Mayor Breed and Superintendent Matthews Announce New Partnership to Assess School Facilities
City will send Disaster Service Workers to support District staff with classroom assessments to prepare for school reopening
San Francisco (November 12, 2020) - Under an agreement between the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the City and County of San Francisco, the City will be sending staff to help support the District’s school facility assessments. The District has assessed 20 schools and has an additional 65 buildings that need to be inspected to meet the goal of having its youngest students and other vulnerable student groups back in the classroom.
The District is working with the City’s COVID Command Center to deploy 20 City Disaster Service Workers (DSWs) starting the week of November 16 to form School Site Assessment Teams. Disaster Service Workers are City employees from departments who perform varying emergency-related services across the City, from staffing Emergency Operations Center to working at food banks.
The School Site Assessment Team will work with district staff to assess school facilities on a classroom by classroom basis for their readiness to receive students and staff for in-person learning during this pandemic. These evaluations will include things like operability of classroom windows; type of classroom furniture; presence of functional hand washing sinks; and basic working condition of the classroom, for example window shades and classroom light fixtures. These Site Assessment Teams will provide valuable data on school site readiness for a hybrid or full in-person learning school day.
“We know that opening our public schools is going to be challenging, but the City is ready to do what we can to help get our kids back in schools starting in January,” said Mayor Breed. “By sending City staff over to help with school building assessments, we can speed up the work that needs to be done to make sure our classrooms are safe and healthy places for our kids and our teachers. The City will continue to find ways to support the District’s plans to open in whatever way we can because nothing matters more than ensuring that our children and our families are supported during this challenging time.”
“While SFUSD conducts annual inspections and regular maintenance related to classroom operability, new inspections are necessary in order to assess conditions in the context of COVID health and safety,” said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “We’ve completed these site assessments at several school sites but there are dozens more to go. We are grateful to have the City’s partnership to conduct site assessments quickly and thoroughly so we can make any needed adjustments as soon as possible.”
SFUSD Superintendent Matthews shared that the district has a target date of January 25 for a return to in-person learning for the district’s youngest learners and a group of elementary school students who receive special education services if public health indicators and numerous other prerequisites are in place.
The City and school district continue to discuss other ways the City can support SFUSD with returning to in-person learning. At the recent Board of Education meeting, the School Board members voted to enter into an agreement with Curative, a testing company that will support the District’s plans for having a testing program that meets the needs for reopening. A testing program, along with ensuring classrooms are ready, are key steps in preparing for reopening.