Bay Area Superintendents Announce Support of Full, In-Person Learning
San Francisco (July 30, 2021) - Schools throughout California are planning for reopening of school campuses in the coming days and weeks. The County Superintendents of Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Alameda counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, announced today their unified support for full, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. In accordance with the July 12, 2021 California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) K-12 school guidance, the superintendents are eager for students and staff to begin their school year with in-person instruction that maximizes as much in-person instructional time as possible.
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)’s school year begins on Aug. 16, 2021.
The guidance from the CDPH states, “In California, the surest path to safe and full in-person instruction at the outset of the school year, as well as minimizing missed school days in an ongoing basis, is a strong emphasis on the following: vaccination for all eligible individuals to get COVID-19 rates down throughout the community; universal masking in schools, which enables no minimum physical distancing, allowing all students access to full in-person learning, and more targeted quarantine practices, keeping students in school; and access to a robust COVID-19 testing program as an available additional safety layer.”
The County Superintendents in collaboration with their respective Public Health Officers are strongly encouraging all who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to be vaccinated as soon as possible and are educating the community about the requirement of universal masking while indoors on school campus.
“We are so excited to welcome students back to school,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “We continue to work closely with health experts to prepare for a safe school reopening. Last spring when we reopened to in-person learning for nearly half our students, we did not have any confirmed cases of school transmission in SFUSD. Schools across the world have shown similar evidence that in-person learning can happen safely.”
The American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced their recommendations and guidance and both recommend universal masking indoors on school campuses. The AAP guidance states, “Schools must continue to take a multi-pronged, layered approach to protect students, teachers, and staff (ie, vaccination, universal mask use, ventilation, testing, quarantining, and cleaning and disinfecting). Combining these layers of protection will make in-person learning safe and possible.” It has also been noted by both medical organizations that universal masking while on school campuses also has the added health benefit of minimizing the spread of other respiratory diseases and infections.
All persons 12 years of age and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information about San Francisco’s vaccination events and eligibility please visit sfusd.edu. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at local pharmacies throughout Bay Area counties.
With variants of the coronavirus spreading in community, individuals are once again being strongly encouraged to practice on-going COVID-19 testing as fully vaccinated and asymptomatic individuals are still at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Dr. Dewan stated, “We have an obligation to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all of our students and staff. With the variants on the rise, the best way to maximize in-person learning is by complying with the universal masking while indoors on school campuses and by taking advantage of the free vaccine.”
SFUSD is the seventh largest school district in California, educating over 54,000 preK-12 students every year. San Francisco is both a city and a county; therefore, SFUSD administers both the school district and the San Francisco County Office of Education (COE). This makes SFUSD a “single district county.”