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Back to School FAQ

  1. Enrollment
  2. Heading Back to School
  3. Science
  4. Safety
  5. Masks
  6. Testing
  7. Vaccines
  8. Students on campus
  9. Coming on to campus
  10. Online option
  11. Social and emotional well-being
  12. Making sure students feel welcome
  13. Student Success
  14. Digital access
  15. Special Educational
  16. English Learners
  17. Specific subjects
  18. Athletics 



Is there still time to enroll for school, including the Virtual Academy?

Yes. See Enrollment Options for more info.

How do I enroll my student in San Diego Unified? 

All students are guaranteed enrollment in their neighborhood school. Families who are new to the district may pre-enroll online or in person. For details on the enrollment process, please visit our Office of Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options. There, you will find information on enrollment procedures for continuing and new-to-district families, along with other useful information.

How do I enroll for the online school (virtual academy)? 

We understand that not everyone will be ready or comfortable with returning to in-person learning. With that in mind, all San Diego Unified K-12 students have the option to enroll in the new online Virtual Academy for the 2021-22 school year.  

Students who still wish to enroll in the Virtual Academy should complete this interest form or simply email virtualacademy@sandi.net with your child’s name, grade level for 2021-22, student ID number, and current school of attendance.

Students and families will be sent classroom information prior to the first day of school.

If I enroll for the online school, will I lose my place at my current school of attendance, Prime Time or other after school options?


Can I apply to attend a school outside of my neighborhood?

Yes, families who are new to the district are welcome to enroll via the Choice program for 2021-2022. If space is still available, your student may be offered enrollment. For more, please visit our Office of Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options

How can I apply to an Early Learning program for my 3 or 4 year old?

Many elementary schools in San Diego Unified are now offering Universal Transitional Kindergarten for students who will be 4 by September 1. The program provides students with a full day of learning through exploration, inquiry, and interaction every day. It’s a great way to give your children the knowledge and skills needed for kindergarten success. If your student is too young for the full-day program, or you are interested in a part-day program for any other reason, many schools have morning and afternoon-only options available.

There are no school boundary requirements for either program, and if your first school choice isn’t available, you’re free to choose another. To enroll in either program, please call the Neighborhood School and Enrollment Options office at (619) 260-2410. You may also visit us in person at 4100 Normal Street, Annex 12. Our office hours are from 8:30a to 4:30p, and Zoom appointments are also available. You may also enroll directly in transitional kindergarten by contacting any of the schools offering the program. Over the next few years, the district will expand early learning across the entire district. We’re looking forward to seeing your little ones!

Heading back to school

How do I prepare my student to return to the classroom successfully? 

Our Back to School Guide includes resources and up-to-date information for families on the new school year. Please see page 18 for information specifically intended to help prepare your student for a successful school year.

One of the most important things you can do right now is to enroll your student in the District’s comprehensive on-site COVID testing program. Getting tested at school may allow students to stay in school - even if another classmate tests positive for Covid-19. The new modified quarantine option allows students to remain in school, so long as they take part in regular testing. Previously, students were required to quarantine alone at home. In short, students can frequently “test in school to stay in school” this year.

How can families help their students transition back to school?

  • Establishing routines that work best for your child
  • Continuing ongoing communication with your child’s educators
  • Assuring your child they will be cared for and supported at school
  • Having a designated time and space to read, review school content or study
  • Scheduling special times when students can discuss their school experiences

Tips and strategies families can cultivate at home:

  • Stay healthy: Continue to follow all public health guidelines to protect you and others from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Monitor district communication for up-to-date information.
  • Communicate with school staff regarding technology needs. The district has set up a technology helpline to assist students and families. The Family Technology Support Line is available to assist families.  Please call  (619) 732-1400 from 8:00  am to 5:00 pm. 
  • Continue to enhance your wellness and the well-being of your family. Our Wellness website has family and student resources. 
  • For more information please visit, LiveWell@Home San Diego.
  • Be gentle with yourself and your family. Remember: We are in this together and we are here to support you. 

Will the district be partnering with parents to offer support? 

