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93% of Students Attended First Day of Virtual School In San José Unified - Superintendent calls on community to support families in need

August 13, 2020

San José, CA – The San José Unified School District, Santa Clara County’s largest school district, welcomed its 28,000 students back to school virtually on Wednesday. San José Unified was the first school district in the Bay Area to offer a full school day to students who are distance learning. Student attendance on the first day of virtual school exceeded all expectations, with 93% of students connecting online with their classmates and teachers.

“We focused all of our resources on getting students connected,” said Stephen McMahon, Deputy Superintendent of San José Unified. “Hundreds of employees dedicated themselves to this challenge and while we still have much to do, student attendance on the first day of school validated all that hard work.”

Attendance across the school district was similar to a normal school year, but the most vulnerable students had the highest rates of absence. Schools in relatively high-income areas recorded attendance rates as high as 99%, whereas schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families had attendance rates as low as 67%. Attendance disparities were similarly concerning for homeless youth, foster youth, and students with special needs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devasted low-income families in so many ways,” said Nancy Albarrán, Superintendent of San José Unified. “Finding ways to support our most at-risk students has been at the forefront of San José Unified’s planning since schools first closed in March. With schools closed to all students, we need our community to step up and ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn from a safe and stable home.”

San José Unified’s Superintendent is calling on our local, state, and federal agencies to provide meaningful support to families suffering the most during this pandemic. Schools can provide each student with computer devices, broadband access, and an online classroom with their classmates and teachers, but the community needs to come together to support the families of our most vulnerable students by providing a safe and stable home environment.

“Distance learning will not be a success if it leaves at-risk students behind,” said Superintendent Albarrán. “San José Unified is calling for a community-wide commitment to provide all families with the stability and security necessary to allow students to attend school at home.”

About San José Unified
San José Unified is an innovative urban school district that prepares today’s students to be the thinkers, leaders, and creators of tomorrow. San José Unified is reinventing the education system by bringing together teachers and staff with parents and students, inspiring each to discover their own greatness. Serving over 28,000 students from transitional kindergarten through high school in 41 schools from Downtown San José to Almaden Valley, San José Unified is Silicon Valley’s largest and most diverse public school system.

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