Reopening Schools FAQs

Last updated November 18, 2020

What must schools do to be approved for in person when in Tier 2 - which considers community transmission to be “substantial”?

  • Ability to accommodate face covering wearing at all times (e.g. eating and drinking would require removal of face covering)
  • Ability to physically distance between individuals from different households
  • Ability to limit the number of people per square foot
  • Ability to limit duration of exposure
  • Ability to limit amount of mixing of people from differing households and communities
  • Ability to limit amount of physical interactions of visitors/patrons
  • Ability to optimize ventilation (e.g. indoor vs outdoor, air exchange and filtration)
  • Ability to limit activities that are known to cause increased spread (e.g. singing, shouting, heavy breathing; loud environs will cause people to raise voice)

What is the district's plan to reopen now that some schools can apply to do so?

SFUSD has been preparing for a gradual return to hybrid instructional model focusing first on our youngest students in grades PK-2, students in moderate/severe special day classes as well as homeless and foster youth and those who have shown the lowest overall online engagement.

What are SFUSD’s criteria for reopening school buildings?

The City needs to meet certain public health indicators for 14 consecutive days. For SFUSD, several additional factors will need to be in place, including: 

  • an adequate testing plan 
  • staff training
  • students and families informed of protocols 
  • minimum of 3 months of PPE for all participating staff and students 
  • labor agreements

Why are we planning to return to just a small number of schools to begin with?

While our desire is to have all students back in person as soon as public health officials say it is safe to do so, we are planning for a gradual return to in-person learning in small cohorts of students to create the safest possible learning environment.

School reopening in this current context is incredibly complex, as we manage new forms of scheduling, staffing, etc, while complying with intricate health and safety requirements. To ensure that we do it as safely and effectively as possible, and that we learn and improve as we do it, we are bringing students back, gradually, in person at a handful of schools instead of all at once.

If my child’s elementary school is scheduled to open, does that mean my child can have the option to return to in person?

All schools identified in our first two waves have PK and/or Mod/Severe SDC classes and those are the classes that will open first, followed by TK, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders at those schools a few weeks later. Elementary school students in 3rd through 5th grade will not be included in the first groups to return to in-person. 


Would you need to have an MOU with the teachers union before you begin to implement hybrid learning?

We have regular meetings with UESF, the teachers union. SFUSD’s current MOU outlines distance learning working conditions. We will be discussing an MOU for this next phase of hybrid in-person learning at upcoming meetings. The timeline for getting to an agreement is not predefined as it requires negotiation and may possibly require several meetings.