'Sign of hope': More than 30 San Francisco public schools set to reopen

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After more than a year of remote classes, more than 30 public schools are set to reopen in San Francisco on Monday.

For more than a year 8-year-old, Rishaans Sivaraj has been doing remote learning. Even though it's been difficult he says there's been some perks to it.

"It was kind of good because I got to stay in bed most of the time," said Sivaraj.

VIDEO: 8-year-old boy keeps video diary highlighting ups and downs of distance learning
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An 8-year-old has been keeping a video diary of how distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic is going. From internet problems, to missing making friends at recess, here's what he had to say.



Starting Monday, April 12, 33 San Francisco public preschools and elementary schools will be back to in-person classes.

Luz Pena: "What is something that you are looking forward to when it comes to going back to school?"

Rishaans Sivaraj: "Being in the classroom."

By the end of the month, SFUSD will likely have 107 school buildings reopened and an estimated 22,000 students back. According to Gabriela Lopez, the board president of San Francisco's Unified School District, every teacher who wanted to get vaccinated is now fully vaccinated.

But safety measures will continue to play a big role in this return.

"It actually starts at home. You'll be doing a short survey to check off any symptoms you might have or may not have. Go through a questionnaire to be sure your student feels completely ready and healthy to go to school," said Lopez.

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After more than a year of being away from the classroom, San Francisco public schools will begin reopening schools on Monday. It will be a staggering return starting with some of the youngest students.



In addition to the at home questionnaire, students will need to do a second health screening when they arrive at school.

Parents won't be allowed inside schools and lunches will be served outside or inside, depending on the school.

Luz Pena: "When will Middle school and high school students have that opportunity to come back to the classroom?"

Gabriela Lopez: "We have a set date for April 26th. That will be for a select group of middle and high school students to support those who have had limited engagement. Our foster youth, students who live in public housing or single-room occupancies."

It's a timeline that worries San Francisco parent Siva Raj. Raj is glad his 8-year-old will go back to in-person classes, but his high school age son won't be able to return until next school year.

"Totally concerned because if anything, he is the one who has struggled the most with distance learning and the longer he stays in distance learning, the worst it has gotten," said Raj.

This week, the school district is allowing high school sports to return. As to when all students will go back to in-person classes five days a week. San Francisco Unified School district says that won't happen until next school year starting August 16th.

"It really is a sign of hope to be able to open up our school buildings and we know that this is just the beginning," said Lopez.


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