Yes. The Family Engagement Department has resources available to help parents:

  • Families can use High Impact Home Strategies to support their child’s learning at home.
  • Online training modules for students and families. These modules will be available for families to access at their convenience. 
  • The Family Engagement Department, will continue to offer weekly family workshops, designed for parents and students participation, to enhance student learning and family engagement. Family Engagement Events Calendar

The Family Engagement team has office hours available to support families. To learn more about the many resources offered by the Family Engagement Department, their website

What other services will be provided to families? 

Parents as Partners will continue to support families as the new year begins.  The district is committed to helping  families in an effort to accelerate student learning.

Parent coaching sessions will continue to be online to accommodate the schedules of our families. The platform provides our families the convenience of joining virtual sessions from any location using the device of their choice. Coaching sessions allow families and district staff to deepen connections, listen to a variety of voices, seek input, and answer questions.

We know family involvement impacts student growth and achievement, and therefore we are excited to continue these monthly coaching sessions.  For more information, please view our Back to School Guide, pages 32 and 33. 


How was the decision made to return to school full time, five days a week? 

We have been preparing to reopen schools as soon as it would be safe to do so for more than a year. Returning to in-person, full time instruction is based on reopening standards proposed by the State Legislature and current public health guidelines. It is also based on teacher access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing. 

Has San Diego Unified consulted with scientific and medical experts regarding reopening? 

Yes. The district has been consulting with a panel of researchers and medical experts from UCSD throughout the pandemic. 


Will school sites follow COVID-19 safety guidelines? 

Yes. San Diego Unified has put into place substantial measures to protect the safety of all students, faculty, and staff on our campuses this year, including upgraded HVAC filtration from MERV 8 to a MERV 13, use of highly effective portable HEPA air purifiers, exceeding current requirements, and a requirement to wear masks indoors at all times, and outdoors in certain high density settings. For more information, please take a look at the Back to School Guide

What ventilation protocols is the district implementing to keep my student safe?

Ventilation is a key component to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. As the district moves to having more people on campus and students in classrooms, ensuring adequate room ventilation is key to reducing the airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors. The District’s Back to School Guide, page 15 provides more information related to ventilation. 

Adequate ventilation is achieved by bringing in more outdoor air through open windows and doors, and by providing recirculated air that is highly filtered. These are best practices for diluting or displacing airborne COVID-19 particles, if the particles happen to be present in a room.

San Diego Unified is finalizing a program to provide air conditioning in every classroom in every school. The vast majority of schools are air-conditioned.       

The district has planned for maximum ventilation, with our goal to maintain five air exchanges per hour in the classroom. This is based on guidance from Harvard and the University of Colorado Boulder and in collaboration with our UCSD expert panel.  In order to achieve this, the district has implemented the following: 

  • All existing HVAC systems have been serviced and filters have been replaced.  Higher levels of filtration (i.e. Merv-13) are being installed in all systems that can accommodate them.  Systems have been adjusted to bring in more outside air.
  • Using natural ventilation (opening doors and windows, even when the HVAC is running).
  • Using air purifiers with HEPA filters (provides a higher level of filtration).  Air purifiers have been allocated to each site, and the numbers of purifiers in a classroom will vary based on MERV rating, room size, number of windows, type of HVAC system, etc. Air purifiers will be placed in strategic locations for maximum effectiveness. 

San Diego Unified is monitoring ventilation effectiveness in our school sites to ensure that the air exchanges are occurring and that the air is healthy for students and staff.  This is done by monitoring remote sensors spread across the district.  Indoor particulate sensors, which can measure microscopic size particles that could transport COVID-19 virus, are deployed and will be rotated to various rooms to gather information and inform decisions.  Also, carbon dioxide (CO2) detectors are in place in various classrooms to test the air. This has a different function than the particulate sensor and will help to determine the amount of fresh air entering the room.  Neither monitor detects COVID-19 but does help us to determine if we are providing quality room ventilation.  If either sensor records concerning numbers, district staff will determine what measures can be taken to correct the issue.  

