SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The San Francisco Unified School District said the phased return of students back to in-person learning won’t begin in late January after SFUSD and teachers couldn’t reach a labor agreement in time, prompting criticism from Mayor London Breed.
In a statement posted Friday, the district cited new health and safety requests sought by the unions before returning to in-person learning. The criteria, which the district said it received on Tuesday, includes not resuming in-person learning until San Francisco returns to the Orange Tier in the state’s reopening plan and stays there for two weeks.
“The District cannot meet all of the new requirements SFUSD’s labor unions have proposed, and there is not sufficient time to complete bargaining in order to reopen any school sites on January 25, 2021,” the district said.
District officials said that state and local health orders allow for schools to conduct in-person instruction even in the Purple Tier, if a waiver is received.
Breed blasted the delays in reopening the city’s public schools, citing that there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks involving the city’s community learning hubs and nearly 100 private and parochial schools, which have been open for in-person learning for months.
“It is infuriating that our schools are not going to reopen for in-person learning in January. I can’t imagine how hard this is for our families and for our young people who haven’t been in the classroom since March and are falling further behind every single day,” Breed said in a written statement.
“We can’t create unrealistic standards for in-person learning that aren’t even recommended by the Department of Public Health,” the mayor went on to say.
The mayor echoed her statement in an interview with KPIX 5 on Friday. “I am really, honestly, personally hurt for our children and what they are experiencing,” Breed said. “It’s bad enough that adults are, of course, struggling with this this pandemic mentally and emotionally. Just imagine what our children are dealing with.”
Last week, SFUSD sent a letter of interest to public health officials seeking city approval for reopening. The district had planned to begin hybrid learning between January 25 and March 22 for students in second grade or younger and those with disabilities.
KPIX 5 has reached out to the United Educators of San Francisco for comment Friday afternoon, but have yet to hear a response.
District officials said negotiations are ongoing.