COVID-19 Science and Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Last updated May 24, 2022

SFUSD strongly encourages anyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster to get vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible. It is one of the most important ways to avoid severe outcomes from getting COVID-19.

Review the following FAQs to learn more.

Can my child get vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19?

Anyone 5 years and older is now eligible to get vaccinated or boosted in San Francisco. At this time only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is approved for those 5 to 17 years of age, so be sure the location where you go offers Pfizer. People under 18 need permission from a parent or guardian to be vaccinated, except under certain limited circumstances. 

View our FAQs for pediatric vaccines to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for children ages 5-11.

Why shouldn't I wait for the vaccines to be fully approved by the FDA before my children get it?

Waiting to get vaccinated increases the risk of contracting COVD-19, which can sometimes have serious consequences. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 5-17. The FDA has regulatory processes in place to facilitate the development of COVID-19 vaccines that meet the FDA's rigorous scientific standards, which are also applied to the EUA process. More vaccines may be authorized but at this time, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for minors. 

View our FAQs for pediatric vaccines to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for children ages 5-11.

Where can I go to get more information or to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster?

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from sf.gov/covidvaccine. Visit SFUSD's COVID-19 vaccine webpage sfusd.edu/covidvaccine for a calendar of vaccination events in San Francisco, which vaccines are offered at each site, and latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines.

View our FAQs for pediatric vaccines to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines or boosters for children ages 5-11.

Will vaccinated people need a booster?

San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is opening up COVID-19 booster shots to everyone ages 5 years and up, provided they qualify based on timing of the previous dose of the vaccine. 

Pfizer and Moderna recipients may receive a booster six months after their second dose in alignment with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance.

SFDPH also strongly recommends that anyone in a higher risk group–including seniors 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions, and people who work in high-risk settings–receive a booster as soon as possible. Additionally, all Johnson & Johnson recipients should receive a booster two months after their previous dose, a criterion that remains the same.

SFUSD vaccine sites are offering booster shots to everyone ages 5 and up. 

For latest information related to COVID-19 vaccines, visit sf.gov/covidvaccine

I have children who are not eligible for vaccines yet. Does that mean they are exposed to additional risks by going back to school?

Data show that the risk of COVID-19 transmission among children at school is extremely low—even before vaccines were available for children or adults. When SFUSD was reopened in Spring 2021, we had zero positive cases that were known to be a result of school-based transmission. All students are encouraged to return unless they have a medical reason not to. More than 90% of San Francisco youth ages 12-17 have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is encouraging since getting  vaccinated is one of the most important ways to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19.  In-person learning provides the best mode of instruction, and SFUSD is implementing mitigation efforts that are aligned with SFDPH guidance to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. Discuss with your pediatrician if you are concerned about risks associated with COVID-19 transmission.

When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available for children under 12?

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children ages 5-11 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). SFUSD will continue to work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, medical experts, and community health partners to make vaccines accessible and available to anyone who is eligible. Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out and are available through your primary healthcare provider, community pharmacies, and vaccine clinics. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or would like to learn more.

View our FAQs for pediatric vaccines to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

Last updated May 24, 2022

What is the vaccination policy for students?

SFUSD highly encourages anyone who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated before school starts, and is partnering with healthcare and community providers to make vaccines accessible and free for SFUSD families. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco at sf.gov/covidvaccine. Visit SFUSD's COVID-19 vaccine webpage for a calendar of vaccination events, which vaccines are offered at each site, and the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines. 

Per state law, all students should also be up to date on all other vaccines required for school before attending. If the school does not yet have your child’s immunization record, or your child receives additional vaccinations, please bring the updated vaccination record to your child’s school. Information about health requirements for school is available on the SFUSD website.

What is the vaccination policy for staff and teachers?

SFUSD is requiring all staff to report their vaccination status. The district is actively promoting all who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated and is partnering with healthcare and community providers to make vaccines accessible and free for SFUSD staff and families. All school-based personnel who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 must test at least once weekly. 

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco at sf.gov/covidvaccine. Visit SFUSD's COVID-19 vaccine webpage for a calendar of vaccination events, which vaccines are offered at each site, and the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines. 

What is the vaccination policy for service providers, including those operating before and after school programs?

SFUSD requires all service providers to be fully vaccinated. Those who qualify for a medical or religious exemption must have a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the first time entering a school, then weekly thereafter. In addition, all service providers must follow San Francisco Department of Public Health guidelines. Service providers can learn more about these requirements at the MOU information page, and review the vaccination FAQs for service providers for more information.

Will SFUSD require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19?

SFUSD is not mandating students to be vaccinated at this time. The California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students will take effect after full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023.  

Where can I request information about the vaccination rates or statistics about testing results for my student's school or classroom?

To protect the privacy and confidential health information of students and staff, SFUSD is unable to share detailed information about vaccination records. SFUSD is planning and implementing health and safety guidelines and enforcing COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as improved ventilation and surveillance testing based on the current public health context whereby children under 5 years old are unvaccinated. 

When will SFUSD implement the statewide COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students?

The State mandate will go into effect no sooner than July 1, 2023, and it is contingent on the COVID-19 vaccine receiving full FDA approval for anyone who is between ages 5-15. 

Currently, all students attending SFUSD, per California state law, are required to be up to date on immunizations required by the Health and Safety Code and the CA Code of Regulations. 

We will be working closely with the SF Department of Public Health to set up additional systems to verify student vaccination as we await more details from the State.
 

COVID-19 Science

Last updated May 24, 2022

I am concerned about community spread and transmission through schools because I live in an SRO--what are the risks and prevention mechanisms?

Get vaccinated if you are eligible, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and follow the protocols in the SRO that you live in.

How does COVID-19 spread? When is someone considered contagious?

According to the latest school guidelines published by the SF Department of Public Health, "COVID-19 is mostly spread from person-to-person in the air through virus-containing droplets from someone with COVID-19." A person with COVID-19 is considered contagious 2 days before their symptoms start until at least 5-10 days later, fever is gone 24 hours, and symptoms have improved.

If a person with COVID-19 has no symptoms, they are considered contagious 2 days before their positive test until 5-10 days after the positive test.

If a person who was initially asymptomatic develops symptoms after testing positive, the contagious period should be considered as two days before the test date and is extended to 5-10 days after the onset of symptoms. Visit When Someone Gets Sick for more information.

This page was last updated on May 24, 2022