Dear SFUSD Community:
We know that this has been a year of great uncertainty and you have many questions about what the next school year will look like.
We want to let you know that we are committed to returning PK-12 students to in-person learning by the first day of the 2021-22 school year. In the coming months we will be moving forward with planning that adheres to public health directives and includes remote learning options for students who may need to study virtually.
As vaccination rates increase over the coming months and public health indicators suggest widespread vaccination will continue to significantly reduce the chance of death or hospitalization from COVID-19, we must move forward with our duty to provide in-person education, balancing all known risks and rights during our planning for the next school year.
We see health conditions improving and we will continue working with public health authorities, labor unions, educators, staff, families and other stakeholders to create an equitable and safe plan for reopening all our schools by next fall.
We appreciate all educators, staff, students, parents, and caregivers for their resiliency and all the effort that has gone into supporting distanced learning this past year. We also appreciate the many who are now executing a safe and gradual reopening for some of our PK-12 students this spring.
In-person learning remains the most effective form of whole-child learning for the majority of students because it allows them to explore ideas and dynamic social situations among their peers, teachers and friends.
Many students have been struggling during this pandemic, as the shutdown of schools has led a number of them to experience rising rates of mental health challenges, difficult learning environments, and economic barriers to education. The pandemic has disproportionately affected foster youth, homeless students, students English Learners, low-income, students with disabilities, Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous students.
As a city and school district, we need to prioritize safely returning our students back to in-person learning with the necessary set of resources for educational and social emotional support. We have historically depended on our schools as safe spaces to hold us during tough times, and now more than ever are fully understanding the importance of public school systems.
It is our priority to put the needs of our school communities first by moving forward with this commitment and we feel very encouraged knowing that we are approaching this reality in the coming school year.
Dr. Vincent Matthews, Superintendent, SFUSD Gabriela López, President of the SF Board of Education