CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It’s been a year since the historic COVID-19 shutdown and the battle with the virus is still impacting our daily lives. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the weekend.

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Oakland Teachers, School District Tentatively Agree To March 30 Return To Classrooms
OAKLAND — Oakland schools will begin reopening before the end of March, after leaders from the teachers’ union and the school district reached a deal Sunday after weeks of negotiations. The tentative agreement — which won’t become official unless it is first approved by the Oakland Education Association and then passed by the Oakland Unified School District board — also preserves the option for students to remain in distance learning. The first phase of the agreement has in-person classes resuming March 30 for pre-kindergarten through grade 2 and priority students, with the second phase resuming April 19 for grades 3-5 and at least one secondary grade to be determined later. The district announced the tentative agreement late Sunday night just before midnight in a press release. The union is expected vote on the agreement this week and, if approved, would then go before the district school board for its vote. Read More

National Park Service Reopens Public Access To Alcatraz Island
SAN FRANCISCO — Slowly San Francisco’s famed tourist destinations are reopening after nearly a year of being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s famed cable cars will begin operation later this year while Alcatraz Island reopened with restrictions on Monday. The first ferry carrying visitors to the famed prison island was scheduled to leave the docks at 10 a.m. The National Park service said there would be a 25 percent limit on visitors, who must wear face masks and maintain social distancing. Access to the outdoor areas of the island, including Eagle Plaza, Sally Port, Recreation Yard and historic gardens will be open to all visitors. While tours of the cell house require a pre-visit sign-up. Read More

Restaurant Regulars Welcome Return of Indoor Dining in Concord
CONCORD — With Contra Costa and Sonoma counties moving into the red tier on Sunday, people can now enjoy limited indoor dining throughout the Bay Area. However, just because businesses could open their doors doesn’t mean they did. It was a day so many had waited for: a new beginning, the first day they could eat indoors at restaurants. At La Pinata in Concord, the breakfast buffet was gone but frequent patron Ricardo Perez did get one of his beloved Mexican Bloody Marys. “I love it,” he said. “It’s getting back to normal slowly but surely, you know? That’s what we all want, honestly, we want to get back to normalcy. Yeah, we have to wear masks at times but, you know what, this is a great start! It may have been a great start but it was also a slow one. Turnout was light and, while Ricardo Tonda appreciated his daughter taking him out to breakfast, he would have preferred eating outdoors. Read More

San Francisco Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility to Include HIV, Deafness, Disabilities
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco will allow people with HIV to get vaccinated, along with people who identify as deaf or disabled, starting on Monday when California opens up the number of residents eligible for the coronavirus vaccine to people with certain significant, high-risk medical conditions or disabilities. An estimated 4.4 million Californians meet the state criteria, which includes more essential workers, people who work or live in jails, homeless shelters and other congregant places and those with disabilities and health conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19. San Francisco is going beyond the state’s eligibility rules by to cover developmental, medical, physical, sensory or behavioral health disabilities, including severe mental health or substance use disorders, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday. Read More

Juniors, Seniors Invited Back To Stanford Campus For Spring Semester
STANFORD — With new COVID-19 cases declining in Santa Clara County, Stanford University officials have decided to invite juniors and seniors to campus for the Spring semester. The semester begins on March 29 and will make the first time upper classmen have been on campus since the pandemic began a year ago. The returning students will be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and most classes will remain remote. “We have concluded that the conditions support moving forward with offering juniors and seniors the opportunity to return to campus for the spring quarter, with systems and safeguards in place to protect our community’s health,” the university said in an announcement. “We will need everyone in our community to continue doing their part to support one another’s health and safety.” Read More

Downtown Walnut Creek Abuzz As Contra Costa County Moves Into Red Tier
WALNUT CREEK — Contra Costa residents joined others in the San Francisco Bay Area Sunday, now able to enjoy indoor meals and other new freedoms as the county moved into the COVID-19 Red Tier. Nearly every corner, every parklet and every sidewalk was buzzing with activity in downtown Walnut Creek Saturday evening. “I called them and I was like ‘are you guys indoor dining, and he’s like no, and I’m like but you go Sunday… and he’s like you already know about that, and I’m like yes, everybody’s watching everything,” said Kimberly Jacob of Vallejo. “I think people are just happy to get out, get fresh air.” Read More

