San Francisco students could start heading back to classrooms in two weeks after the city gained a new state coronavirus classification allowing more businesses and community activities to resume.
The state classified San Francisco as a “red” county Friday, which means schools can conduct in-person classes if that status holds. Napa County was also put in the red status, while all other Bay Area counties are “purple,” which is a more restrictive status.
A red classification doesn’t mean all schools will reopen because counties can still place stricter rules on reopenings than the state requires and schools would still need to meet all health and safety guidelines.
In addition, reopening district schools will require agreements with local labor unions. Officials from the United Educators of San Francisco said they were not ready to comment on the city’s new status.
The news was likely to be well received by parents concerned about their children losing ground academically in distance learning and struggling emotionally as they remain isolated from peers and dependent on a screen for school work and social activities.
Yet San Francisco Unified is unlikely to open when the state says they can. The district has more than 100 schools serving 53,000 students, many with space constraints, poor ventilation and other issues that still need to be addressed. But more importantly, the teachers will have to agree to come back to in-person instruction. The California Teachers Association has generally opposed a return until case counts very low and resources are in place to protect staff and students.
Most counties across the state remained in the purple range, but students in those regions could return no matter what to in-person learning after applying for a waiver with county health officials, which requires local and state approval.
In San Francisco, private schools are more likely to open before public ones. Already, 50 private and parochial schools and three charter schools were expected apply for a waiver, city officials said Friday, representing 10,000 students.
The waiver review was expected to take two to four weeks, so it’s unclear whether those schools would still need one to reopen given the city’s new red status.
At Adda Clevinger School in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, administrators said they would still pursue the waiver process despite the new red status, given the possibility the county won’t follow the state recommendation. A waiver would guarantee reopening in the coming weeks.
The 130-student school has 20,000 square feet of space to maintain social distancing and the staff was tested Friday for the coronavirus — and will continue to be tested at least once a month, exceeding county requirements, said Ben Harrison, director of operations.
“We’re very eager,” he said. “We really think we can do it.”
All schools reopening will be expected to mandate face coverings, space desks at least six feet apart and ensure good ventilation, San Francisco health officials said. In addition, all staff must test negative for COVID-19 before the reopening, with teachers and other workers tested at least once every two months.
County health officials said they will likely visit sites to ensure compliance before the schools can reopen.
Until all public schools in San Francisco reopen full time for all kids, however, at least 6,000 children are expected to attend city-run learning hubs placed at libraries, parks or other facilities. Up to 40 hubs are expected to start opening across the city on Sept. 14. The hubs would offer supervision, internet access and academic support to students participating in distance learning.
Initially, priority for a space in a hub will be given to homeless students, children in foster care, English learners and children from low-income families.
Waiver approvals and hub openings will be done on a rolling basis, officials said.
As San Francisco continues to expand the reopening of businesses and other activities, the priority will be on the needs of families and students, Mayor London Breed said.
“It pains me that there are parks, there are playgrounds that are empty,” Breed said. “That we don’t hear the noise and sounds of children in school yards.”
The district started the school year Aug. 17 in universal distance learning, with plans to phase in in-person instruction.
It’s possible that even after reopening, many schools will maintain a hybrid schedule to limit the number of students in classrooms each day.
Until the state and counties allows classrooms to reopen, waivers for schools in “purple” counties will only be granted to elementary schools or for students in grades K-6.
State officials recommended that waivers only be considered when coronavirus infection rates fell below 200 cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period.
San Francisco’s case rate was 127.7 for the past two weeks, which was low enough to grant waivers, but not low enough to get off the state watch list before Friday, which required a rate of less than 100 cases per 100,000 people.
Yet even as counties start allowing the reopening of schools, teachers unions and other organizations have balked at any return to public school classrooms given ongoing case counts concerns and a lack of resources to ensure the safety of workers and students.
“The simple fact is, if we want our economy to reopen and have our children back to school, we must focus on public health, effective testing and tracing to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the basic needs in providing care, keeping workers safe, and opening schools,” said union and health leaders from the California Teachers Association, SEIU, Planned Parenthood and the California Medical Association, in an Aug. 11 letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Across California, 112 schools have been granted waivers by the state and local counties, the vast majority in Orange and San Diego counties.
San Diego, however, was removed from the state monitoring list, allowing all schools to reopen on Sept. 1.
So far, only one Bay Area school has reopened classrooms, Sunnyvale Christian School, which was granted a waiver on Monday.
- Is San Francisco the most childless city in the country? Here’s a look at the data on kids
- San Francisco is still suing its schools despite reopening plan progress
- San Francisco police officer dies of COVID-19 as city cracks down on unvaccinated workers
- San Francisco Mayor Breed wants to make it easier to turn gas stations into housing
- Map: Where San Francisco’s 53 Walgreens stores are located vs. its 22 CVS stores
- San Francisco TikTok creator makes 1934 murder mystery novel 'Cain’s Jawbone' sell out worldwide
- Amazon to formally propose major San Francisco delivery center next week
- San Francisco dog shelters struggle to keep up with the 2020 puppy frenzy
- San Francisco to lift some mask rules Oct. 15; other Bay Area mask mandates likely to remain for months
- San Francisco has a new vaccine mandate. Here’s everything you need to know
- The atmospheric river's likely coming, but may bypass the San Francisco Bay Area
- Massive San Francisco Fencing Operation Busted; More Than $2.5 Million In Stolen Loot Recovered
- San Francisco Woman Hit In Unprovoked Paintball Attack; ‘I Can’t See Anything Right Now’
- How Chuck E. Cheese birthed San Francisco's Skee-Ball champion
- The most dangerous woman in San Francisco
- Elderly Driver Arrested In Crash That Killed Teacher In Front of San Francisco School
- Meet the scientist responsible for predicting San Francisco’s COVID future
- San Francisco's Lowell High will no longer have special admissions process
- Ex-Rich Table chef’s highly anticipated new restaurant opens next week in San Francisco
- Juana Briones - San Francisco's founding mother
San Francisco and Napa schools could get green light to open in two weeks have 1283 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at August 28, 2020. This is cached page on Business News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.