Learning Options

Learning Options
Spring 2021


It has been nearly a year since our schools closed on March 13, 2020 and since that time we have been busily preparing our school campuses and staff to safely welcome students back to this changed environment.

As COVID-19 rates have decreased in our community and with the many health and safety protocols in place to protect our students, our district is ready to welcome students to Return Together in person, consistent with guidance by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Return Dates & In-Person Learning Updates


Phased-in Reopening Plan

On February 18, Sac City Unified announced our phased-in reopening plan to offer students in-person instruction.

The current schedule for students to begin In-Person/Concurrent Learning is:

  • April 8 – Return of PreK–3 students, and K-6 Special Day Classes
  • April 15 – Return of 4-6 grade students
  • April 22 – Return of 7-12 grade students

Learning options include:

  1. Distance Learning – Families may choose to keep their students in distance learning.
  2. In-person/Concurrent Learning – Students would attend school in-person two (2) days each week and distance learning the other three (3) days each week. Beginning on May 18, some EK-6 students will begin attending four days a week, depending on classroom capacity

Increasing In-Person Instruction for Elementary Grades Start May 18

We have heard from many parents over the last few weeks that the current schedule of in-person instruction of two days per week, three hours per day is not enough. We also recognize that our students benefit from additional in-person support. We know that with health and safety protocols in place, it is safe to bring students back for more time in the classroom, and we are ready to do so. 

We are happy to announce that we will bring many students back to their classrooms for additional days each week beginning on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Our district has analyzed classroom space and current attendance and has identified many EK-6 grade classrooms where cohorts could be combined using the six-foot physical distancing measurements specified in our agreement with our labor partners.

We will begin combining these specific EK-6 classes into single groups of students to attend school in-person four days each week starting on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

Unfortunately, not all of our elementary school site classrooms have the capacity to combine cohorts under current parameters as part of our labor agreements.  We will continue to meet and work with SCTA in our efforts to update our agreements with current physical distancing guidelines of three feet between students. Including these updated guidelines from local, state, and federal entities would allow more students to attend in-person for four days each week. It is our goal to continue to bring back as many of our students as possible for in-person learning for the remainder of the current school year.

Please look out for additional information in the coming days from your school site, as you should receive a notification if your student’s class cohort is able to be combined.  

Updated Physical Distancing in Classrooms Begins June 2

At the May 25, 2021 Board of Education meeting, the SCUSD Board voted to expand in-person learning opportunities by combining cohorts at elementary and secondary sites wherever possible using the current three feet physical distancing guidelines.  Classes will be combined, where possible, beginning on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. This will allow more students to return to the classroom for increased in-person support, including some elementary students who are currently receiving only two days of in-person instruction. 

While we combine as many classrooms as possible, at our secondary schools it is much more difficult to bring back additional students because students have multiple class periods in a day. This means that even with the changes to our physical distancing standards, we may still be unable to combine some classrooms.

Over the upcoming days, school sites will begin communicating with families about next steps, and will notify students who are able to begin participating in a four-day cohort. Please look out for this communication.

Learning Option Change Request Form


Access the form here: Learning Option Change Request Form

Please note that completion of this form does not guarantee a schedule change will occur immediately. In an effort to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff through cohort integrity, school sites will review each schedule change request. Starting after April 12, families will be contacted each Friday with the status of their schedule change request and if approved, the date that the change will take effect. Please do not submit duplicate requests before being contacted by your school site. Until then please ensure that your student attends in their current learning mode. If your student misses 3 or more days of in-person learning they will be transitioned to 100% Distance Learning (C).If an absence is unpreventable please call your school to report the absence even on distance learning days.

Learning Options FAQ


What are the two models that families can choose from for their students?

Continue with Distance Learning – Families may choose the option to keep their students in distance learning.

In-Person/Concurrent Learning – Students would attend school in-person two (2) days each week and attend through distance learning the other three (3) days each week. Beginning on May 18, many EK-6 students will attend in-person for four days each week. 

What dates are you targeting for students to return to campus?

Consistent with guidelines by the California Department of Health, our district will work to implement the following schedule for the phased-in return to in-person learning:

  • April 8 – Return of PreK – 3 students, and K-6 Special Day Classes 
  • April 15 – Return of 4-6 grade students 
  • April 22 – Return of 7-12 grade students
  • May 18 – Many EK-6 grade students return for 4 days a week of in-person learning 

Will students need to switch classes, based on the model they choose?

No, students will remain in the same classes that they are already enrolled in.  

Under the in-person model, what days would my student be on campus?

