The San Francisco Unified School District is preparing for some students to return to classrooms in January. (Shutterstock photo)

The San Francisco Unified School District is preparing for some students to return to classrooms in January. (Shutterstock photo)

Updates to planning for in-person learning

SFUSD is working on many fronts to make sure youngsters will be safe when they’re back in school


It may not look like it when you pass by our schools, but a lot of work is happening to prepare for a safe return to in-person learning.

From hanging signs and checking the ventilation in classrooms, to ensuring there are health and safety protocols, to developing a registration process so families can indicate whether they want to send their child to in-person classes or remain in distance learning, the San Francisco Unified School District is working all day every day to take the next steps to carefully and safely welcome students and staff back to our sites.

When we enter into a hybrid in-person learning model, we plan to have a regular surveillance testing program of our school staff. In doing so, SFUSD will be by far the largest single testing entity in the city of San Francisco.

Just this past week, our district reached an agreement that will provide access to screening testing services for the staff of our public schools. The agreement marks a significant step in preparing SFUSD for gradually returning to in-person learning for some students starting in late January if all necessary targets are met.

Screening testing provides an important measure of security against transmission of COVID-19 by identifying potentially asymptomatic individuals. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive will be informed of their status and asked to isolate to avoid widespread exposure to others.

In another area of planning for in-person learning, this week we’ve reached an agreement with The City to send disaster service workers to help support our school facility assessments.

The School Site Assessment Team will work with district staff to assess school facilities on a classroom by classroom basis for their readiness to receive students and staff for in-person learning during this pandemic.

These evaluations will include things like operability of classroom windows; type of classroom furniture; presence of functional hand washing sinks; and basic working condition of the classroom, for example window shades and classroom light fixtures.

The site assessment teams will provide valuable data on school site readiness for a hybrid or full in-person learning school day.

We’ve completed these site assessments at several school sites but there are dozens more to go. I am grateful to have The City’s partnership to conduct site assessments quickly and thoroughly so we can make any needed adjustments as soon as possible.

I also know that there are a range of feelings about in-person learning during the pandemic. You can view progress updates on our school reopening dashboard and join us at a Board of Education meeting to share your thoughts.

Vincent Matthews is the superintendent of schools for the San Francisco Unified School District. He is a guest columnist.

Coronaviruseducationsan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read