What is the expectation for sanitation in classrooms?

Cleansing wipes (otherwise known as baby wipes) will be provided to schools to clean desks and chairs. Students may be asked to wipe down chairs and desks after use. Our Back to School Guide provides more information. 

What safety protocols will be in place during on-campus meal times?

Schools are planning to serve all meals outdoors, weather and space permitting. Schools may use areas throughout the campus to assist in distancing children while they eat.   

Hand sanitizing dispensers will be located in lunch areas. Students will need to either wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer prior to picking up their food.

What is the district doing to keep students safe while riding a school bus?

Students will be wearing masks, they will be seated strategically, windows will be open and a vent will be used for circulation. Page 16 of our Back to School Guide, has more information on boarding & disembarking, disinfecting & cleaning, and face mask requirements.


What is the district’s policy on the use of masks? 

The district follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health. The Back to School Guide, page 14 provides useful information related to use of masks. Please visit the link to the CDC’s study of the effectiveness of masks: Scientific Brief: Community Use of Cloth Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 | CDC

Are masks required at all times?

Masks are always required indoors. Masks are now required outdoors at all times while students are on campus, unless they are eating. Currently, large-scale events are not recommended for any school sites due to the increased risk of exposure. 
We highly encourage students to take mask breaks outdoors. During these breaks students should maintain 6 feet distance from each other. Wearing masks outdoors lessens the likelihood of student exposure and allows more students to qualify for a modified quarantine.  
Masks may be removed outdoors in certain situations and with certain distancing recommendations during physical educator, athletics and performing arts programs.

Will the district provide masks of varying levels of comfort, fit, and filtering ability?

Yes. The district has a variety of masks for student and staff use.  The district has a supply of cloth and disposable masks, N95 masks for staff use, masks with clear insert for TK - 2 students, for language development, and a supply of KF94 masks, a mask with higher level filtration, are on their way from one of our suppliers.

Can wearing a mask for long periods of time harm my student?

We consult with district pediatrician, Dr. Howard Taras, who specializes in the fields of School Health, community engagement and clinical research and is also a professor of pediatrics at UCSD School of Medicine. 

Dr. Taras has advised it is a misconception that rebreathing your own exhaled carbon dioxide by continually wearing a mask will cause health problems.  Carbon dioxide will not build up behind a regular cloth or surgical mask. Cloth or surgical masks allow gases to pass through easily in both directions trapping particles (droplets) out. Dr. Taras further advised that months of experience with children and adults worldwide wearing masks prove the safety and benefits of wearing a mask. 

*We update our FAQs on a regular basis to stay current with district, local and state guidelines

Is COVID-19 testing conducted weekly or bi-weekly for the asymptomatic testing program?  

Testing is conducted  weekly.  

Are schools providing rapid antigen or PCR tests?

UC San Diego is contracted to offer PCR tests at most district high schools. In some of our busier high schools, Responsive Lab Partners is also on site administering rapid antigen tests. Elementary and middle schools offer antigen tests for screenings (as well as for students who present at school with symptoms or who are close contacts with a COVID-positive individual).  When a rapid antigen test is positive, our lab partners will soon have the capacity to do a confirmatory PCR test before the student leaves campus.  

Will on-site tests be available to all students, or just those who enroll in the surveillance program?

San Diego Unified has an “opt-in” form that parents are encouraged to sign. Once they sign the “opt-in” form they then must also consent to testing from our partner laboratory.  Only those students who signed consent can get testing at school sites.  Parents can opt in or opt out at any time.

Will tests that are administered outside of the school system be accepted for re-entry into the classroom before traditional quarantine is completed, assuming the test results are negative?

Tests done outside of the school testing program are honored as equal to any test that is done at a school setting. These tests can shorten or eliminate an “at-home” quarantine, as long as they are within the regulations defined by the California Department of Public Health.  The County’s public health order (and this district) do not have any quarantine or isolation practices that differ from those that the State requires. Please note that home tests are not honored.

