SAN FRANCISCO—Private schools are making plans to reopen soon, but public schools from the San Francisco Unified School District might not be able to reopen until January.  The reason is due to a new waiver system that the city of San Francisco introduced last month as a plan to reopen in-person instruction at schools. According to the new system, schools must submit a waiver application to the city before being approved for in-person instruction.

Currently, seventy-five private schools and charter schools have submitted applications. Following approval, the city of San Francisco will send officials from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to inspect the classrooms for their preparedness. These inspections will ensure that a long list of required protective measures are in place before students will be allowed back in. If everything goes according to plan, the city’s goal is to open classrooms to students by early October, grade by grade. Elementary schools would start first, followed by fourth and fifth grade, and then eventually middle and high school students.

No schools from the San Francisco Unified School District have reported submitting applications, and are not expected to in the near future. Their approval for reopening would come much later, depending on how the state handles the coronavirus as a whole. 

Laura Dudnick, a spokesperson for the SFUSD announced in a statement “In order to reopen schools, SFUSD has several factors that need to be in place including having a testing plan, training staff, informing students and families of protocols, a minimum of three months supply of PPE for all participating staff and students and labor agreements.