San Francisco teachers union lays out demands for resuming in-person instruction

The San Francisco teachers union and school district met on Friday to try and nail down an agreement on when and how to resume in-person instruction. 

Union leaders laid out the conditions for what needs to happen to get teachers back into classrooms, but there is still no timeline.

For 11 months San Francisco public school students have been distance learning. And the teachers union said bringing students back into classrooms all depends on where San Francisco ranks on the state's color-coded tier system. 

"Today we will be putting a proposal across the virtual bargaining table that will allow for a return to in-person instruction in the red tier if vaccines are made available to all staff who are working in school district buildings," said Susan Solomon, president of the United Educators of San Francisco. "Or a return to in-person instruction in the orange tier, even if vaccines are not available."

Union leaders said they sent details on that plan to the school board Thursday afternoon. The school board released a statement that read in part, "SFUSD is happy that we are getting closer to defining what conditions would need to be in place for our union representatives to feel comfortable returning to in-person learning... The district expects to provide a response to the union’s Feb. 4 proposal today in an effort to reach an agreement."

Union representatives said a deal may be close, but they are not offering a target date of when in-person classes should resume. 

"How far apart are the unions and the district? At this point we think we are not very far apart," said Solomon.

On Wednesday San Francisco filed a suit aimed at forcing the district and school board to get students back into classrooms. The city attorney's office released a statement about the latest details on negotiations that said, "We’re not going to inject ourselves into someone else’s collective bargaining negotiations... We urge the leadership of SFUSD and its unions to move with the urgency this crisis demands."

The mayor's office also released a statement saying distance learning is not good enough for the city's children and "Mayor Breed believes the school district needs a plan in place for when students can return to in-person learning, and we look forward to seeing the actual details of this proposal once it is available."