Reopening schools: How San Francisco parents are pushing to start in-person learning

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Parents in San Francisco are bringing their children outside to send a message to the school district.

An outdoor lesson was planned for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, and it’s not just for the kids.

Students sat in the Midtown Terrace Playground Picnic Area for their online schooling and show how difficult it has been while schools are closed.

Parents say their kids are suffering socially and academically — crying and begging to go back to school.

“They’re desperate to get back to school and they’re desperate for the grown-ups to figure out a way to make that happen safely,” parent Viviane Safrin said. “And so we wanted to bring them to an environment where they could be with their friends.”

It’s been nearly a year since kids left their classrooms due to the pandemic.

Some San Francisco parents put together a grassroots effort with an organization called Decreasing the Distance. The group is urging the school board to safely reopen.

Safrin, a Clarendon Elementary School parent said, “no matter how many meetings I’ve listened to, I can’t make it better for them on my own.”

Parents want to know why other major cities such as Chicago and New York City have figured out how to safely do in person learning while the San Francisco Unified School District has not.

The school district and board of education recently shared an update saying six school sites have been inspected and are ready for in person learning.

These six schools are apart of Wave One in elementary schools reopening, and now the district is preparing more school sites to be meet all health and safety guidelines.

A tenative agreement between the district and teacher’s union is expected to be ratified by the board on February 23 – until then the union is sitting at the bargaining table everyday.

The board president says they are asking the city for support in prioritizing school staff for vaccines as well as testing for students and staff every two weeks.

Mayor London Breed says we should know by now a date for the kids to go back to schools and the city is willing to help in anyway possible to make it happen.

The mayor even putting stats out on why this is crucial, saying almost 1,000 San Francisco students have missed over 60 percent of their classes.

Seventy percent of those students are from low-income families, three quarters of them are Black and/or Latino.

One of the moms involved says the kids will respect the online classroom, but will still demonstrate what their challenges are.

Parents say this is not an attack on teachers, they just want their kids back in the classroom as soon as possible.

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