Advocacy Happy & Healthy Parent Voice

As Omicron ramps up, getting tested shouldn’t be this hard.

[The following is a Twitter thread I posted earlier this morning.]

Yesterday, Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews sent out a message to staff and families. As a result, SFUSD community members are asking questions about what the District and City are doing to protect students, staff, and their families during the current Omicron surge.

First, let me provide a little context. This week, the nationwide seven-day average of daily reported new cases exceeded 300,000, and experts acknowledge the Bay Area is also a part of the surge. Via the NY Times

As of today’s reporting via the New York Times “The U.S. set a one-day record of nearly half a million cases, a staggering figure, although hospitalizations are not rising as fast.”

We must also consider the fact that holiday travel has returned to near pre-pandemic levels and with minimal restrictions domestically. This means that we may expect an increase after the holiday weekend.

Via the LA Times: “The Omicron variant is very contagious, and we now know that anyone, regardless of vaccination status, can spread this variant to other people,”… “We anticipate the case rate and hospitalization numbers to increase over the coming weeks.”

I am grateful to families who have been consistent advocates for safety in our schools. I am also deeply grateful to the tireless work of our UESF educators and other staff who have ensured our schools have been some of the safest in the nation.

As a part of this advocacy from families and educators, we were able to ensure that all classrooms are equipped with air purification systems with HEPA filtration. Thank you!!!

We also successfully passed a Roadmap to COVID Recovery resolution which outlines steps SFUSD can take to enhance safety measures during this surge and other potential surges in the future. This will help keep schools open and keep kids in school.

The resolution calls for heightened testing and tracing protocols. Unfortunately, I am hearing some families are getting turned away from City testing sites.

As far as I can tell from the SFUSD website, there is ONE SFUSD site available on January 2nd, the day before the 1st day of the spring semester. The following day there are roughly 2 hr windows for testing at FIVE (of over one-hundred) sites in SFUSD. There are over 52K students in SFUSD.

There are also 2-4 mobile sites per day offering 2-3 hour windows of testing for students.

I have to say that having varying dates, times and locations is confusing for families who already have to manage scheduling logistics. This is especially so for parents of multiples, those who are not comfortable navigating websites or who have limited transportation.

Parents are reasonably confused that testing is optional and not easily accessible in SFUSD when we hear reports that other districts are making testing mandatory and making tests available via mail or at their school sites.

The Roadmap to COVID Recovery resolution calls for continued partnership between City and District leaders to expand testing availability for students and their families.

Testing schedules should be easy to understand. No family should be turned away based on the lack of tests. If we want to make testing accessible to working families, testing must also be available outside of a 2-3 hour window and after 5 p.m.

I have made requests of staff to get answers to these and other questions before the start of school on Monday. I encourage interested families to email ALL Commissioners directly so we can ensure YOUR questions get answered.

I still have other outstanding questions, which I will share in subsequent threads. But for now, I must take care of my kids. Please continue to make your voice heard, and thank you for your commitment to SFUSD public schools.

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