SFUSD (Examiner file photo)

SFUSD unions say they will return to in-person teaching when The City is in the red tier

Bargaining position may be at odds with push to get students back in classrooms quickly

San Francisco Unified School District unions on Friday presented a bargaining proposal that would return teachers and school staff to in-person teaching when The City moves into the red tier only if all school employees have access to vaccinations, protective gear and other safety precautions.

The proposal, presented today by a coalition of teacher and staff unions, was presented to the district yesterday and will be discussed in a bargaining session scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday, according to Susan Solomon, president of the United Educators of San Francisco.

School employees would return to work when The City is in the orange tier under this proposal even if vaccinations are not available to them, as long as safety precautions such as ventilation, social distancing, protective gear, testing and contact tracing are in place, Solomon said.

“We all need to be working together on this, unions, the school district and The City,” Solomon said.

The union’s position stands in stark contrast to the assertions by Mayor London Breed and parent advocates this week that schools can be reopened safely now. City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the district alleging that it has failed to create an adequate plan to resume in-person learning, as required by state law.

Breed and other elected officials on Thursday also rallied with parents calling for the district to reach a deal with unions quickly to allow for reopening for at least some students by March.

However, the union’s bargaining position starkly illustrates how difficult that could be to achieve. Notably, the proposal does not appear to include any return to in-person work as long as The City remains in the purple risk tier, where it currently sits.

District officials responded angrily to the lawsuit this week, calling it “frivolous” and a distraction from the work of reopening schools. They reject the claim that they do not have a plan in place, and said they need help from The City to fulfill testing and contact tracing requirements.

This is a developing story and will be updated with additional information

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