The Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution was approved this past Tuesday, October 26, 2021.
As was stated on the Boarddocs website:
“The stated purpose of the Resolution is to require our district to share a plan to ensure each and every school has the necessary safety measures in place for students to access in-person learning during the COVID pandemic; and to empower our district to articulate needed resources, staffing, or supports from city and state agencies, and community partners to ensure proper safety measures are implemented with a state of urgency and with minimal political red tape.”
Board President Lopez and I originally introduced the resolution for First Reading during the August 31, 2021, Special Meeting. (I originally wrote about it in this Medium post.) After listening to robust dialogue with colleagues on the Board, in the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, and in the Budget and Business Services Committee, it can back before the Board this past Tuesday, October 26, 2021, and was approved!
Shoutout to all the families and educators who made their voices heard in emails to the Board and city leaders to ensure our district and city leaders are taking the necessary steps to keep our kids, staff, and families safe!
Before returning for 2nd Reading and review, President Lopez and I worked with Superintendent Dr. Matthews to incorporate input from staff, fellow commissioners, and the public. Additionally, we incorporated changes in health guidance that have occurred since it was originally introduced.
Most notably, On October 1, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to make California the first state “to require student vaccinations — adding the COVID-19 vaccine to list of vaccinations required for school, such as the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella
Students will be required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7–12 and K-6).”
The FDA recently made a recommendation that the CDC authorize approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children 5 to 11. The CDC is anticipated to approve the vaccine for emergency use as soon as the first week of November. This mandate will take effect the semester after the full approval of the vaccine by the CDC later this or next year. (Keep track of the latest on COVID-19 vaccine approvals by visiting the GoodRX website.)
Reaffirming our commitments to safety and transparency.
Safety and a clear plan (aka: roadmap) for recovery
The Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution articulates our commitment to ensuring health and safety protocols are in place at each and every school. It also commits district staff to “work toward the opportunity to mandate for full vaccination of District staff.”
The focus of the resolution is on requesting that the Superintendent draft plans to assess current capacity and what is needed from City, State, and community partners:
— To provide heightened testing and tracing protocols for staff and students;
—To provide support for schools that wish to increase the use of outdoor space for instruction and eating when it is feasible. This support may include: procuring tents, increased custodial and lunch monitor staffing;
—To provide a full-time staff member to serve as a district liaison for our most vulnerable youth and families, including those living in SRO’s and low-income supportive housing. We will finally be creating a mechanism to partner with families that are often overlooked.
Additionally, the resolution directs staff to do the following:
— Work in collaboration with official district parent advisory bodies and labor partners and with the San Francisco Health Department to establish a clear and anonymous complaint system for students, families, and staff for reporting non-compliance
—Develop a public assessment for “providing high-quality remote learning options for all families who desire it with no penalties for enrollment in online learning (students won’t lose enrollment in their previously assigned schools)
A fiscally responsible approach requires a roadmap
During the meeting, we discussed the potential impact of the resolution on the budget. As President Lopez and I stated multiple times during these discussions, the purpose of this resolution is to create clarity and transparency around district plans to support COVID safety and recovery.
Without plans, we have no way to monitor progress.
During the meeting, I shared an example of the way our Board approved roughly $4 million for ensuring all classrooms have ventilation. We made these approvals without a clear project plan for scope, timelines, or expenses. We had no way to monitor a project’s budget or progress. We made the decision to approve this expensive expenditure because we wanted to ensure Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) got to classrooms without delay during a time when there was poor air quality due to wildfire smoke. While I supported these decisions, it goes without saying, a piecemeal, last-minute approach is neither optimal nor was is it a fiscally responsible way to make decisions, especially during a budget crisis.
In the end, the majority of my colleagues agreed it was important for district staff to articulate goals related to ventilation, outdoor learning and lunches, testing and contact tracing, etc. in order to plan effectively in the future. It is also necessary if we are interested in leveraging necessary partnerships with city and community partners, and the philanthropic community.
How can our district ask anyone to invest in important initiatives if staff can’t produce a plan?
Filling gaps in SFUSD’s support network
One of my favorite parts of the Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution is the call on the Superintendent to work with city and community partners to staff a full-time position to support partnership and direct communication with Single Room Occupancies (SRO) and other unhoused families who rarely have a seat at the table.
