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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego Unified School District begins distance learning Monday

On April 27, graded instruction will resume for traditional schools, and May 11 for year-round schools, for the remainder of the academic year.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The San Diego Unified School District began its "soft launch" for distance learning Monday. The program will run through April 24.

The district received the final support necessary after reaching a tentative agreement with the San Diego Education Association. The district now has the full backing of stakeholders to provide all students with the opportunity to finish the school year they started months ago while providing teachers with the professional resources they need, according to Superintendent Cindy Marten.

"This emergency may change the way we operate, but it will not change who we are as educators or who we are as a district," Marten said.

"Our commitment from the beginning of the current health crisis was to find a way to keep students safe, while still providing them the opportunity to continue their education," she said. "We made the decision to close schools to protect students -- before the state required us to do so, and from that moment forward, thousands of dedicated professionals in the district have been working nonstop to come up with a plan to connect students with their teachers."

San Diego Unified is the state's largest district to announce a plan to return to formal grading and instruction. Those changes will take effect following the soft launch period. Districts around the state are still working to transition to online and graded instruction.

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"This agreement reflects our shared commitment to continue serving students under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable," said SDEA President Kisha Borden.

Starting Monday, computers and/or internet access will be provided to all district students who need them, and teachers will begin communicating with students online. For the three-week period, students will be given credit for work that is done, although material will not be graded. On April 27, graded instruction will resume for traditional schools, and May 11 for year-round schools, for the remainder of the academic year.

For students in TK-12 who need a computer, Chromebooks will be available for check-out, depending on where students attend school, at the following high schools: Clairemont, Crawford, Hoover, Lincoln, Morse, San Diego High and Scripps Ranch. Families will receive information this weekend on when and where to pick up their Chromebooks.

Families who need internet connectivity within the Cox service area should sign up for the Connect2Compete program, which offers free Cox installation and internet services for the next 60 days.