UCSF doctor questions whether SFUSD's proposed COVID-19 protocol is 'medically warranted'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the San Francisco Board of Education considers additional pandemic restrictions, one UCSF doctor is calling out the district for proposing measures that are not medically warranted.

This week the San Francisco Board of Education held a special meeting to introduce a Roadmap to COVID Recovery in the SFUSD.

A proposed resolution includes: implementing air filtration and ventilation in classrooms, heightened testing and tracing protocols for staff and students, student cohort groups to minimize mixing, social distancing for unvaccinated students, reducing class sizes where possible and encouraging mask wearing on school grounds except when eating and providing high quality remote learning options.

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"Definitely not medically warranted," said UCSF doctor Jeanne Noble who is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of COVID Response for the UCSF Emergency Department.

The announcement prompted Dr. Noble to tweet, "There are less than 10 children hospitalized across UCSF's hospitals either with Covid or because of Covid. There is not a pediatric surge in the Bay Area. Yet, SFUSD is calling a special meeting on 8/31 to further tighten Covid protocols. Not medically warranted."

"I think it's really important as a health professional to try to keep us grounded in the data, in the science. When you have fewer than 10 kids hospitalized in a large region you don't have a surge," said Dr. Noble.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for SFUSD says the safety and wellbeing of SFUSD students, families and staff is the district's highest priority.
Writing in part, "SFUSD is complying with all of the public health protocols for schools as specifically outlined by the experts at the SF Department of Public Health (DPH)."

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Dr. Noble says she feels the district is going beyond what public health officials are recommending.

The public will have a chance to comment on the proposed resolution before the board votes on it.

Dr. Noble is hopeful educators won't get in the way of science.

"It is really time to embrace the expertise of public health officials and to not try to get out ahead of the science and put things into place that don't have data behind them because of fear," said Dr. Noble.

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