Originally sent on March 4, 2022
Dear SFUSD Families,
We are encouraged by the trend of declining COVID-19 cases in San Francisco and recent announcements from national, state and local health officials easing COVID-19 requirements.
SFUSD leaders and representatives from several SFUSD labor unions have reached an agreement about updated COVID-19 protocols related to masking and contact tracing. These may go into effect in the coming weeks pending approval from the SF Board of Education.
Meanwhile, we want to make sure you know none of these changes go into effect next week. For the week of March 7, wearing masks indoors is still required at all school sites and central offices. We will send another update on Wednesday, March 9. Please read below for more information about pending changes related to masking and contact tracing.
On March 12, California and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) will adopt new indoor mask policies and move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.
Pending approval from the SF Board of Education, SFUSD will follow public health requirements and strongly recommend but not require masking at SFUSD middle and high schools, and at central office worksites beginning March 12. PreK-5th graders would change masking requirements later on April 2, 2022 to allow more time for families to get their elementary age children vaccinated.
Group Contact Tracing
Pending approval from the SF Board of Education, we plan to implement a group contact tracing approach starting March 24. In alignment with public health recommendations, group tracing allows students who may have spent at least 15 minutes in the same indoor space as the person with COVID 19, while that person was contagious to stay in school unless they have or develop symptoms. The group tracing approach recommends but does not require that those who may have been exposed get tested for COVID-19 3-5 days after the exposure, or right away if symptoms develop. This approach will allow more SFUSD students to remain at school for in-person instruction even when there is a known exposure to COVID. To prepare for implementation, SFUSD has increased the inventory of test kits for home use, reduced wait times for test results, provided more personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and students, and worked closely with SFDPH to offer vaccine clinics at several of our school sites.
We recognize changes in masking and contact tracing practices will be a transition for our community. Throughout this pandemic we have had to constantly change but I trust we are moving in the right direction when we follow the science. We are committed to sharing additional updates when they become available in the coming weeks. Thank you for your continued partnership.
Dr. Vincent Matthews