SFUSD Preparing for Full Return in Fall 2021

SFUSD Preparing for Full Return in Fall 2021

Announces New School Schedules

Press Release

San Francisco (May 25, 2021) - The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is preparing for a full return to in-person learning for all students on August 16, 2021 and many students will be returning to new school start times for the 2021-22 school year.  

“Given what we know now, everyone, families, staff and students, should plan for a full return to in-person learning in the fall,” said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of all of our students and staff and, as new public health guidance becomes available, we will be ready to adjust as needed.” 

“As part of our fall preparations, we are sharing new school schedules that will help create a more consistent experience across school sites, improve outcomes for students, and increase access to common planning time for educators,” added Dr. Matthews. 

Three Start Times Across All SFUSD Schools 

Beginning on Aug. 16, 2021, every school will start at one of three times: 7:50 a.m., 8:40 a.m., or 9:30 a.m. A full list of start and end times for the 2021-22 school year can be found here

Not all of the district’s schools will experience a change because their current schedule already aligns with the new practice. Start times will not change for 48 schools; nine schools will change by less than 10 minutes; 18 schools will change between 15 and 30 minutes; 37 schools will change between 40-50 minutes, and 15 schools will change by an hour or more.

Older students will start school later, which will bring SFUSD into compliance with a new state law, SB 328, which requires all middle and high schools to move to later start times by July 1, 2022; and help improve health and academic outcomes for students. Research shows that later start times can improve teens’ physical health, mental health, and academic performance.

All schools will offer an early release day once a week to support common planning time and professional development for teachers. This will give school staff more time to plan rigorous lessons, prepare materials, collaborate with colleagues, and participate in professional development that will support student achievement.

Spacing school start times out will allow the district to use buses more efficiently. SFUSD will save about $3 million each year in transportation costs, which can instead be spent on directly supporting students. If start times are spaced out by 50 minutes (7:50, 8:40, and 9:30), each bus can be used to transport students to three different schools.

Before the pandemic, SFUSD schools began the day at 19 different times, ranging from 7:40 - 9:30 am. This is unusual for school districts and presented logistical challenges for families and school communities. Schools haven’t used their pre-pandemic schedules in over a year. Most schools adjusted their schedules for distance learning, and adjusted them again when they returned to in-person learning.

Other Fall Preparations

Over the summer SFUSD will be moving furniture back into classrooms and continuing to equip facilities with good ventilation to ensure air flow. 

The District is considering what an independent study option could look like for those students and families who may have extenuating circumstances and need to choose this option. 

SFUSD is working with the City and public health agencies to encourage students and families to get vaccinated by setting up school-based vaccine clinics and regularly informing families of vaccine opportunities and benefits. Anyone 12 and older is now eligible and vaccine opportunities are available throughout the city. 

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