SF Board of Education Approves Health and Safety Agreement with Unions, Discusses Update to In-Person Learning Plans

SF Board of Education Approves Health and Safety Agreement with Unions, Discusses Update to In-Person Learning Plans

Press Release

San Francisco (February 24, 2021) - The San Francisco Board of Education unanimously ratified an agreement between the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and a group of labor unions representing SFUSD employees on the baseline health and safety standards for in-person learning. The Board also discussed updates to SFUSD’s plans for in-person learning including testing and vaccinations, the instructional program, and a new assessment center.

“We know students and families are struggling right now. We hear you and we see you. We are focused on reopening schools safely as soon as possible,” SF Board of Education President Gabriela López said. “Our community is extremely diverse. We know there are families who want to return and there are families who want to stay in distance learning at this time. We are committed to giving all of our students more options and opportunities.” 

“We are getting closer to opening our sites to students every day,” said SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “The agreement with our joint labor unions over health and safety standards spells out how we can return safely together with our employees, families and students.” 

Health and Safety Standards Agreement

The agreement between SFUSD and its labor partners sets terms for health and safety standards “intended to ensure the safe reopening of in-person learning and working at SFUSD school and worksites.” 

Per the agreement on health and safety standards for in-person learning between SFUSD and its labor partners, if San Francisco is in the red tier then staff who will be teaching in person must have the opportunity to be vaccinated at the recommended dosage to return students. If San Francisco is in the orange tier, staff will not need the opportunity to be vaccinated to return students to in-person learning. 

Additional health and safety standards in the agreement include COVID-19 hygiene practices as well as:

  • Health screening will continue: All persons will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure before they are allowed to enter school grounds and District facilities. Screening will include a visual wellness check and a health screening form.
  • Protocols for monitoring symptoms and positive cases: Any student or staff who goes home with or reports COVID-19 like symptoms, has tested positive for COVID-19, or has been identified as a close contact will be documented in the COVID-19 Confidential Illness Log to monitor students and staff who are home on isolation or quarantine.
  • Cleaning and sanitization protocols: On a daily basis, protocols include to sweep and spot mop floors, empty trash, clean high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, clean interior garbage cans, clean and disinfect restrooms. On a weekly basis, protocols include wet mop all stairs, hallways, and classrooms, clean interior windows, vacuum carpets, disinfect classrooms. On an as needed basis, following a positive case of COVID-19 among staff, the District will clean and disinfect all surfaces in the staff member’s assigned room, restroom and corridors.

Surveillance Testing

In partnership with the California Department of Public Health’s Valencia Branch Labs and the Latino Task Force, SFUSD commenced employee surveillance testing for staff currently doing in-person work. In order to reopen schools SFUSD also needs to provide student surveillance testing, a requirement recently added by the State. 

In preparations, SFUSD posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the District website for implementation of COVID-19 surveillance testing for both staff and students. The RFP closed on February 22 and proposals are being evaluated in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).

Instructional Plan

The Board discussed SFUSD’s proposal for hybrid learning in spring 2021. Per the district’s plan, the number of days for full-day instruction is determined by physical space, school enrollment, staffing, and family interest for in-person learning. The first groups of students who will be invited to return to in-person learning are in Phase 2A and include the youngest students (grades PK–2) and elementary students with disabilities in Moderate/Severe SDC classes.

Negotiations between SFUSD and the teachers union United Educators for San Francisco (UESF) for the hybrid and in-person learning instructional plan continue. SFUSD’s goal has and continues to be to maximize daily in-person instruction for students and to maintain as much consistency as possible by welcoming students back to the school in which they are enrolled. Under the District’s plan, many students would receive 5 full days of instruction of 5 hours each day. At school sites with increased demand for in-person learning and lower seat capacity, SFUSD would be offering two full days of in-person instruction. 

Assessment Center

SFUSD plans to open an Assessment Center at John O’Connell High School to support students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Currently, assessments are being completed to the extent possible when virtual means are appropriate (mostly Speech & Language, other related services, some evaluations w/ Emotional Disturbance or Other Health Impaired focus). The Assessment Center MOU with UESF projects to open in Red Tier regardless of availability of staff vaccines. 

More information regarding SFUSD’s preparations for in-person learning:

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