Keeping our schools open and our children safe.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
See these slides in other languages:
For more information and to stay up to date on progress, follow me on my blog, SF Public School Mom: