Eugene Brucker Education Center is headquarters of the San Diego Unified School District. File photo

The San Diego Unified School District announced Thursday nearly 90% of students have connected to distance-learning classes since the start of the soft launch period on April 6.

Students and teachers will begin formal graded online instruction on Monday, April 27.

Student connectivity is based on the number of individually identified students logging in to connect with their teachers and schools during the soft launch of distance learning, a district statement said. Log-ins were captured across a variety of platforms.

“When the COVID-19 crisis forced us to close schools on March 13, even then we were clear in our determination that this school year will count for our students. We will recognize the work they have completed, give them the opportunity to learn more, make this academic year count for all our students,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “We have been equally clear that these opportunities must be available to all our students, because equity is at the core of our work.”

Partnerships with internet service providers have encouraged qualifying families to take advantage of free or discounted full-service internet offers, the statement said.

San Diego Unified has distributed more than 47,000 laptops to students since April 6. At the same time, teachers have participated in professional development sessions designed to help them shift their practices from the classroom to the computer.

“Our shared efforts to support students, families, and educators are critical in this moment of crisis,” said San Diego Education Association President Kisha Borden. “We are here for each other and will continue to stay connected and educate our students during this difficult time.”

Ahead of Monday’s formal graded rollout of distance learning, San Diego Unified has coordinated an outreach effort to contact the remaining students who have yet to connect with their schools. Computers are still available to any student who needs one, and are available for pick up at designated distribution centers through May 1.

“While the majority of students have connected with their schools, we have more work to do,” Marten said. “We want every single student to continue their education. This school year matters, and so do all of our students.”

For information on how to pick up a Chromebook, families should call 619-260-2460. For technical support on Chromebooks, call 619-732-1400. Information is also available on the district website.

— City News Service

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