SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — School teachers and district employees preparing San Francisco public schools for reopening will be provided with COVID testing in the days leading up to a reopening date which has now on hold.
Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Unified School District announced Tuesday a partnership with Los Angeles County-based Curative Lab to set up testing sites for SFUSD staffers in different parts of the city. The initial rollout would at the district offices on Franklin St. and expand to other parts of the city as needed.
According to the city, the program will prioritize SFUSD staff who work at the schools opening for in-person learning in the first phase of SFUSD’s rollout plan. The target date of January 25th to begin returning small cohorts will not be met, it was announced, and when school resumes on January 5, 2021, SFUSD will continue to provide distance learning.
“We know that getting our students safely back in the classroom is an absolute top priority for our City and our School District right now,” said Breed in a statement. “While we all need to continue to do our part right now to get this current surge under control, we also need to keep moving forward in putting the pieces in place to support getting our schools reopened next year, including having the right testing program. Everyone has been working so hard over these last months—our students, our families, and our teachers—to get through this pandemic, and I know none of this has been easy. We are committed to doing everything we can to get our schools open safely for in-person learning once again.”
Funding for the testing will be provided by the city’s Department of Children, Youth and their Families. The testing partnership also includes contributions from the Latino Task Force community group and guidance from the city’s health department.
“We are grateful for the expertise and additional resources provided by the Mayor, city agencies and the Latino Task Force to help us meet the new demands of operating schools during the pandemic,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said in a statement. “Surveillance testing of our staff is key to being ready to serve students in-person.”
“The SF Latino Task Force has been on the frontlines helping administer testing to some of the hardest hit areas in SF since the pandemic began. To date, we’ve helped launch numerous sites providing over 25,000 tests citywide,” said LTF Coordinator Valerie Tulier-Laiwa in a statement. “We are excited to extend our work by partnering with DCYF and SFUSD. We understand that children, youth and families are eager to return to in-person instruction, and providing COVID testing is a crucial step in ensuring safety during this time.”
Testing will take place on a regular schedule that will be announced as the start of in-person learning nears, according to a press release. Employees will be able to pre-register before arriving at the testing sites, with results within 48-72 hours.