March 17, 2021

March 17, 2021

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Dear SFUSD Families:

The pandemic has brought a lot of pain and suffering for many, and with it conspiracy theories scapegoating the Asian community for the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to stand together against violence perpetrated against any member of our community, and right now there is an increase in violence against our Asian brothers and sisters. It is unacceptable and we must recommit ourselves to creating safe communities for each and every person. Your child’s physical and emotional safety is our priority whether we are in distance learning or in person. 

Please keep reading today’s digest for important updates.

Return Safely Updates

SFUSD is committed to reopening as many schools as possible as soon as necessary and agreed upon conditions are met. Here are some current events related to preparation efforts underway:

  • SFUSD and UESF have ratified an MOU with agreements on in-person/hybrid/distance instruction related to the remainder of this school year ending in June 2021. 
  • SFUSD has published an updated timeline for PK- 5th Grade students, which includes dates for when schools that serve PK-5 students will begin offering in-person.  While information is subject to change, this timeline represents the most current plan. Students in grades 3-5, with the exception of those in a Moderate/Severe SDC class, will likely return one week following the date when PK-2 students return. 
  • SFUSD instructional schedules are being developed with the goal of getting as many students who wish to return back into in-person learning as possible. SFUSD remains committed to 
    • Honoring family preferences for in-person or distance learning.
    • Providing all students who wish to attend in-person instruction with as many days per week and as many hours per day of instruction as possible.
  • All in-person learning family surveys are closed.  Families who have responded “yes” to returning to in person will receive a placement packet for in-person learning at least 10 days prior to the first day of in-person learning. 
  • Families who have not yet responded or wish to change their response should contact their school sites directly.
  • High school athletic programs will resume on April 12. Learn about the offerings. High school students will receive more information about how to sign up soon.  
  • On March 16, SFUSD shared plans for summer programming and future commitments at a Board of Education Special meeting, which includes a proposal for a new initiative to expand high school summer learning.

Clarifying Classroom Capacity for In-Person Learning

Public health guidance continues to shift and evolve. SFUSD is following the most recent public health guidance related to physical distancing at schools offering in-person instruction.

  • We will strive to keep student desks at 6 feet but may have desks no less than 4ft apart from each other with a plexiglass barrier between the students. Per the Department of Public Health, schools that were inspected at 6 feet don't need to be re-inspected if they add desks and move to 4 feet.
  • Teacher desks are at least 6 feet apart from student desks and tables.
  • There is no 14-student limit in classrooms. We are setting up classrooms to accommodate a full class provided we can meet physical distancing requirements. 
  • For more information on facilities and operations, refer to the Did You Know section below. 

Vaccine Update

We are excited that SFUSD employees have now had numerous ways to access vaccine appointments. Nearly 3,000 SFUSD staff members have let us know they have been vaccinated. 

San Francisco has expanded vaccination eligibility to people ages 16-64 with a disability or qualifying health conditions since March 15. Getting vaccinated is one of the most effective preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, reduce complications, and save lives. 

Learn more about vaccines for people with high risk medical conditions or disability.

Distance Learning Updates

SF Loves Learning

What science questions do your students have? Help them submit any question and Maestra Meza will try to answer it with them on the show in May! Watch this student questions video and help students submit their questions by filling out this short questions form by Friday, March 26.

This month’s Science theme is “What do engineers do?” and our cultural theme is Women’s History Month. You can find segments on both of these themes throughout the month.

This week’s theme is Materials. Check out these segments that are airing this week:

  • Materials: Conclusion (Daily Lesson): Maestra Meza concludes what types of paper are best for puppet and for the shadow box. and what combination of paper and adhesive is best for the puppet stand. We conclude with a shadow puppet show. 3/19/21
  • One More Tree (Music): Mr. Peter and a student sing a song about Wangari Maathai. 3/16/2021
  • Pizza with Everything On It (Read Aloud): One father-son duo make a pizza so delicious, and so over-the-top with toppings, that it destroys the universe—and will surely melt readers' minds and hearts, like warm mozzarella. 03/16/2021
  • Can't Stop 'Us': Strength & Direction (Movement): In honor of Women's History Month, Ms. Sammay shines light on the Bay Area's own Ruby Ibarra - a Pinay rapper and scientist making waves with her purposeful movement-building. Explore concepts of 'force' through freestyle movement and invigorate your sense of purpose in taking positive action for your community! 03/19/2021
  • Mindful Movement with Maggie (Community) Take a mindful moment at the beach 03/17/2021
  • Did you know? (Community) Did you know that asking questions during reading with your child helps them understand what they read better? 3/18/21

You can watch any content from the show in these ways:

  • Segments Library: Find any segment (read aloud, daily lesson, music, movement, community)!
  • YouTube channel: Subscribe to this channel, explore the playlists, and receive notifications when new content is published.

SF Loves Learning airs every weekday, 8:30-9am on KTVU Plus and any time at sfusd.edu/sfloveslearning.

Did You Know?

All schools need final approval from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to reopen for in-person instruction.

View the SFDPH School Guidance Checklist and SFUSD COVID-19 Prevention Plan for each school as they receive final approval. Several more sites are being inspected in the coming weeks.

What has been done to prepare my child’s school for safe return?

The Facilities Division conducts two types of assessments at each site: 

  • The Building Systems Assessment which determines if heating, ventilation, electrical, plumbing and other building systems are functioning as intended. 
  • The Ground Truthing Site Assessment which: 
    • Reconciles the physical classroom or office number with the building floor plan 
    • Counts the total number of classroom/office windows, noting those that are operable vs. inoperable, and of operable windows, if they function 
    • Confirms the presence and functionality of handwashing sinks 
    • Describes the number and type of student desks present in classrooms 
    • Confirms working condition of restrooms

The Facilities Division will also organize a series of site preparation (“stand up”) activities including:

  • Designation of entry, exits and circulation paths throughout the school site 
  • Posting of appropriate COVID-19 safety signage throughout the building reminding students and employees to: 
    • social distance 
    • wear face coverings 
    • wash/disinfect hands frequently 
  • Repairing windows where necessary to ensure improved ventilation 
  • Arranging classroom furniture to allow for 6-foot social distancing 
  • Delivery and installation of partitions and desktop shields where necessary 
  • Confirmation that all hand sanitizer dispensers are working and filled 
  • Replacing ventilation filters older than six months 
  • Flushing the building’s plumbing

For more information about Facilities and Operations, refer to this FAQ.

Annual Student Social Emotional Learning (SEL) / Culture Climate Survey for Students in Grades 4-12

SFUSD measures school quality by looking at the school’s climate as well as the academic performance and social emotional skills of the school’s student body. In April, your student will take an online Social Emotional Learning/School Climate Survey. Results of the survey will be used to assess our programs and initiatives; all reports will be summarized using aggregate data, not individual student data.

Families received information about the survey including the electronic consent form via email on March 15.  Read the parent consent message.

If you do not want your child to participate, please email sel@sfusd.edu by March 25 and include your student’s name, school and grade level.

Bright Spot

SFUSD staff share why they’re choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in this brief video. I’m grateful so many of our staff are getting vaccinated. Every day we get closer to a safe return to in-person learning.

Warm regards,

Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthew