SFUSD Increases Testing, Mask Distribution and Shares COVID-19 Response Update
San Francisco (January 19, 2022) - The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has increased its distribution of masks; over 1.2 million masks have been delivered to schools in the past two weeks alone. To meet the increased demand brought on by the Omicron surge, self-swab molecular testing through Color, which the district has provided since last spring, is now available for daily pick up at school sites, increased from weekly school site pick-ups prior to 2022.
“Testing is just one of a number of layers of protection that we have in place to ensure that in-person learning can continue,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “We are working together with the City and community partners to continuously meet the needs of our students and staff and respond to the evolving public health guidance as best we can.”
Self-swab kits for all students and staff are available for pick up at any school site, any mobile testing site, or any central office drop-off location. Self-swab kit samples will be collected daily at each school site. Samples can be dropped off at any school site on the courier pick-up route before 10 a.m.; any of the mobile testing sites; or any central office drop-off locations from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
As of this week SFUSD has distributed 57,000 rapid test kits for K-12 students, including charter schools, as part of a one-time allocation from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Another 4,500 rapid test kits from SFUSD’s nonprofit partner Spark* SF Public Schools have been ordered for PreK students who were not included in the CDPH home test kits. In addition, SFUSD has also distributed 4,000 rapid test kits for classroom teachers that were donated from business community partners.
In the first two weeks of 2022, SFUSD distributed 132,130 KN95 masks in addition to hundreds of thousands of surgical and cloth masks – totaling more than 1.2 million masks for student and staff use.
Per SFUSD and public health guidance, those who are sick should stay home. Since returning from winter break, SFUSD has seen an average of 400 teacher absences each day. Prior to the pandemic, SFUSD saw about 250 to 300 teacher absences on a given day. SFUSD is deploying substitutes and central office staff to support school site staff in covering absences.
During the first week of the spring semester, the student daily attendance rate was 83% district-wide, lower than the usual 94% for this time of the year. Daily attendance rate during the first week was lower among students in the lower grades and higher among students in higher grades, ranging from 73.1% (TK) to 86.4% (6th & 9th grades).
Two groups had rates of 70% or lower: Pacific Islander students (60.7%) and African American students (70%). Geographically, the lowest attendance rates were seen among students who live in Bayview-Hunters Point and Treasure island.
Preliminary attendance data for the second week of the spring semester shows lower attendance compared to the first week.
“We are not alone; other urban California districts and Bay Area districts are experiencing similar attendance issues as we endure this new wave of community transmission,” Dr. Matthews said. “In-person learning remains the best option for most students when proper safety protocols are followed.”
These and other updates were shared at the Jan. 18, 2022 SF Board of Education Committee of the Whole. View the full presentation here.