SAN FRANCISCO - For the first time in 17 months, students in the San Francisco Unified School District on Monday will return to fully reopened schools.
At Mission Bay Park in San Francisco, on the night before school starts, there was excitement and nerves.
"I’m excited for her that she will finally be able to meet all her classmates, teachers," said Miguel Chuel, a parent in San Francisco.
Fifty thousand students are headed back to the classroom. Per California Health guidelines, all teachers and staff in the San Francisco Unified School District must be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Masks are required.
There are precautions as the Delta variant pushes case rates up and worries over some children being too young to get the shot.
"The schools are much safer than environment than the community," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF infectious disease specialist. "If you think about the schools, it’s very controlled. For the most part, it’s not unregulated. It’s very different than taking your kid to the mall."
Chin-Hong said if there’s ever a safe time to send children to school it’s now. He points to high vaccination rates among adults and adolescents in San Francisco County. He said, unlike other parts of the country hospitalization rates among children are low.
"At UCSF, to tell you the truth, we haven’t really had any admissions of kids to the hospital in the last few days," said Chin-Hong.
"When my son had Covid we honestly didn't even know," said Monina Sen Cervone, a teacher and a parent in the San Francisco Unified School District.
Sen Cervone said her whole family had COVID in February including her 8-year-old son who showed no symptoms.
She is a teacher and a parent in the district with first day jitters.
Seven hundred students have opted for distance learning. Sen Cervone insists in-person is the way for her family to go.
"My understanding for what my students need which is education supersedes any kind of nervousness," said Sen Cervone.
Sen Cervone is more frustrated that some schools in the district will have different start times this year.
Starting Sunday, everyone 18 years old and younger is allowed to ride Muni for free for the next 12 months.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.