SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Students in San Francisco are heading back to fully reopened schools full-time for the first time in 18 months on Monday.

The San Francisco Unified School District said it is prepared to welcome back more than 50,000 students.

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“I’m feeling excited, because I get to see my friends back in person and my teacher,” said 2nd grader Reid Robinstrom.

Robinstrom’s mother is relieved, yet nervous to send him back amid the COVID delta variant and increasing case rates in San Francisco.

“It is scary, I’m not going to lie, it’s totally scary,” said Anna Billstrom. “We try our hardest to protect our kids and we don’t want to put them in a bad situation but… feels like it’d be great to have an in-person teacher who’s really experienced instead of a parent who – I’m not experienced.”

Last week the district announced it will require teachers and staff to be vaccinated or face weekly testing, effective September 7th.

“I think that’s great. I mean as adults I feel like we should all be pretty responsible, socially responsible for not getting other people sick,” said Billstrom.

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The decision came as hundreds of San Francisco parents protested a return to in-person learning outside the district headquarters.
A couple hundred students have applied for a virtual learning option.

At school, masks will be required indoors for students and staff.

“I guess it’s different, but I guess we can deal to live with it,” said student Shahad Alfuraiji.

The 12-year-old Alfuraiji says adjusting to the new rules will be a bit weird. She’s dealing with mixed emotions.

“It’s kind of scary, but also kind of excited for it because we get to be in a pandemic and also get to have our education,” she said.

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The SFUSD said the risk of COVID-19 in schools is often lower than outside of school. During the past school year, San Francisco had 7 cases of COVID transmission with in-person learning among 48,000 students and teachers.