Schools in San Francisco shut in March of 2020, and at the time, officials announced a three-week closure. Nearly 10 months later, the city has not set an official date for reopening them. As of December, the school district and unions couldn’t come to an agreement about what safety measures would be sufficient for reopening. Distance learning has been difficult for students, parents and teachers.
Parents applauded the San Francisco school board’s recent move to cut ties with the San Francisco Police Department in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that have highlighted racial bias in policing. The Board of Education voted on June 23 to overhaul the San Francisco Unified School District’s relationship with police. The decision means that from now on, police can enter San Francisco’s public schools only in emergencies, such as in active shooter cases. Advocates, parents and former teachers say that school resource officers – as police designated to work with schools are known — are often called by staff and parents in situations that don’t warrant police intervention, such as for schoolyard fights or to discipline misbehaving students. This often escalates already tense situations and leads to disproportionate disciplining of Black, Latinx and other minority students, critics say.
The San Francisco Unified School District has announced that fall classes will begin on Aug. 17, and administrators are in the process of planning how campuses will function as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. They are challenged with figuring out how to keep students safe and make classes engaging whether they are held remotely or in modified classroom settings. We heard directly from students about what life has been like for them under the shelter-in-place order.
Instead of celebrating milestones as they prepare to enter what a few months ago was the best job market in half a century, college students throughout the Bay Area are worrying about their futures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic wave of unemployment it has unleashed.
The San Francisco school district’s Stay Over Program has played a major role in sheltering homeless students and their families and helping them move to more stable situations since the shelter-in-place rules were implemented. Service providers worry they may be joined in a few months by many more newly homeless students as job losses mount and more families get evicted.
The president of the San Francisco Unified School District board plans to propose next week that the district offer at least one of its campuses as one of the city’s first-ever approved tent camps for homeless people.
Teachers in San Francisco have begun pledging their federal coronavirus relief checks to undocumented members of their communities.
San Francisco State University students say they still don’t have clear guidance from the administration about whether they must leave university housing and take all of their belongings with them because of the coronavirus pandemic and statewide shelter-in-place order. With continued uncertainty, more students who had planned to keep their campus housing say they have changed course again and are heading home or to other locations for the rest of the spring semester. Over email, the university housing department confirmed that, “on a prorated basis, refunds for room and board and meal plans will be provided for residential students who have left housing.”
San Francisco plans to close all public schools for three weeks as a containment measure against the coronavirus pandemic, according to Mark Sanchez, president of the San Francisco Unified School District board.
Students at San Francisco State University are grappling with conflicting directions from campus administrators about student housing during the coronavirus outbreak.