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Sacramento schools are back in session but shy roughly 19,000 Chromebooks for students

As the first week back for Sacramento City Unified School District starts, the district has only distributed 12,000 Chromebooks for the start of distance learning.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento schools are officially back in session for students in the Sacramento City Unified School District [SCUSD]. 

After the coronavirus triggered statewide school closures, districts had to move toward distance learning to make sure kids finish their education for the school year. 

One of the biggest components was getting technology into students’ hands, so they could be apart of their new virtual classroom. SCUSD rolled out distribution last week, getting Chromebooks in the hands of roughly 12,000 students. 

However, there’s still a lot more work to do.

"This week is going to feel like the start of a new school year," said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar.

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With the return to already school kicking off, Aguilar said about 19,000 Chromebooks still have to be distributed to students, which should happen this week and in coming weeks as those packages get shipped.

While the district tries to find a way to expedite those shipments, they say their distance learning plan will let students get back to learning, even if they don’t have a Chromebook at this time. 

The plan is a hybrid model, which lets the instruction take place online, over the phone, via textbook, and other school materials and assigned work.

It’s part of the reason why the district says they can begin on April 13, even if all their students don't have a computer.

As for teachers and the classrooms, they'll be learning back into the school workflow. 

“During this week, we’re still learning about what the technology is, when students have that access, and we’re trying to meet those needs...,” said Christine Baeta, chief academic officer.

She says the first week of school will be about establishing relationships and learning what the needs are for students and families..

As for what students are taught during the distance learning period, Baeta described them as “essential standards.”

"They're the standards that have longevity for our students," said Baeta. "They are the rungs and the ladder. The must learn and master to the absolute degree [so] that we can ensure mastery so that students can move to the next rung on the ladder."

 Aguilar said there is likely to be challenges, but the district intends to work through them.

"This is an extraordinary challenge that we're facing. We're creating new ways of learning in a matter of a few weeks. This is not necessarily something that is in a playbook," said Aguilar.

He said the move to distance learning was a necessary decision in order to meet the needs of their students.

"The way that we see it this is really the only way that we will make sure that our children's futures don't become the next victim of this pandemic," Aguilar said.

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