The issue of performing an antigen vs PCR test in the weekly asymptomatic testing program at school can impact the value of testing from the individual's standpoint as well as the risk of false positives, forced quarantines, etc.

When an antigen test is negative from an asymptomatic individual, that test is not repeated with a PCR or other test.   However, an antigen test that is negative from any symptomatic individual must always be followed by a lab-based PCR test, immediately afterwards, in most cases.  This practice and policy has been endorsed and encouraged by the San Diego County Laboratory Testing Task Force as well as by Dr. Carol Glaser at California Department of Public Health. 

Where can I find the latest COVID-19 testing data?

COVID-19 test results will be updated as they are received and promptly published to the district website: sandiegounified.org/covidtesting

Is testing available to all students and staff on campus?

Yes. Beginning Aug. 30, the first day of school, all schools and main district administrative offices will have  COVID testing capabilities.

Online learners can go to the County website for test availability. San Diego County has convenient testing facilities located near your home or school. For a list of those sites and their hours of operation, see this County map, or call 211 for information.

Why is the district not mandating testing for all students like Los Angeles Unified?

San Diego Unified is making testing universal by visiting every school campus at least once per week to test all unvaccinated staff members. Any student may get tested at that time, and many students will be required to take part in testing in order to participate in after school athletics. Additionally, schools may do follow-up testing of close contacts of anyone who tests positive. This follow-up testing means after close contact with someone at school, who tests positive, students must either quarantine at home or take part in frequent testing at school, subject to the County decision tree.

I heard testing participation was very low last spring. Will it be higher for the fall?

Yes, not only is testing more widely available than it was in the spring, but every student now has a strong incentive to get tested. In the spring, many families chose not to test their students because the rates of infection were declining and a positive test would result in a student being sent home, missing out on the chance for in-person learning. Now, every student has a strong incentive to get tested, because getting tested at school may allow students to stay in school - even if another classmate tests positive for Covid-19. The new modified quarantine option frequently allows students to remain in school, so long as they take part in regular testing. Previously, students were required to quarantine alone at home. In short, students can “test in school to stay in school” this year.

All families will be required to state their testing choice within two weeks of the start of the new school year. Families may either choose to opt into testing, or they may decide not to participate. However, in the event of a close contact or becoming symptomatic, unvaccinated students who are not taking part in testing will be required to quarantine at home and out of the classroom environment due to County guidelines.

If a staff member or student tests COVID-19 positive, what are the protocols? 

The District follows the San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego County Public Health’s co-developed Decision Tree which is designed to assist school personnel in making decisions on how to handle students or staff members who become ill or present symptoms while at school.  Students and staff who test positive or are a close contact of someone who tests positive may be required to stay home for a prescribed period of time as determined by a county public health decision tree. Please contact your site nurse for more specific information. Our Back to School Guide, page 11-12 outlines the notification protocol. 



See Also: Medical Safety of Vaccines and Confronting Misinformation

Who is required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The district approved a staggered approach to have all eligible students vaccinated against COVID-19, as a condition of attending in-person learning. The timeline for requiring the required vaccination will be aligned to the full FDA approval. Mandatory testing will be required for all unvaccinated students until full FDA approval of the vaccine for their age group. 

All students who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are required to be vaccinated, excluding those with qualified medical exemptions or conditional admissions. For more information, please see the Board of Education report  (Item H.3). 

What is the deadline for my student to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine deadlines are staggered beginning with stage 1 for students 16 years and older. Students in stage 1 are required to receive their first vaccine by November 29 and their second dose by December 20. Stage 2 and 3 applies to students ages 15 and younger who will be required to receive the vaccine, pending FDA approval for their age group.  

What happens if my student does not get the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Eligible students who do not have proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will be excluded from in-person instruction without a qualified exemption or conditional admission. Those students who are not eligible for in-person instruction would be offered an alternative education program.

Why is San Diego Unified requiring student vaccinations? 

