February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

Dear SFUSD Staff:

I’m thrilled that today marks the first day that individuals who work in education are eligible for vaccination in San Francisco. Vaccine supply is still low, but we anticipate supply will increase and more and more appointments will become available over the next few weeks. We encourage all staff to visit the City of San Francisco's vaccination website at sf.gov/covid-19-vaccine-san-francisco, where you can register for vaccines and sign up for appointments as they become available at various sites and locations.

Please keep reading today’s digest for more important updates.

Return Safely Updates

SFUSD is committed to reopening as many schools as possible for in-person instruction as soon as all the necessary and agreed upon conditions are met, which include:

  • Prioritizing school staff for vaccines,
  • Moving out of the purple tier, and 
  • Having the infrastructure for adequate staff and student surveillance testing.

San Francisco remains in the purple tier but is projected to shift to the red tier as early as next Tuesday based on declining case rates.

Here are some current events related to the return to in-person preparation process.

  • SFUSD’s goal has been and continues to be to maximize daily in-person instruction for students, and to maintain as much consistency as possible by welcoming students back to the school in which they are enrolled. SFUSD’s proposal for hybrid learning plans outlines the criteria for the number of in-person learning days and instructional schedules for elementary school students. For more information about Instruction, see Did You Know section below.
  • Negotiations between SFUSD and the teachers union United Educators for San Francisco (UESF) for the hybrid and in-person learning instructional plan continue. 
  • On Feb. 23, SF Board of Education unanimously ratified: 
    • The tentative agreement between SFUSD and labor unions on baseline health and safety standards necessary for return to in-person learning, and 
    • An MOU to open an Assessment Center at John O’Connell High School to support students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), which is projected to open in Red Tier regardless of availability of staff vaccines.
  • In preparation for expanded student and staff COVID-19 surveillance testing, SFUSD posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the District website. The RFP closed on Feb. 22 and proposals are being evaluated in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).
  • Phase 2A families are encouraged to review the Return Safely Together Guide for Families (under Health and Safety Resources), which is available in 7 languages, in preparation for in-person learning when all conditions are met. The guide will be updated when more information becomes available. 

COVID Testing

In partnership with the California Department of Public Health’s Valencia Branch Labs, SFUSD relaunched our employee surveillance testing for staff currently doing in-person work on Monday Feb. 22. Our test site will continue to be staffed by our partners at the Latino Task Force. 

Testing will take place at 555 Franklin on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is required once every two weeks for staff doing in-person work. As we work to conclude the RFP process to increase our testing capacity, we will share more information around expectations for testing, new locations, etc. If you have questions about testing, please reach out to your supervisor.  

Vaccines

As of Feb. 24, individuals who work in education are eligible for vaccination in San Francisco. We know there are a lot of questions regarding when school district staff will be able to get vaccinated through the District. SFUSD is working closely with the City and advocating on behalf of our employees. The City continues to experience supply shortages. We will share updates as soon as they are available. 

At this time, we encourage staff to sign up to get notified when you're eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Each county and healthcare provider may have available appointments at different times.  There may also be opportunities to get vaccinated through pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. We encourage staff to get vaccinated as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Distance Learning Updates

SFUSD continues to improve distance learning instruction. Last week over 1,000 elementary school students participated in a virtual Q&A event featuring the State Wolf Scientist. Learn about our initiative to strengthen science education during distance learning.

SF Loves Learning

Last week to celebrate Black History Month! (and then you can celebrate Black history in other ways for the REST OF THE YEAR). Find More New videos in our Black History Month Deck as ways to celebrate with your students.

Looking for Science based lessons, songs, movement pieces, read alouds?? Check out our first SF Loves Learning Teacher Resources Deck, Learning and Growing: The Needs of Plants and Animals.

“What do engineers do?” is next week’s theme on SF Loves Learning. Check out these segments that will air next week:

  • Balancing the Ecosytem in the Bayview (Daily Lesson): Why are community gardens in San Francisco important? How do community gardens balance the ecosystem? Maestra Meza interviews Danielle and Isaiah from the Adam Rogers Park in the Bayview to find out how they bring ecological balance back into the Bayview. 2/25/2021 Seesaw Activity

  • It's a Cycle (Song): This song is about the water cycle and talks about water as a vital resource. It also is about the bodies of water. 3/1/2021

  • Over the Moon (Read Aloud): When two wolves see a baby floating down a river, what do they do? Why, they take the baby home. Seesaw Activity

  • Getting into Motion with Newton's 3rd Law! (Movement): Ms. Kyra explores pushes, pulls, jumps, and rolls using dance, and Newton's 3rd Law of Motion. Seesaw Activity

You can search for any content from the show, and plan instruction for next week in three ways:

  • Segments Library: Find any segment (read aloud, daily lesson, music, movement, community)!

  • Seesaw page: Teachers can adopt any Seesaw activity on our page.

  • YouTube channel: Subscribe to this channel, explore the playlists, and receive notifications when new content is published.

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

Resource Highlights

SFUSD COVID Family Relief Fund

The COVID-19 Family Relief Fund for SFUSD Families is raising money for SFUSD families in need. If you are able, please consider donating to the fund and sharing with others. You may choose to donate to any SFUSD family in need or a specific school. The SF Ed Fund will work with school site principals to identify families who will be supported by community donations.  

$500 Stimulus for SF Lower-Wage Workers and Families 

The City of San Francisco announced up to $500 in new financial support through tax credits and cash stimulus for  households eligible for the San Francisco Working Families Credit. Learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Weekly Engagement Logs

New feature to help simplify Weekly Engagement logging

Seesaw Support

Teachers who use Seesaw as their primary learning management system may enter "In Seesaw" or "See Seesaw" in the assignments tab. The Department of Technology has been able to work with Seesaw to obtain an auditable extract of assignments for each week in the 2020-21 school year. With this upgrade, teachers can refer to digital records in Synergy Gradebook, Google Classroom, or Seesaw.

More new features on the horizon to help simplify the process. Stay tuned! 

Tech Tips

New Seesaw and Google Updates

  • Seesaw has just launched these creative tool improvements
    • Add voice recordings to labels, shapes and images to make instructions more clear and support emerging readers or English Language Learners 
    • Upload audio files directly from your computer to enhance activities
    • Lock size of labels, images and shapes to make it easier for learners to interact with activities
  • Check out these new updates coming soon to Google Meet, which include:
    • The ability to mute all participants at once under the “People” tab
    • End meeting for alloption for the host to fully close down a Meet when it’s ending. Note: This also turns off “Quick Access” for that Meet, so some people might not be able rejoin that meeting link until the host joins first.
    • To get other more advanced features of Meet (such as breakout rooms & polling), submit the Enterprise License Request Form. License requests are reviewed about once a week, and requesters will receive a confirmation email when a license has been assigned.

Did You Know?

In-person instruction refers to instruction that will take place at school sites as they open gradually for small cohorts of students.

What are the considerations behind the proposed hybrid learning plan?

The number of days for full-day instruction is determined by physical space, school enrollment, staffing, and family interest for in-person learning. The first groups of students who will be invited to return to in-person learning are in Phase 2A and include the youngest students (grades PK–2) and elementary students with disabilities in Moderate/Severe SDC classes. To learn more, read Getting elementary students back in classrooms or watch the video explainer

Learn more in this FAQ.

Bright Spot

When I say your hard work is appreciated, I hope you know that many others besides myself appreciate you! 

Warm regards,

Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthew