During the 2021-22 school year, parents and guardians can choose to have their children return to school for in-person instruction or enroll in distance learning through “independent study.”
California schools will no longer have to offer a “distance learning” option to students as they did during the 2020-21 school year. Most county offices of education and school districts instead must offer independent study to certain students who need to engage in remote learning, including students whose health would be at risk by returning to school in-person. For decades, independent study was an optional program that California school districts, county offices of education and charter schools could provide to students. However, to accommodate families’ desire for distance learning, the state recently changed the law to expand who can enroll in independent study and improved certain aspects of it for the upcoming school year and into the future.
To help parents, guardians, and children figure out what learning option is best for them, we are publishing a guide that explains their rights to distance learning through independent study for the 2021-22 school year. The guide also includes other information families should know at the beginning of the school year, including certain student privacy rights and information for English learners, students with disabilities, and foster youth.
The know-your-rights guides, as well as short printable versions and a standalone version of the "10 Key Questions" checklist, are available in English and Spanish here: https://youthlaw.org/