San Diego Unified is working to ensure the highest-quality instruction in the safest environment possible for all students. Scientific evidence shows that vaccinations are an essential part of protecting our communities. Vaccines are the most preventive of all strategies. Unlike masking, ventilation, and testing, vaccination protects students before the virus is introduced into the setting, reducing disease and new mutations. Vaccines protect unvaccinated family members and other adults who have and haven’t been vaccinated. School-age children get sick and contribute to new infections. They are the greatest proportion of unvaccinated in the U.S. More children have been hospitalized recently than any previous time during the epidemic. For more information, please see the Board of Education report  (Item H.3). 

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost? 

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all students at no cost, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Where can I take my student to get a COVID-19 vaccine? 

For a list of vaccine centers near you, please go to http://myturn.ca.gov/. If you cannot find a vaccine center near you, please contact your primary care provider or health office. Information from the County of San Diego can be found here. The district will be hosting vaccine clinics at school sites. Information will be posted on the district COVID-19 vaccine website.  

Can my student participate in in-person extracurricular activities (sports, after school programs, district sponsored events) if they are not fully vaccinated?

Your child will not be permitted to participate in in-person extracurricular activities without proof of vaccination if they qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Extracurricular activity takes place outside of the instructional day that is supervised or financed by the district where students represent the school/district.

What do I do if I have lost my vaccination card?

If a student has lost their vaccine record, they can get a digital record at https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov

Are there religious exemptions for students?

As with other immunizations for students, state law does not recognize religious or personal belief exemptions.

When vaccines are offered at school sites, do parents or guardians need to accompany students to be vaccinated? 

Parents and guardians do not need to accompany students to be vaccinated so long as the student is enrolled at the school offering vaccines. Parents and guardians are welcome to accompany students or to designate a responsible adult to accompany their child. Eligible students will be vaccinated if they present a vaccination consent form signed by a parent or guardian. See the district’s Nursing & Wellness website for more details for vaccine availability. 

Do students need parental consent to be vaccinated?

Yes. With limited exceptions for emancipated minors and others legally permitted to self-consent, students age 12-17 will not be vaccinated without written consent from a parent or legal guardian. See the district’s Nursing & Wellness website for more details for vaccine availability.

My child is already vaccinated. Do I need to do anything? 
Not yet.  You may have to submit a copy of your immunization record for our files but that is to be determined. 
My child will be vaccinated soon. How do I submit proof and keep them enrolled in class? 
The district is working on a system that will allow parents/guardians to upload their student(s) vaccine card. The district will notify families once this system is ready. 
My child is not yet 16 but will turn 16 this year. How long after their birthday do I have to submit proof of vaccination? 
If your student turns 16 by November 1, 2021, or sooner, you will be required to have proof of the COVID-19 vaccination to attend in-person learning.  This requirement may change once the State of California COVID-19 vaccine requirements are implemented. 
Where do I submit a medical exemption request or letter from my child's qualified medical professional? 
You can submit your request to your site nurse or at immunizations@sandi.net.  Medical exemption requests must be from a California licensed doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathic medicine, nurse practitioner or a physician assistant and include a medical rationale and a release of information to allow school health staff to communicate with the medical professional.  
What will happen when San Diego Unified athletic teams play against schools with no vaccine mandate? 
San Diego Unified students will be allowed to play teams with unvaccinated players. Because our students are vaccinated, if there was a case of COVID-19 during play, our vaccinated students do not have to quarantine and would be able to continue their season without delay.

Students on campus

What will instruction look like for the new year?

Students on campus will take part in in-person instruction, maintain connection  with teachers and peers, access to supports  and enrichment opportunities and incorporate technology in new ways. 

How will attendance be taken?

Student attendance will be taken daily in PowerSchool. Visit our Back to School Guide, page 24 for more information related to attendance taking procedures.  

My student is in quarantine. Will they be marked absent during quarantine? 

Page 24 of the District’s Back to School Guide, page 24 for more information related to attendance.  

Will my student have access to on-campus meals?

Yes. All meals are available at no charge for all students, regardless of family income. School sites will provide contact-free meal service to protect students and employees.  Students participating in on-site learning will receive a nutritious lunch daily. School sites will offer take-home meal bags with breakfast for the next day, evening and weekend meals to all students as they depart for the day. For more information, please take a look at our Back to School Guide, page 17.