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Hundreds Rally in San Jose to Support Asians and Pacific Islanders Facing Attacks
SAN JOSE — A rally in San Jose Saturday morning drew hundreds from all around the South Bay to denounce the attacks on Asian residents and now there is a growing call for Asian and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to stop remaining silent. As the sound of Taiko drums thundered across San Jose’s city hall plaza, the drumbeat of change was also in the air. With Asians and Pacific Islanders being targeted in racially-motivated violent attacks, it is becoming clear that the cultural ethos of staying silent is not serving them well. “As a young immigrant about 40 years ago, I’ve heard these comments,” said Sunnyvale police chief Phan Ngo. “”Speak English, you damn foreigner! Go back home!'” Read More

Families, Teachers March at Bay Area Rallies Calling for Schools to Reopen
WALNUT CREEK — Saturday was a statewide day of action marking one year of closed schools and calling for a full reopening of classroom learning. It is a movement that appears to be gaining momentum. “I’ve been really encouraged to see how many people have started to stand up and say and point out what seems to be obvious to all of us parents around the city, which is that our kids need to be in school,” said San Francisco parent Suprya Ray at a rally in the city Saturday morning. The demonstrators started at Alamo Square and marched to City Hall. Even some of those who have been active in the campaign to reopen classrooms were pleasantly surprised by the turnout. “Parents are the group that are most affected by this pandemic, we’ve just been slammed from every perspective,” said Siva Raj. “The fact that so many can actually find time to make it here indicates how much frustration there is in the parent community.” Read More

South Bay Congressman Reveals How, When Rescue Act Funds Will Reach Bay Area
SAN JOSE — California’s counties and large cities can expect to receive money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in two parts with the first coming in 60 days from Thursday, according to preliminary information provided by U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna’s office. The U.S. Treasury will disburse the second part one year later. Cities with fewer than 50,000 residents will receive the money from the state following a disbursement from the Treasury. Alameda County will receive $324 million while Oakland will get $192 million. Berkeley will receive $68.3 million. Read More

Heath Officials Increasing Optimistic Of Reaching COVID-19 Green Tier This Year
SAN FRANCISCO — With single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines beginning to be administered at mass vaccination sites in Los Angeles and Oakland, state health officials were becoming more optimistic as to when California will reach the Green Tier. While the Green Tier is not currently on the state’s color-coded, sliding COVID-19 reopening scale, it will soon be added. Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Napa and Solano counties as of Friday are in the Red Tier. Contra Costa and Sonoma counties hopefully will be reassigned to the Red Tier next week. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health secretary, said he felt counties reaching the Green Tier could happen by the fall of 2021. Read More

Friday Night Lights Shine Over Bay Area With Return of High School Football
OAKLEY — March is typically not the time of year for football but the Friday night lights are back on as schools in the Bay Area try to salvage some sort of season. In Oakley, March 12 marked the first Friday night football game in about a year and, while everything on the field looked fairly normal, the stands did not. They were practically empty except for a few people who got special tickets to the game. “Most of us have been waiting two years to play so it’s exciting and it’s fun,” said Vincent Nunley, a senior on the varsity Freedom High School team which hosted Campolindo in Oakley Friday night. The teams are required to test weekly to be able to suit up on game day. It’s not just about the football. The cheer team tried to rally a subdued crowd at Freedom High. According to public health guidelines, fans, for the most part, weren’t allowed. Read More

Bay Area Community Leaders Say Many Attacks on Asian Americans Go Unreported
OAKLAND — Bay Area Asian community leaders said the string of recent attacks against seniors is just the tip of the iceberg. They said victims often don’t report the crimes to police. Just as the George Floyd video forced Americans to see that police brutality against Black Americans is a real issue, recent videos show unprovoked attacks on Asian seniors are another serious problem it’s time to confront. “With these videos, people are finally seeing that it’s actually happening,” said Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. He said such attacks go back decades. What is new is they’re now caught on camera and, with social media, it is easier for people to see and share them and organize to call out the injustice. Read More

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Despite J&J Doses, Vaccine Shortage Problems Continue For Bay Area – ‘Just Don’t Have Enough Supply’
DALY CITY — No matter if you’re getting a COVID shot in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda or Marin counties, the story is often the same: there are not enough doses to go around. “Today, the main limitation is that we just don’t have enough supply,” said Dr. Grant Colfax from the San Francisco County Department of Public Health. In Daly City Friday afternoon, 300 essential workers were getting a Moderna dose after county leaders say the state’s zip code equity failed here. “I respect the state, I respect the governor, but we’re doing it by zip codes, right? In San Mateo County, where we have Daly City, where we have East Palo Alto, where we have farm workers on the coast – we had zero that qualified within those zip codes to get those extra doses,” said president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, David Canepa. Read More