San Francisco Unified schools eager to reopen for in-person learning

San Francisco public leaders said they are committed to getting middle and high school students back inside classrooms by August. The news comes just as the district is preparing to see its youngest students return.

Elementary school students will be back in class on Monday and ahead of the big day, Superintendent Vincent Matthews provided insight on what that return to class will look like.

At Bryant Elementary School in the city's Mission District classrooms will look a bit different with more room between desks and clear partitions in place. The majority of public elementary schools around the city will have similar setups.

"Bryant is one of 22 elementary schools here in the San Francisco Unified School District that will reopen their doors to students for in-person learning on Monday," Matthews said.

The school district said it is working hard to bring back more elementary students throughout April and hopes to have 107 schools reopen for in-person instruction by the end of the month.

Bryant Elementary's principal Laura Codicetti said the differences students will see will go beyond the classroom.

"I know that we are going to have extra procedures in place and protocols, but we don't have any doubts that our schools are ready to open in a safe, caring, and loving way," Codicetti said.

The district also has COVID testing contracts in place and students will eat in their classroom rather than the cafeteria.

Superintendent Matthews said the district is also working to bring back middle and high school students with special needs over the next month. But, the majority will have to wait until next school year.

"We're bringing back the focal populations of middle and high school students," said Matthews. "But, the large majority will not be returning until August 16th."

As for the current school year, the district said it knows that the overwhelming majority of middle and high schoolers, along with many elementary students, won't get to return to class anytime soon. The district said it is committed to making distance learning as engaging as possible.