COVID-19 Updates for the 2022-23 School Year

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Announcement Message

Dear SFUSD community, 

The first day of school is quickly approaching, and we are working hard to be ready to welcome back students and families on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. I am very excited to visit our schools and meet SFUSD students and families as I begin my first year as your new superintendent. 

We will be sending out an official welcome to the 2022-23 school year as we get closer to the first day of school. In the meantime, we know families and staff may have questions about our policies and practices as we begin another school year with COVID-19 in our midst, particularly during wildfire season. We will also soon receive guidance for schools on monkeypox from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and will share updates then. 

Please review these updates related to COVID-19 so that our schools can remain safe and healthy places for our students to learn and thrive.

Dr. Matt Wayne, SFUSD Superintendent


While COVID-19 is here to stay, we have methods and tools to decrease its impact on our well-being. Our community in San Francisco has done a great job getting vaccinated, which helps prevent the worst symptoms of COVID-19 and keeps hospitalization rates low.

Public health experts continue to reiterate that schools are safe, that in-person learning is critical to student well-being and development, and that cases and hospitalizations in San Francisco children have been low.

As part of our commitment to the safety and well-being of students and stuff, please take note of the following:

  • Students and staff should stay home if they are sick.
  • SFUSD continues to strongly recommend masking. Please respect other people’s right to wear a mask.

SFUSD will share information about how to access COVID resources in San Francisco with families and staff. We will also continue to monitor updates in consultation with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and adjust our policies as needed.

What’s Changing

Public Health Guidance

As of June 30, the San Francisco Department of Health (SFDPH) no longer has separate local guidance for schools, childcare, and programs for children and youth. SFDPH is now referring to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance for schools and childcare sites. SFUSD will also continue to follow the CDPH guidance, which supports safe, in-person learning in K-12 schools and mitigates the spread of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Testing Before Going Back to School

We encourage but do not require students and staff to get tested before the first day of school on Aug. 17 to help keep our schools safe. 

Free and low cost COVID-19 test options:

  • Get free rapid antigen tests for your household from
  • Find free or low-cost testing at pharmacies and community-based sites.
  • Get free tests at San Francisco-run sites. If you have health insurance, the City will bill your insurance.
  • If you have health insurance, your insurance must cover 8 home tests per person each month. Check your insurance company’s website to see how to get tests by pick up or reimbursement. 
  • If you are unable to access COVID-19 rapid antigen tests from the sources above, SFUSD will have a limited supply of over-the-counter (OTC) rapid antigen tests kits available for pick up in the 555 Franklin Street parking lot off of McAllister on August 16 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. while supplies last. One test kit per SFUSD student. The distribution may end earlier than 2.p.m if supplies are distributed before 2 p.m.

COVID-19 Testing During the School Year

  • Over the fall semester, SFUSD will transition from providing take-home molecular test kits at school sites to distributing CDPH-provided over-the-counter (OTC) rapid antigen test kits
  • You can pick up and drop off take-home molecular test kits from COLOR at school sites through the end of September
  • We will distribute CDPH-provided rapid antigen test kits at school sites during the week of August 22. We will provide updates about any future distribution of test kits as we get them from CDPH. 

SFUSD will continue to provide up-to-date information about where students, families, and staff can access COVID-19 testing throughout San Francisco. We will also continue updating our COVID-19 Testing Dashboard in the fall.

What’s Staying the Same

Daily Health Screening

It takes all of us to maintain safe and healthy schools. This means all staff and students must:

  • Self-screen for COVID-19 before coming to school or work every day
  • Stay home when sick 
    • If you have symptoms, we strongly recommend testing for COVID-19. If the test is negative, you can return if:
      • You have not had a fever in the last 24 hours
      • Your symptoms are improving
    • If you choose not to test, isolate and return when at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared if:
      • You have not had a fever in the last 24 hours without taking medication
      • Your symptoms have improved (symptoms do not need to be completely better)
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently

Positive Cases

If your student tests positive: 

  • Report positive cases to 415-660-9850 or email 
  • Stay home and isolate for at least 5 days
  • Students can return if they test negative after 6 days since symptoms first appeared or 10 days without a negative test since symptoms first appeared

Group Contact Tracing

SFUSD will continue to implement group contact tracing. Under group contact tracing, close contacts are defined as those who may have spent at least 15 minutes in the same indoor space as someone who tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was contagious. 

SFUSD will inform staff and students through a Group Tracing Memo if one or more people report testing positive for COVID-19 at a school or central office site. 

This approach is supported by public health officials as a safe way to manage COVID-19 and decrease the number of missed school days for students. 

COVID-19 information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, go to More back-to-school information is available via a print mailer that is sent bilingually to each SFUSD family. 


We continue to strongly recommend masking. CDPH recommends but does not require mask wearing indoors in schools. Students, staff and visitors may choose to wear a mask as they see fit. We ask that you respect the right of others to wear a mask. We will continue to monitor updates from health officials and make adjustments to our mask policy as needed.


We continue to encourage all eligible people from 6 months and older to get up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination. This includes boosters for all eligible people ages 5 and up. 

Vaccines benefit everyone in school and childcare programs, including staff and older students. It is one of the most important ways to help keep our community safe from COVID-19. 

Learn how to access vaccines in San Francisco.


During the 2021 school year Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) were installed in all classrooms and shared student spaces. The Facilities Division completed a review during the summer to determine if PACs were missing in any of these spaces. Replacements will be delivered to classrooms and shared student spaces where PACs were not found prior to the start of the school year

Wildfires and air quality: Smoke from wildfires can negatively impact the air quality for San Francisco and the Bay Area. SFUSD monitors San Francisco’s air quality and gets updates from SFDPH. During wildfires or other times when air quality is poor, state guidance recommends prioritizing maintaining healthy air quality indoors. Schools can stay open even if they need to close their windows or decrease outdoor air intake by the ventilation system during these times. When SFUSD purchased PACs for classrooms, we selected a model that is designed to neutralize the odors associated with wildfire smoke in addition to offering HEPA filtration. 

Thank you for helping us make our schools a safe and healthy learning environment.

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