Morse High School in Skyline Hills, one of the sites where students can pick up Chromebooks through May 1. Photo credit: Ken Stone

Officials encouraged families with students in the San Diego Unified School District to take advantage of distance learning resources as graded work resumes Monday for district students.

Leaders shuttered schools through the end of the school year due to COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders. That led to the district’s April 6 launch of its Distance Learning Plan.

The soft launch included distribution of nearly 50,000 Chromebooks for home instruction, according to Superintendent Cindy Marten.

She said 90% of students have been able to connect with the program thus far.

Marten urged those without computers or internet access to still pick up Chromebooks for home use. Laptop distribution sites include Clairemont, Crawford, Hoover, Morse, Lincoln, San Diego and Scripps Ranch high schools.

They are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through next Friday.

Marten also said the district continues to work to ensure homeless students in shelters have access to wifi in order to take part in distance learning.

Eligible low-income families are able to receive free internet service through mid-July through Cox Communications’ Connect2Compete service.

Customers have until May 15 to sign up for the offer, which provides the service free of charge through July 15.

Families are eligible for free service if they are not current Cox customers and:

  • have at least one kindergarten through 12th grade student at home
  • receive benefits from the National School Lunch, SNAP or TANF programs
  • live in public housing

More than 10,000 families within the district have used the service to date, according to Cox senior vice president and regional manager Sam Attisha. Another 8,000 have been pre-approved for expedited services, he said.

Though libraries also remain closed, online resources include 50 research databases, 98,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks and “Stay-in Storytime” videos.

– City News Service

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