SF Mayor London Breed says students won't likely return to classrooms this year

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she doesn't believe public schools will reopen this year, even as she pushes for a return to in-person learning.

She also announced the city will begin administering vaccines to teachers on Feb. 24.

Again, Breed said that reopening public schools needs to be a priority and she reiterated her support for the city's lawsuit against the school district and school board that is aimed at getting kids back in class for in-person learning. 

San Francisco public schools have sat empty for 11 months, and 56,000 students have been learning remotely. And Breed said she doesn't see a current path to have kids back in the classroom before the end of this school year. 

"Definitely not this school year," said Breed.

San Francisco's city attorney said he's looking for a concrete plan and details on how reopening will look. The mayor asked the same questions. 

"Ultimately all the details, they don't matter if kids aren't back in school. I think that's the most important part. What is the first day that we can expect to see a kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third-grade kids return to school," Breed said. "I think that's an important piece of what's missing here."

City officials said teachers will be included in the next group for vaccinations, a critical factor should public schools should open while the city is in the red tier. 

"San Francisco will move to Phase 1B, Tier 1, and eligible people in that group include our education and childcare workers, our emergency services workers including our police officers," Breed said.

San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said the city can vaccinate as many as 10,000 people per day, including teachers and school staff. But, the city continues to be at the mercy of vaccine arriving in the city in large enough quantities. 

"We hope the supply increases," Colfax said. "We hope that it increases dramatically in the next few weeks, especially so that we can vaccinate those 1B essential workers, along with the remainder of the people 65 and over who continue to get vaccinated."

The mayor and public health director also argued that educators can go back safely, saying that 113 private and parochial schools have shown that it can be done. 

"When we reach Phase 1B when teachers are eligible for vaccine, we want to make sure that we vaccinate teachers as quickly as possible," Colfax said. "Bottom line is we need more supply of vaccine to make that possible."

The school district released a statement that read in part, "Bringing students back to school in a large public school district is very complex and requires partnership...We are eager for the City to make vaccines available to our staff who will be on-site and to bring their resources to support the major new state requirements around both staff and student surveillance testing."