Coronavirus impact: San Francisco teachers, families prepare for possible long-term school closures

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Governor Newsom indicated that California schools may not open for the rest of the school year, though no final decision has been made on Tuesday.

While school districts wait for more guidance from state leaders, teachers and parents are doing their best to prepare for the possibility of a long-term closure.

"I'm very worried," said Alinka Espinosa, who has three children attending San Francisco United School Districts. Her oldest is in 8th grade.

"She was really upset, she was crying," said Espinosa. "She was asking me are we going to graduate, I really want to go back to school. I've never seen my kids so desperate trying to go back to school," she said.

RELATED: California Gov. Gavin Newsom warns parents to be prepared for schools to not open until after summer break

Espinosa lives in the Mission District and says parents in her neighborhood are struggling with school closures.

"They're worried about rent, they're worried about school, they don't know what to do. And these are people who don't speak English, so it's a lot harder because they don't know how to help their kids with their homework," she said.

"I don't think that the Governor's statement was a declaration that this is the end of the school year," said State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond. "I do think it was his way of saying that there is a reality that the conditions that were dealing with we might be in for longer than we originally considered," he said.

Thurmond does not know when and if a decision will be made on a state level or by individual districts to close schools through the end of the school year. In the meantime, he's trying to ensure California students can still receive an education.

"I wish i was in a position to get every student a laptop and internet access and we are working with a number of foundations and corporations that are prepared to make donations to expand the number of students who have laptops," said Thurmond, who said it's also not realistic to expect that all students will have access to the internet, so hes working on alternatives.

"While online learning is a helpful tool during this time, it is not the only tool. Today, we went through examples of how we might do independent study," he said.

"We will definitely need to readjust and lower the expectations for what learning in the classroom will mean if it's done remotely," said Stephanie Li, a third grade teacher at Frank McCoppin Elementary School in San Francisco's Richmond District.

RELATED: San Francisco public school closure set to start Monday, officials still finalizing details

Li spent the morning on a video chat with her colleagues. Much of the discussion was about how they can provide access to learning materials for all students.

"We need to make sure that every student in the San Francisco United School District has access to a computer and internet connection and in terms of scaling that out, I don't know how we will do that," Li said. "But, I'm sure people will find a way, it's just a very daunting position that we are all in right now," she said.

SFUSD has a website up with remote learning ideas for pre-K through 12th grade students.

None of the assignments are required, and the options are somewhat limited. There are links to slideshows about novel coronavirus, virtual field trips to the San Diego Zoo and Yellowstone, relaxation exercises, and simple math and reading lessons.

None of the online resources or take home packets were meant to replace two and a half months of school, so right now districts are scrambling to prepare for that potential reality.

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