Overwhelming demand crushes San Jose Unified’s outreach efforts

CUSD will be looking to cut as much as $5 million starting in the 2018-19 school year.

The sudden disruption to the school year, thanks to the arrival of COVID-19, has parents fed up. School districts across the region, which struggled to wrap up this academic year, are in the midst of planning for the fall.

San Jose Unified, with more than 30,000 students across 41 schools, felt the brunt of that frustration Thursday and Friday as it struggled to update parents and garner feedback.

In a series of web-conference events, the district attempted to discuss reopening plans. A Thursday event, originally set for the District’s Facebook page, was moved to Webex – another online video conference platform. The District said there were security concerns about the Facebook event. Hundreds of parents were then unable to access the event, which maxed out at 1,000 participants.

Parents vented at the District in hundreds of comments on the District’s Facebook page after the event.

Three events Friday afternoon, one each for elementary, middle, and high schools aimed to continue the conversation.

The district didn’t say if capacity would be increased to meet the demand of each meeting. It did say it would make a recording available afterward.

On its Facebook page, the district acknowledged the issues of the past few days.

“We apologize for the technical difficulties experienced during today’s Reopening Discussion for parents and caregivers. We understand the frustration this causes.”

Other school districts in the West Valley are also planning for the fall. Foothill Union High School District doesn’t yet have plans in place for students to return, but is following health guidance.

“We are actively preparing for a variety of potential instructional scenarios to meet the needs of our students, families and staff,” Foothill says on its website. It anticipates a further update by early July.