Some middle and high schools may offer breakfast on-campus during their nutrition break passing period. Students participating in Primetime and 21st Century after school programs will be offered their evening meals on-campus during those programs.

Is there a certain protocol for students using the restroom?

Page 14 of the Back to School Guide includes useful information related to physical distancing.

What is the protocol for PE classes? Will students have access to locker rooms?

Physical distancing is no longer required during PE. Should a student contract COVID-19, the school site will follow the school/district policy. If parents have a concern with their student participating in PE due to COVID-19, they should speak with their school site to request a modified program.  

Students will have access to locker rooms. As a reminder, students and staff must wear masks indoors.  Due to possible changes to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, please confirm this information with your school site.

What is the district doing to keep students safe while riding a school bus?

Students will be wearing masks, they will be seated strategically, windows will be open and a vent will be used for circulation. Page 16 of our Back to School Guide, has more information on boarding & disembarking, disinfecting & cleaning, and face mask requirements.

Coming onto campus

Are families able to come on campus?

To comply with the health and safety guidelines, only “essential” visitors or volunteers will be on campus. Please contact your school site to learn who qualifies as an essential visitor/volunteer. All visitors and volunteers must comply with the district’s school health and safety guidelines. 

Can parents volunteer during the first week of school?

Yes - with approval by their school administration. All volunteers must adhere to our health and safety guidelines as well as the California Department of Public Health guidance for K12 schools. 

Online Option

Is there still time to enroll for school, including online school?

Yes. See Enrollment Options.

How do I enroll for the online school? 

We understand that not everyone will be ready or comfortable with returning to in-person learning. With that in mind, all San Diego Unified K-12 students have the option to enroll in the new online Virtual Academy for the 2021-22 school year.  

Students who still wish to enroll in the Virtual Academy should complete this interest form at https://tinyurl.com/yebjh4hg or simply email virtualacademy@sandi.net with your child’s name, grade level for 2021-22, student ID number, and current school of attendance.

Students  and families will be sent classroom information prior to the first day of school.

If I enroll for the online school, will I lose my place at my current school of attendance?


What will online learning look like? 

Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy will participate in both “live” & asynchronous instruction. Students will have cameras on during “live” whole group and small group. Be ready to learn with materials. Have a dedicated space at-home for learning. Instruction for elementary students includes 1/3 “live” whole group instruction, 1/3 “live” small group instruction, and 1/3 independent practice.

Instruction for secondary students will include three classes per quarter: 1/3 “live” whole group instruction,1/3 additional whole group or small group instruction, 1/3 office hours & independent practice and additional 90 minutes asynchronous learning. Our Back to School Guide, page 19-26 has more information related to instruction. 

What will students be expected to do?

Virtual learners will have 360 instructional minutes, not inclusive of snack or lunch breaks; Online academic instruction, social-emotional learning, and opportunities for onsite learning, extracurriculars, and special in-person events.

How will attendance be taken?

Student attendance will be taken daily in PowerSchool. Visit our Back to School Guide, page 24 for more information related to attendance taking procedures. 

My student is in quarantine. Will they be marked absent during quarantine? 

Page 24 of the District’s Back to School Guide, page 24 for more information related to attendance.  

Will school sites offer Grab & Go Meals?

Yes. The district will distribute curbside Grab n’ Go meals at designated school locations. Grab & Go Meals include breakfast, lunch, evening and weekend meals to all students participating in Virtual Academy. Grab & Go Meal sites will follow health and  safety protocols, including hand hygiene, physical distancing, wearing face coverings and gloves.

Social and emotional well-being

Will the district support students’ physical, social and emotional well-being? 

Yes. The district continues to support students’ social, emotional and physical well-being during these unprecedented times. Students are provided with a positive school environment, wellness lessons included in everyday instruction, connecting families with needed social services, and referral and intervention services. Page 22 of our Back to School Guide, has more information.

