July 8, 2020 - Staff Digest

July 8, 2020

Dear SFUSD Staff:

As we prepare for the new school year beginning on August 17, we’ve been meeting with families, staff and city representatives to plan for how we can best serve our students at this time while prioritizing health and safety. This week, we’re holding seven town halls focused on learning more about the major concerns and questions in our community at this time. 

As you know, state and local health guidance is evolving all the time. Today, the SF Department of Public Health issued new guidance for TK-12 schools. Learn more about it in this digest.


San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) releases interim guidance for schools

Reopening is contingent on the containment of COVID-19 in the community and the authorization of the San Francisco Health Officer. The interim guidance outlines the health and safety practices needed to safely resume in-person, on-site instruction and extracurricular activities at TK-12 schools. Additionally, the document includes specific actions schools should take to respond to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. 

The guidance emphasizes required use of face coverings to minimize dispersion of droplets and aerosols that carry the virus. Additionally, it recommends stable student cohorts, physical distancing, maximizing outdoor space and limiting non-essential staff and visitors to prevent COVID-19 transmission, as well as measures regarding handwashing, healthy hygiene practices, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. 

This guide is one tool that we will use to design our plans. School buildings could not reopen until a formal health directive is issued.

Racial Justice Resources 

We’ve added more resources for talking with children about race and social justice for families to explore race and social justice. Here are some highlights:

For children and youth:

Check out this awesome animated, Oscar-winning short film, “Hair Love,” from Matthew A. Cherry. It tells the story of a Black father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. To translate both videos, please hover over the video, until you see the toolbar. Click on “CC” to turn on closed captioning. Then click the gear icon for “Settings,” scroll to and click “Subtitles/CC,” and then click “Auto-translate.” From there, you can scroll through the list of languages, and choose your preferred language.

For Adults: 

A Letter to White America. YouTube video: “An invitation to not only create something better than we have ever known but to be something better as well. “ 

Staff Town Hall 

Did you miss this week’s staff town halls? You can view yesterday’s SFUSD Staff Town Hall on YouTube. 

Staff Survey 

A staff survey with questions related to COVID-19 was shared through your district email in May. If you didn’t respond yet, you still can. Search your SFUSD email inbox for: 2020 SFUSD Staff Wellness Survey. The sender is “surveyinfo@brown.edu” 

Health and Wellness

Here are some tips from "How can I stay positive for my kids when I'm so overwhelmed?" by Dr. Briscoe-Smith, published in the Greater Good Magazine:

  • Check in with yourself. How you doin’? No, really. How are you, as a parent or caregiver [or an educator] doing? How do you understand what is going on? How is it making you feel? Be honest with yourself. Before we focus on what we tell our kids, what do we tell ourselves? How are you staying well? If you need help, you may contact resources offered on Health SF
    • TALK LINE: 415-441-KIDS (5437)
    • National Parent Helpline: 1-855-427-2736
    • Hours:  10:00 am – 7:00 pm PDT (Monday - Friday)
  • Filter what reaches your children as much as you can. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just think about how your children and students—with so much less life experience and knowledge—might be feeling. While I still believe it’s important to talk to children about the bad things going on in the world, I see that, if we are so lucky and privileged, we should still try to at least space out or filter the information that reaches them. 

Commit to action. Any action. Even and especially if that action is a “small act of kindness.” Be a role model of proactive empathy and compassion

Bright Spot

Happy National Summer Learning Week! To celebrate learning outside, our friends at the San Francisco Public Library have created an SF Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt checklist to help inspire learning on your next family walk. Remember to wear your mask and stay at least six feet apart from others who don’t live in your household.

Warm regards,
Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews