SF Unified classes not interrupted despite 874 sick calls in 1 day from teachers, paraeducators

The call to action was made because many educators feel the district has failed to protect them during the latest COVID surge.

Lyanne Melendez Image
Friday, January 7, 2022
Classes in SF not interrupted despite 874 sick calls in 1 day
Nearly 900 teachers and paraeducators in San Francisco public schools called out sick Thursday, in what might have been a planned sickout.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's day four since classes resumed in San Francisco public schools, and Thursday, nearly 900 teachers and paraeducators called out sick, an sharp increase from Wednesday's numbers.

This may have been due to a planned sickout organized for today by a group of teachers. Still, classes were not interrupted.

RELATED: Bay Area school districts ramp up COVID testing as sites get overwhelmed before classes resume

Thursday morning, ABC7 News checked three San Francisco schools to see the impact the proposed teacher sickout may have had. Sherman Elementary, Galileo Academy and Marina Middle School -- none of them had teachers skip school. The call to action was organized because many feel the district has failed to protect them during this latest coronavirus surge.

ABC7 news obtained an email sent last night to parents from the principal of Sunset Elementary stating, "While this may be happening in some schools, I don't anticipate that Sunset will be impacted by the sickout and I feel confident that we'll be able to have school as usual."

Those who expected to call out sick in protest, were supposed to meet in front of district headquarters at noon, but only a few did.

"I think people are also worried that they will have some sort of repercussion for calling in sick and showing up at a rally. Some people just want to be safe. It is a surge that we're concerned about," teacher Katrina Cubilo-Sicairos said.

VIDEO: San Francisco Standard reporter discusses impact of SFUSD budget vote

SF Standard reporter Sarah Wright says the SFUSD board voted in favor of a staff budget proposal that cuts to cover a projected $125 million deficit.

Teachers are asking that they get paid sick leave if they contract COVID. They are also demanding more consistent testing and N95s for all students.

Andrew Casteel, a parent, showed up to support his son's teacher.

"We need to have N95s and it seems the response from the district is, omicron is not as bad, so people are just going to get it, which is not acceptable," insisted Casteel.

Special Education Teacher Heidi Seretan came to the school district to pick up some test kits because none of them have been delivered to her site.

"We're on the list to have distribution, however, we don't have them yet and we want to make sure that we have something just in case students are symptomatic or staff are symptomatic," explained Seretan.

RELATED: CDC: Testing students who were exposed to COVID an option over home quarantine

Across the bay, in Oakland, some teachers there are hoping their sickout planned for Friday will have an impact.

Kindergarten teacher Olivia Udovic decided against calling in sick.

"Very few elementary schools have chosen to participate because we know how hard that is on parents, but my own children are middle schoolers and high schoolers and I will be keeping them home tomorrow, they'll be staying home alone because I'll be at work, in solidarity with the teachers that their schools that will be walking out," added Udovic.