Is my school counselor available to offer support? 

Yes, school counselors will be offering direct student and family services. Counselors will be checking in with students and providing support to students in their academic progress and social-emotional health. Students and families may be offered individual, group interventions or a combination of both.

I need help (mental health) 

Mental health and wellness is critical for parents and students during this challenging time. The district has created a web site with available resources. There’s also a self-care tool for youth Gritx.org and a mindfulness platform specifically designed for mental health, Inner Explorer, that includes short, 5-10 minute activities for our students and families. Below are additional resources available to our students and families. 

Mental Health Resource Center

Our Mental Health Resource Center offers a variety of mental health services to our students, including services for students with IEPs. Please see services provided to students here.

School Link Mental Health

Teen Recovery Centers

Other additional resources

The California Department of Education - Student and Family Mental Health Resources

Child Abuse Hotline 1-858-560-2191

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

Mental Health and Substance Use Services 1-888-724-7240

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

How else can we stay healthy?

Stay active! Our physical education teachers have set up a site for continued learning. The district athletics department has also shared information.

Making sure all students feel welcome

What is the district doing to build anti-racist and restorative school communities? 

The Board of Education recently approved the revision of our suspension/expulsion procedures as well as the implementation of our Restorative Discipline Policy. 

How do the actions taken by the Board of Education help eliminate inequities?

The revision of our suspension/expulsion procedures and our Restorative Discipline Policy will eliminate the barriers that prevent our students of color from receiving equitable access, experiences, and outcomes. 

What other actions have the district implemented to eliminate inequities?

The district formed the Transforming School Police Working Group to improve student experiences with school police and eliminate the barriers that prevent students of color from receiving equitable access, experiences, and outcomes.

What was the outcome of the Transforming School Police Working Group?

The Board of Trustees approved the working group’s recommendations to help guide the district’s path forward as it works to transform the way we provide support to students through school police. Among the recommendations: 

  • Assess the impact of school police interactions with youth and community
  • Train School Police on how to engage with youth and community members    
  • Train our site leaders around school police involvement  
  • Shift to a cluster-wide school police support model to ensuring school police resources are strategically deployed
  • Change School Police uniforms to allow for more approachability while still maintaining identification that preserves the safety of the officer and those they serve

Student success

How will students be tested and assessed?

The District is committed to providing students with meaningful assessments and feedback. Educators will engage students in fair, valid and reliable formative and summative assessments to inform instruction and to provide regular and timely feedback. Page 23 of our Back to School Guide has more detailed information related to assessments. 

Will we still have state testing? 

Yes. The California Department of Education has released the testing calendar for the 2021-22 school year.

Can you explain how the standards-based grading policy works?  

Our standards remain rigorous, relevant, and aligned to state standards. Providing opportunities for revision and reassessment will allow students to relearn content or material that they may not have fully understood the first time it was taught. Students will be able to learn from their mistakes and demonstrate mastery of knowledge at more than just one point in time. Our Back to School Guide, page 23 has more detailed information related to standard-based grading.

When will the revised grading policy be fully implemented for grades 6-12?

Staff have begun implementation of the policy and will continue to collaborate and align grading practices to the revised policy. New academic definitions, citizenship marks, and grading comments will be available for use within PowerSchool for the 2021-22 school year. 

Why is the district making this shift?

Our focus as a district continues to be on educating the whole child and providing quality, standards-based instruction for each child in every neighborhood. At the elementary level, educators have been using standards-based grading and reporting practices for nearly a decade. The shift in our grading policy is to provide clarity and transparency in communicating progress toward mastery of standards for our entire San Diego Unified community, TK-12. By removing non-academic factors from the academic grade and ensuring students have multiple means and opportunities to demonstrate mastery, our academic grades will more accurately reflect student knowledge and skill.

What are the “nonacademic factors” that will move to the citizenship grade?

Nonacademic factors include general behavior, punctuality, effort, and work habits. Students are still expected to turn assignments in on time and behave appropriately, however these factors will now directly affect the citizenship grade rather than the academic grade. Educators will still have due dates for assignments and will establish a timeframe for when late work will be accepted. 