SRO youth and families, foster and other unhoused communities, and families who live in supportive housing are often left out of important conversations at the district level. This is especially true when it comes to providing input on planning and implementation of support services like free-and-reduced lunches, technology assistance, and distance learning delivered in English.
I am excited that now we will be able to work with city and community partners to create a position that will help families hardest hit by the pandemic. This role will allow monolingual low-income immigrant families to partner and communicate directly with district leaders to design programs that best address the challenges they face in educating their children in our schools.
On my blog SFPSFam
Read more about my work to ensure our district is fulfilling its promise to keep schools safe and keep kids in school.
- Our advocacy for enhanced COVID-19 safety measures continues to pay off!
- Board Meeting Blogs — 9/28/21
- I Support Modified Quarantine, with Expanded Student Testing
- Speak Up! What you need to know about delta, ventilation, and safe school reopening.
Amended language for the Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution
The original language of the resolution (appearing on BoardDocs) was amended based on conversation during the meeting. The amended language appears below:
“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The SFUSD Board is committed to implementing policies and practices to ensure reasonable health and safety protocols are in place at each school in order to reduce student and staff exposure to COVID while maintaining in-person instruction for each and every student that wants it; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Board commits to work toward the opportunity and mandate for full vaccination of District staff while maintaining stringent safety protocols for all staff serving in SFUSD; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Board supports the Superintendent’s efforts to improve indoor air quality, increased access to COVID testing for staff and students, support for maximizing outdoor space where possible, and offer remote instruction when students cannot attend due to quarantine or other health issues; and Specifically, the Board of Education supports the Superintendent in working closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to follow state and local guidance; and air filtration and mechanical ventilation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Superintendent will draft a plan assessing current capacity and what is needed from City, State and community partners to provide heightened testing and tracing protocols for staff and students — including weekly testing and on-demand testing at every site, and daily COVID screenings for students; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: This plan will provide support for schools that have indicated readiness to increase the use of outdoor space for instruction and eating when it is feasible. This may include: procuring tents, increased custodial and lunch monitor staffing; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: A public assessment will be developed for providing high-quality remote learning options for all families who desire it with no penalties for enrollment in online learning (students won’t lose enrollment in their previously assigned schools); and
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The Superintendent will draft a plan assessing current capacity and what is needed from City, State, and community partners to provide schools with lunchtime, custodial, food nutrition, and security staff so there is the necessary support, supervision, and cleaning necessary to ensure all students are able to enjoy a healthy eating environment. Where possible, schools will be supported in utilizing outdoor spaces at the maximum capacity during meal times to create the safest eating experience possible with regard to COVID; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Superintendent will investigate additional funding sources and resources in collaboration and consultation with our labor partners to draft a plan outlining current capacity and what is needed from City, State, and community partners to enhance the capacity of schools to support contract tracing of close contacts to students and/or staff with a confirmed or presumed positive probable COVID-19 test result in schools. Possible funding sources will be presented for public review; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Superintendent will provide the Board and the public with regular written updates on the District’s progress toward these goals; and
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The Superintendent will draft a plan assessing current capacity and what is needed from City, State, and community partners to assign a specific staff person to serve as a liaison between the district and community-based organizations (CBO) and city agencies that provide housing for monolingual, immigrant, and low-income communities and foster and unhoused youth. This liaison will work with CBOs, agencies, and the families they serve to develop a comprehensive communication and engagement plan to ensure regular, two-way communication between families and central staff to address concerns and impacts of policy implementation in SFUSD, including but not limited to translation/interpretation access, health measures, online learning, and student safety; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The SFUSD Board of Education take, enact and make public a strong stance for ensuring a minimum level of SEL support for students, staff, and families in response to the shared trauma of the compounded experiences of shelter-in-place, racial unrest, and environment uncertainty these past two years as we come back to in-person learning (i.e. mental health and wellness counselors, community school coordinators, etc.); and
FINALLY, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Superintendent will work in collaboration with official district parent advisory bodies and labor partners and with the San Francisco Health Department to establish a clear and anonymous complaint system for students, families, and staff for reporting non-compliance with said measures.