Your student’s on-campus-days will depend on the cohort they are assigned to. We have two separate cohorts: one that attends on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and one that attends on Thursdays and Fridays. Beginning on May 18, many EK-6 cohorts will be combined, providing these students with in-person construction four days a week. 

All groups would participate in distance learning on Mondays.

Cohort A would learn in-person on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cohort B would learn in-person on Thursday and Friday.

Cohort C (Distance Learning only) would not participate in-person.

4-Day In-Person – Some EK-6 students will learn in-person Tuesday – Friday beginning May 18. 


  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Group A Distance Learning In-Person In-Person Distance Learning Distance Learning
Group B Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning In-Person In-Person
Group C Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning
4-day Distance Learning In-Person In-Person In-Person In-Person

Special education classes will follow the general education schedule.  After three weeks of the return to in-person instruction, two SCTA-SCUSD special education work groups (elementary and secondary) will convene to determine whether the current schedule should continue or should be modified based on student in-person participation rates, transportation and other factors that may affect the students’ learning environment. Modifications may include expansion to four-days of in-person instruction per week. 

How will secondary classes look for students participating in-person?

The secondary class schedule is similar to what is currently offered. For students who are attending in-person classes, each group will attend in-person twice a week, or one period each week. Cohort A would be in-person for periods 1, 3, 5 on Tuesday and periods 2, 4, 6 on Wednesday. Cohort B would then be in-person for periods 1, 3, 5 on Thursday and periods 2, 4, 6 on Friday. Students attend all class periods on Mondays for an abbreviated day.

Our district made an effort to cohort students as much as possible within their schedules each day. 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
  Periods 1-6 (shorter periods) Periods
1, 3, 5
2, 4, 6
1, 3, 5
2, 4, 6
Group A Distance Learning In-Person In-Person Distance Learning Distance Learning
Group B Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning In-Person In-Person
Group C Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning Distance Learning

How many hours will my student learn on campus?

Students will participate in-person for three hours each day, consistent with the requirements for synchronous learning through SB 98. Students will participate in asynchronous learning for the remainder of the day. This could include individual work, or time spent in small groups.

What will students’ classes look like?

In person, students’ classes will be smaller, cohorted groups, designed to keep students from mixing between groups during classes and breaks. Classes will be smaller, up to half of what a normal class size would be.

In distance learning, students might not see a big difference in their classes, but might see fewer people on the screen.

Can students bring backpacks and supplies, such as water bottles, to the classroom?

Yes! Students may bring their own backpacks and supplies, including water bottles. As indicated in the Return to Health document, supplies should be individualized as much as possible. 

What will students in the classrooms be doing?

Students will be learning with peers in the classroom, in a physically distanced environment with interaction from their teacher. In-person students in the classroom might be logged into Zoom from their own computers, but this should not be the extent of their communication with other students or their teacher. Students might use Zoom on their computers to interact in small groups with their distance learning peers, and may remain logged in throughout. However, in a true concurrent model, this would be in addition to in-person class instruction, individual use of manipulatives, projects, activities, and most importantly, the opportunity to collaborate and interact with peers in person, with their current teacher.  Based on the lesson plan, teachers will determine the best way for students to interact, which could require Zoom, or it could require other activities. 

Recommended technology for teachers will include two computer devices, a display monitor for students in class and online, a recording device, microphone and speakers and additional chargers if needed – giving teachers the ability to project distance learning participants onto a screen or smart board. 

What health and safety measures are in place to protect my student?

Our district has committed to going above and beyond state and local health and safety requirements in our plans for reopening. 

Our district is currently hosting vaccination clinics to provide each of our employees with the opportunity to be vaccinated. While the vaccine is important, health and safety protocols remain the most effective way to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19. These protocols include washing hands, wearing face covering, maintaining physical distance from others not in your household.

To ensure physical distancing, we will welcome back no more than 50 percent of our school populations back to campus on any given day. Classes will be in dedicated cohorts and will not mix together during breaks or between classes. This will not only help us to mitigate COVID-19 exposures, but will also help us with contact tracing. 

Sac City Unified has opened 13 Learning Hubs at various sites throughout the district. Our students and staff have been able to implement and practice COVID-19 safety procedures at these Hubs, which first opened in October.

In this video, Sac City Unified students participating in one of our in-person Learning Hubs demonstrate proper hand washing and hand sanitizing techniques using new handwashing stations and sanitizer dispensers installed on Sac City Unified campuses. This equipment is an example of the changes we are making on our school sites according to our Return Together Reopening Dashboard

Please view our Reopening Dashboard to view updates on our current efforts. For detailed information about Health and Safety Protocols, including videos, please visit our Return to Health Plan

When do I need to make a final decision about which one of the models my students will participate in?

