SAN FRANCISCO—On Monday, September 21, private elementary schools began reopening for in-person learning. The city of San Francisco stated on its website “Enabling more children to return to their classrooms and to other in-person learning and development programs is among the City’s top priorities.” 

San Francisco schools in the region have offered social distance learning since the start of the pandemic. Youth with the highest needs have received education through the Community Hubs Initiative.  

The city of San Francisco is providing an online dashboard that reports the reopening status of schools throughout the city. The dashboard, updated daily at 9 a.m., reports a school’s progression in the reopening process, which was approved by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) September 4. The process has seven steps:

  1. Submit a letter of interest to SFDPH. 
  2. Complete an application with a safety and health plan that aligns with the Health Officer Directive. 
  3. Provide information about their facilities. 
  4. Undergo a desktop review of application. 
  5. Request a site assessment. 
  6. Undergo a site assessment. 
  7. Receive SFDPH approval. 

Schools that have reopened completed all tasks are shown in green and schools that have only submitted a letter of interest are show in yellow.

As of Wednesday, September 23, 83 parochial, private, and charter schools requested a waiver application, 43 had been completed, and 6 had been approved. 

“We are making sure that schools can reopen for in-person learning with strong safety guidelines. The standards and safety plans that schools implement will help mitigate risk for students and staff returning to in-person learning environments,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, a San Francisco Infectious Disease Specialist in a statement.

While some schools are attempting to reopen, the public schools in the San Francisco Unified School District expect to continue social distance learning throughout the quarter.