San Francisco students returned to classrooms, 'the safest place for children'

Almost all San Francisco public school students are back in the classroom after a challenging academic year. Despite the recent surge with the delta variant, health experts told KTVU that schools are still the safest place for kids.

There were lots of smiles at Peabody Elementary school for pick up after school. Students said they were happy to be back in class. "It's fun because my best friend hasn't been in the class with me for the whole time I've been at the school and now he finally is, which is super exciting," said 3rd grader Timothy.

More than 50,000 students in the San Francisco school district went back for in-person instruction. Parents said they were happy with the return of a school routine. 

"We were not worried at all, we were super excited to have the kids back in school, and Peabody has done a fantastic job of keeping the parents informed and making sure that everybody is safe and couldn't be more pleased to have them back in the classroom," said Stacey Grimsrud.

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Vincent Matthews was on hand at George Washington Elementary school to welcome the students back for the first day of class. The superintendent said school is where kids belong. "We know the best place for students is in person, we know the impacts that isolation has had on our students," said Dr. Matthews.

SEE ALSO: Oakland's first day back to school had in-person learning and masks

Dr. Peter Chin Hong from UCSF agreed that schools are the safest place for students. He said the recent surge of the delta variant is showing signs of slowing, and that that as of Monday, there were only two juvenile cases of COVID in the city's hospitals, both of whom live outside the city. 

"For me, the main reason why we're seeing such low rates of kids being hospitalized is because of high vaccination rates of the people in the kids' lives," said Dr. Chin-Hong.

Some parents said they are optimistic about this return to in-person instruction, but want to proceed with caution. "I just hope that the teachers and everybody stick to the plan we have to stay safe and that we just go accordingly. It's a day-by-day thing, but I'm open to her being here," said Tyrina Lang.

As we have seen with schools around the Bay Area, students are required to wear masks, and educators will have to disclose their vaccination status or undergo regular COVID testing.