More SFUSD High School Seniors Returning to School Campuses
San Francisco (May 11, 2021) - The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is offering in-person learning opportunities to more students in the 12th grade who wish to return. SFUSD previously offered in-person learning to nearly 5,000 secondary students in focal populations beginning in April.
In recent weeks the District has been working on more opportunities for high school seniors to come together in the last weeks of school, and sent a survey to all 12th graders who had not previously been surveyed to gauge their interest in returning.
The 565 students who confirmed their interest in returning will have the opportunity to connect with peers in person at schools with a focus on end of school year activities related to their well-being, academic support, and preparing for college and careers. Social distancing and health and safety guidelines will be enforced.
“Seniors have worked so hard to get to where they are in their school careers, and after such a challenging year I’m grateful they will have the opportunity to meet together in person again with their peers as much as possible,” Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “We look forward to seeing more students back in person for these last few weeks and can’t wait to be fully back in the fall.”
Students at eight high schools will be able to return to their home schools and others will be hosted at high school host sites, not necessarily a student’s regular school site. Returning students will participate in a hybrid schedule beginning May 14 and most will participate in at least three days of in-person learning before the school year ends on June 2. Scheduling considerations included staffing constraints –– high school teachers are also teaching remote students and nearly half of all survey respondents chose to stay in distance learning. In addition to staffing, school staff considered planned end-of-year activities, including graduations and final exams.
The District and the United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) recently reached an agreement and are identifying teachers and paraeducators to support the return of seniors. In addition to classroom teachers, SFUSD continues to deploy substitutes and central office staff to sustain the in-person learning through the end of the school year given the number of staff who have received accommodations and continue to work remotely. UESF staff (teachers, nurses, counselors and paraeducators) who are at “increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or who cannot safely distance from household contacts who belong to a group at increased risk” can request an accommodation to work remotely (546 staff met the agreed upon criteria for approval).
SFUSD has rolled out a staggered return to in-person learning, starting with 36 schools the week of April 12, adding 51 school sites the following week and growing to a total of 113 of SFUSD schools by the last week of April. To date, 19,000 students have returned to in-person learning, including some secondary students in focal populations. This gradual rollout enabled SFUSD to provide intensive support to schools as they brought students back into classrooms after a year of distance learning and to learn along the way.
Returning students in 12th grade to in-person learning qualifies under the state’s definition as in-person instruction. Pursuant to EC Section 43520.5, in-person instruction means instruction under the immediate physical supervision and control of a certificated employee of the LEA while engaged in educational activities required of the pupil. For the purposes of the In Person Instruction and Expanded Learning Opportunity Grants, pursuant to EC Section 43504(b), in-person instruction may include hybrid models offering fewer than five days per week of in-person instruction, provided that the LEA is offering in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.