. However, the process has changed and is now fully virtual. Please review the new process carefully and note to do’s for administrators and site clerks. Please share the process with all UESF-represented staff at your site once your site folder is ready to launch. Educators may now submit for any hours utilized from July 1 to the present that have not already been paid. 

Dress Code and Teacher Code of Conduct 

We ask students (and staff) to dress appropriately for daily attendance at school, even during distance learning. The SFUSD Student and Family Handbook includes information on the SFUSD dress code for students. 

For employees, Board Policy 4019 states District employees are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards, exhibit professional behavior, follow District policies and regulations, abide by state and federal laws, and exercise good judgment when interacting with students and other members of the school community..."Inappropriate employee conduct includes, but is not limited to...18. Wearing inappropriate attire."


Grab & Go Meals Available for SFUSD Students

Every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., a bag of 5 days worth of meals (including breakfast, lunch, supper, fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk) is available for each student. Last week, some sites ran out of our planned menu early and served shelf-stable meals. We apologize and have increased orders going forward.

Visit for locations and more information on what to bring to pick up meals.

Volunteer at SFUSD Grab & Go Meal Sites

Community members and SFUSD employees can volunteer at grab & go meal sites every Wednesday. Volunteers assist with setup, line control, and breakdown. Must be 18 or older. Sign up to volunteer!

Volunteer to Deliver School Meals

SFUSD employees can volunteer as a delivery driver for students with disabilities and special dietary needs. Drivers pick up and deliver boxes of school meals to student’s homes every Wednesday. Sign up to drive!

Promote School Meal Benefits on Social

Please encourage families to apply for school meal benefits for the 20-21 school year by posting these graphics and messages on your social media accounts. 

Encourage Families to Apply Online for School Meal Benefits!

The Multipurpose Family Income form for the 2020-21 school year is available online at The form is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Families must submit a new application each school year to qualify for meal benefits. Please share with families that even if their children do not eat school meals, submitting this form helps to secure classroom funding.

Meal benefits are available regardless of citizenship status and eligible families should continue to apply; the “public charge” rule does not apply to school meal programs. 

At the beginning of the school year, SNS sends eligible families a letter of eligibility or a letter of direct certification. Families that receive direct certification letters are automatically eligible for free meals and do not need to submit the Multipurpose Family Income Form on SchoolCafe.  

For assistance, families may reach out to SNS at 415-749-3604 or

Family Digest

Read today's family digest.

Warm regards,
Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews

This page was last updated on August 27, 2020