Labor FAQs - Return to School

Personnel & Labor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated February 9, 2021

What does the tentative agreement between SFUSD and labor groups address?

The group of unions and SFUSD tentatively agreed on baseline health and safety standards. The tentative agreement addresses the health and safety standards necessary for the return of students at all grade levels, preschool through 12, and the parties have agreed to meet and confer on any additional negotiable impacts of the District’s plans for the return of middle and high school students.

What did the parties tentatively agree to regarding when students can begin to resume learning in person?

SFUSD and labor groups agreed that students can return when: 

  • San Francisco City and County are in the Red Tier as determined by the California Department of Public Health, and according to California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and all staff reporting to District school or worksites have had the opportunity (eligibility and access) to be vaccinated at the recommended dosage;   or 
  • San Francisco City and County is in the Orange or any lower Tier, as determined by the California Department of Public Health, regardless of the availability of vaccines.

Does this tentative agreement with labor groups mean SFUSD has completed bargaining as it relates to reopening school sites?

No, the tentative agreement reached with the group of unions does not address or resolve all the negotiable impacts of the District’s plan for Hybrid Instruction. The District continues to meet with the United Educators of San Francisco to complete bargaining on the negotiable impacts of hybrid instruction.

Besides being in red with vaccines or orange without, what are the other big things that need to happen before SFUSD can begin in-person learning?

While there are multiple steps still to be taken, the two biggest ones are: 

  • The Department of Public Health must inspect and approve that each school site facility is ready to reopen. In December 2020 SFUSD submitted a letter of interest to the SF Department of Public Health (DPH) to reopen all elementary schools (per the district’s Return Safely plan, stand-alone early education sites are also ready to reopen and SFUSD does not need DPH authorization to reopen these early education schools as the criteria are different). The letter of interest was the first in a multistep process for the DPH to begin authorizing the district to reopen each school. DPH has begun site inspections for elementary schools that are in the first waves of schools the district plans to reopen (there are other schools in Wave 1 which are not elementary schools and do not get inspected). Five elementary schools have been inspected to date. Completion of inspections does not equate with DPH granting authorization. 
  • Identify a provider and begin testing staff and students for COVID-19 consistent with requirements of new state guidelines and per the tentative agreement between labor groups and SFUSD. The agreement with labor groups requires a testing plan for both students and staff in all of the tiers. Given the expanded scope of testing, the District released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on February 2, 2021 to identify a vendor to stand up testing sites by March 15, 2021.

Does SFUSD have a new target date for beginning in-person learning?

There is no new date set for a variety of reasons, including:

  • SFUSD cannot predict when staff in the first waves of schools will be able to get the vaccine. We are working closely with the City but San Francisco has received limited doses and has not yet finished delivering the first doses of the vaccines to everyone in the first priority groups (1a). School staff are currently in the state’s second priority group (1b). 
  • SFUSD cannot predict when San Francisco will be in the red or orange tiers.
  • SFUSD cannot predict when it will complete bargaining with labor. The tentative agreement on health and safety is a big step toward completing bargaining but SFUSD is still negotiating with the teachers union and other labor unions regarding other aspects of the impacts of returning students to in-person learning during the pandemic.

Once the conditions are met, how much time will SFUSD need to begin serving students in person?

SFUSD is working on having everything ready to move quickly once conditions are met. We have facilities set up (early wave schools are ready); multilingual orientation sessions and registration packets for families in Phase 2A are prepared and set to begin no later than two weeks before the opening date; and staff are completing mandatory training. 

Based on staffing timelines and placement details being provided to families prior to students returning, SFUSD anticipates we will need a minimum of five weeks from the date when conditions are met prior to the first day of in-person learning. For example, staff need to be notified and given the opportunity to appeal an in-person placement based on health conditions. Teachers and other staff also need time in school sites to set up and prepare for new protocols before students arrive. Families need advance notice with more details regarding who their child’s teacher will be, what the hybrid learning model will look like and have time to complete a mandatory orientation and complete paperwork.

This page was last updated on November 16, 2021