Will ALL assignments be revised or reassessed? 

Educators will provide “opportunities” for revision and reassessment. Educators will determine the type and frequency of revisions and reassessments based on their content area. Due dates for class assignments, late submissions, revisions and reassessments will also be established in order to give educators enough time to enter scores into the final grade. Over the next few weeks, educators, grade-level teams, departments and school sites will determine which assignments can be revised or reassessed and will communicate directly with families the type, frequency, and timeframe.  

Digital access

Will students be required to transport their devices each day?

Yes, students should be expected to transport their devices each day from home to school and back unless directed otherwise by their school and/or teacher. For more information, please view our Back to School Guide, page  28 and 29.

What if I don’t have a computer?

We will continue to provide personal laptops to families that need them. Your school of enrollment will be able to distribute devices and will provide instructions so you may plan for a pick-up. 

What do I have to bring to get a computer?

Your school of enrollment will provide you with this information. For more information, please view our Back to School Guide, page  28 and 29.

What if I am having issues with the computer I was given or need tech support?

The Family Technology Support Line is available to assist families.  Please call  (619) 732-1400 from 8:00  am to 5:00 pm. 

What if I don’t have access to the internet?

Families that need help with connectivity, call  (619) 260-2460. 

Will my student be safe online with a district-issued computer?

San Diego Unified has implemented a new cloud based-web filtering software for students called iboss. It allows the district to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and extends web filtering for student devices regardless of the location they are learning in. With the iboss cloud, security follows the student, and ensures that the same level of protection and compliance is applied to a student regardless of whether they are on campus or at home. All district distributed Chromebooks will have the web filtering extension installed on it, no action will be required from the students or school staff.

Special Education 

How is the district supporting students with IEPs?

The Special Education department is committed to supporting students and families in an integrated way by providing increased Related Service providers (Speech and Language Pathologists and School Psychologists) assigned to school sites. Visit our Back to School Guide, page 21 for more information related to Special Education.

English Learners

How is the district supporting English Learners?

The Office of Language Acquisition (OLA) continues to support our multilingual learners with instructional supports to accelerate their language growth and development. The District’s Back to School Guide, page 21 has more information related to multilingual learners. If you have additional questions, please email ola@sandi.net

Specific Subjects

What do you have for the Arts? 

The health and safety of all students is the highest priority of the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Department.  As such, the VAPA staff continues to inform and support teachers and schools to follow all health and safety guidance. Our Back to School Guide, page 27 has more information related to VAPA.

Will students be taught sex education and health education this year, whether online or in-person? 

Students currently in grade 6, grade 8, in high school biology, or in a 10th grade class will receive sex education, whether offered in-person or online. If offered online, the curriculum has been adapted to an online learning environment.

Are my college courses still available online?

Most community college courses will remain online for Fall 2021. Students need to access the SDCCD Canvas Login Page and will need to use their 10-digit College Student Identification (CSID) number, and password, to access their coursework. 


Which sports are now taking place in San Diego Unified?

Traditional seasons for all student athletes (fall, winter, spring) are back for 2021-22. For more information, please view our Back to School Guide, page 30.  

Due to possible changes to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, please confirm all sports-related information with your school site. 

Do students playing sports have to be tested? 

Weekly testing will continue to be required for students who are not vaccinated for all sports. Contact your school site for more information regarding testing. 

Now that all sports are open, can I watch my student play and practice?


Health and Safety  Protocols have been established for all  athletic events.  Please check with your school site for indoor and outdoor spectator policies and viewing options.

Are parents allowed to watch their student athletes participate in indoor CIF sporting events? 

Please check with your  school site for indoor and  outdoor spectator policies  and viewing options. Parents can stay up-to-date by visiting the CIF San Diego Section Updated Information and Calendars: www.cifsds.org/.


How about my pets?

The San Diego Humane Society is supporting families and their pets who need extra help during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please visit the Human Society website at https://www.sdhumane.org/programs/support-services/pantry-service.html