Our district has sent out a form for parents/guardians to complete to inform us of their formal decision for their student’s attendance on campus for the remainder of the year. We ask you to complete the form to indicate whether you want your student to participate in school through the in-person/concurrent model or the distance learning model.

The form deadline was March 17 at 11:59 PM. We understand that some families may need an opportunity to provide additional information or to modify their decisions. Please look out for a form in the upcoming days to communicate this information to us.

How do I find my student’s ID?

Student ID numbers can be found in Infinite Campus. If you do not have access to your Infinite Campus Parent Portal please contact your student’s school directly or fill out the district webform for assistance.

What if I don’t complete the form?

Your student will be enrolled in an in-person model if you do not complete the form. 

We ask you to complete the form to help us prepare our class enrollments and sizes to better plan for when we Return Together.

Students without a completed form on file will be defaulted to “in-person” for a number of reasons:

  • It could be considered a violation of a student’s rights to default them to distance learning, if we presume that there are benefits to in-person instruction over distance learning. Under the California Constitution, students are entitled to “equality of educational opportunity.” 
  • It is less disruptive for scheduling and cohort assignments to change a student’s preferred learning option from in-person to distance learning rather than the other way around.

What if I have more than one student? How can I make sure they are going on the same day?

If you have more than one student attending in-person, it is especially important that you complete their preference forms. We also ask that you update your information in Infinite Campus. To learn how to update your information in Infinite Campus, please view our recent communication here.

As much as possible, our district will try and keep students from the same households in the same cohort schedules. When placing students in cohorts, the district will use the common household data to match schedules as much as possible, even if the students are in different schools. However, due to the complexity of scheduling throughout the district, we cannot guarantee that this will happen.   

What happens if I change my mind about the best learning environment for my student?

We understand that some families may need an opportunity to provide additional information or to modify their decisions. 

For the remainder of this semester, Sac City Unified students have the option to participate in a combination of in-person and concurrent learning or remain in distance learning. 

If you would like your child to participate in the in-person/concurrent learning option, please let us know by completing the Learning Option Change Request Form

What if my student’s teacher is not available to come back in person?

Every student will have highly qualified teachers supporting them through their in-person or distance learning. 

Will students be offered meals at school?

Meals will continue to be provided each day at no cost whether students participate in on-campus learning or distance learning. 

Students engaged in on campus learning will take “grab and go” lunch and breakfast for the next day home when reporting in person each day.​

Learn more at https://thecentralkitchen.org/curbside.

Will water be provided in the classroom and on campus?

Disposable drinking cups will be provided for elementary classrooms which have sinks for water.  Secondary students can bring water bottles from home.  Bottled water will also be made available as needed.

Are all students essentially participating in distance learning, except that those who are attending “in-person” are just doing it from the classroom? 

Students participating in-person and through distance learning will be learning the same lessons. However, students participating in the concurrent model will have more in-person support and opportunities to socialize in-person with their peers. We have seen evidence in our Learning Hubs that when students receive support in person they are more engaged and more likely to attend class.

How will the teacher help students participating in distance learning if they are teaching students in person at the same time?

Within the in-person/concurrent model of teaching, students will receive live, whole class direct instruction, engage with others at home/in class in group work online and engage in individual work. Teachers will be given all the materials they need to teach concurrently, including the technology mentioned below.

What technologies will be provided for teachers?

Recommended technology for teachers will include two computer devices, a display monitor for students in class and online, a recording device, microphone and speakers and additional chargers if needed. 

How does this compare to models at nearby districts?

District Schedule Full Distance Learning Option
SCUSD A/B Concurrent Model Yes
Natomas Unified A/B Concurrent Model Yes
San Juan Unified

A/B Non-Concurrent Model

Twin Rivers Unified A/B Non-Concurrent Model Yes
Elk Grove Unified A/B Concurrent Model Yes

Will the District continue the Learning Hub Program?

Students already enrolled in the Learning Hubs may continue to participate in the program.

Will the District offer the Expanded Learning Programs?

Youth Development will offer Expanded Learning programming at 43 additional sites for a maximum of 3.5 hours each day. 

The Expanded Learning program application is currently live and will close on March 24th at 11:59 PM.  Please complete one form per student. Apply at https://www.youthdevelopmentscusd.org/

Priority will be given to students as addressed in AB/SB 86 with a focus on students:

  • Experiencing homelessness
  • Residing in foster care
  • English Language Learners
  • Students receiving special education services; and
  • Disengaged students

What professional development do you offer SCUSD educators?

Professional Learning is provided on the following topics, among others:

  • Scope and Sequence Focused on Priority Standards
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Data-Based Decision Making
  • Anti-Racist Classrooms