Keeping our schools open and our children safe.

Ali M Collins
5 min readSep 3, 2021

A Roadmap to COVID Recovery for SFUSD

As you may have heard, the Board of Education recently approved a roughly $3 million request to purchase portable air cleaners in an effort to address classroom air quality. This is especially important in that it demonstrates what happens when we all get aligned and work together to address a problem facing our schools.

This is also an excellent continuation of my advocacy since last year for a focus on indoor air quality and other safety measures. (You can hear my proposal for enhanced ventilation and a request for plans for outdoor learning at 3:51:04.)

In the December 8, 2020 Board Meeting, I requested the district share plans to provide temporary mechanical ventilation for all classrooms and propose plans for outdoor learning.

The time, effort, and teamwork that went into this shows it takes more than one board member or any one individual advocating to get things done. I’m grateful to SFUSD staff for their tireless efforts to get us back into school buildings. And their responsiveness to the community. Most of all, I’d like to thank all the parents who reached out to share their concerns and advocate for all our kids.

As we know, there has been a lot of intense pressure to balance the needs of getting kids back to school while also ensuring adequate safety measures for our entire community. At many times it has been difficult to hold all of this at once.

I’m glad our kids are back in school, and now we will be getting air purifiers to classrooms. There are also other measures we must focus on and continue to prioritize so we can remain in school and ensure recovery.

Image of Swiss cheese layers between green COVID virus balls on the left and a person on the right. The layers of cheese are categorized as Personal responsibilities on the left to Shared resposibilities on the right and are labeled things like “physical distance” and “ventilation” and “vaccines” COVID virus looks like it is trying to get through the layers to the person on the right through the holes in the cheese and is gradually being blocked by the layers.

At many times this past year, the day-to-day has felt like an unending game of whack-a-mole. Now it’s time to move from coping with a crisis to managing our way through it.

The delta variant reminds us we are not out of the woods yet. Implementation of this particular aspect of our Covid safety plans is just one part of a larger whole.

While families and educators are excited to return to in-person learning, President Lopez and I have received many inquiries from families questioning why safety measures have been reduced since spring 2021. For example, while students are required to wear masks indoors there is no longer social distancing, cohorts, nor weekly COVID testing at all of our schools. This caused many families to reach out with questions and concerns for the safety of their children and especially those who are under twelve and unable to be vaccinated. There are also questions about air quality during wildfire season and concerns about access to online learning programs. All of this becomes even more concerning with a Delta variant surge or any other potential new challenges.

What parents are asking for and what parents need is a comprehensive written overview and roadmap that describes key action steps related to the following: 1. indoor air quality; 2. increased access to COVID testing for students (which will allow SFUSD to implement Modified Quarantine); 3. support for maximizing outdoor space, and; 4. clear expectations and supports for instruction when students cannot attend due to quarantine or other health issues.

We know there are a lot of things being worked on within these categories and others. What I’m hearing is there are also some needs yet to be met. This is especially important for low-income communities of color and especially those who speak languages other than English who have been impacted by economic hardship and heightened vulnerability to anti-Asian violence.

This past Tuesday, August 31, 2021, President Lopez and I introduced a Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution. You can see our discussion beginning at 26:05.

In the August 31, 21 Special Meeting, I shared my interest in working with families to ensure their feedback was included in district safety plans.

It was adopted for First Reading and referred to the Curriculum Committee for discussion. The intent of this resolution is to support students and families by heightening the focus, continuing the collaboration, and specifying urgent action items along with budgets and timeframes.

In the interest of transparency and clarity, I created a set of slides summarizing the resolution. Click the links to view a copy of slides in English, Spanish, or written Chinese.

I look forward to hearing more feedback and input from the community in the coming weeks so that together we can create a roadmap to ensure each and every child in SFUSD has the learning environment they deserve.

These slides to summarize key aspects of the proposed Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution



Ali M Collins

mom of twins. education nerd. public school warrior. reformed cat-lady. amateur urbanist. social justice addict. BLERD. & most recently Board of Ed Commissioner