San Diego County superintendents discuss gaps in distance learning amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 10:52 AM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 13:52:43-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Superintendents from around San Diego County held a virtual round table to field questions directly from parents. They tackled some of the toughest issues facing families, including how to help students without internet access and those with special needs.

For Calah Egan's family, distance learning has been more than a challenge so far. Her 3-year-old, Cadence, and 5-year-old, Callen, both have autism.

"With autism, it's hard to get him to sit down and actually focus on something," said Egan.

As a family, they're trying to adjust. But without the one-on-one attention her kids normally get from their teachers, it's been tough.

"With special education, it is so hands-on because a lot of our kids don't even respond to their name," said Egan.

On Thursday, district superintendents from San Diego Unified, Sweetwater, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista, and La Mesa held a virtual town hall with state Assemblymember Shirley Weber. They addressed students with special needs and plans to help them through teletherapy.

Many districts have already provided thousands of meals and computers to families, along with Wi-Fi hotspots.

But, that might not be enough.

"We may need summer school to make up any loss of learning despite our best attempts to reach all students, students with disabilities, English learners, homeless youth," said San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten.

Assemblymember Weber says she's working with other lawmakers and the governor's office to figure out how they can help moving forward.

The Sweetwater Union High School District is looking into doing a drive-thru graduation ceremony for students to get their diplomas.

Each district has more information on how they're navigating distance learning on their websites.