Today the unions of SFUSD came prepared to bargain with three straightforward asks – access to high quality (N95/KN95/KN94) masks for all school staff and students; weekly testing for all staff and students; and an extension of the current sick leave for Covid. These measures are necessary to protect staff and students and should have easily been finalized today. Unfortunately, the school district’s lack of urgency to develop a plan for handling the latest surge of COVID-19 continued today at the bargaining table.
The District trying to cut the COVID sick leave from 10 to 5 days and then taking a week to run the numbers is unacceptable. We also had to hold the line to include students in mask distribution because SFUSD proposed only to give upgraded masks to staff. Finally, we continued to advocate for testing to be available to students at their school site.
We offered to stay at the table as long as it takes multiple times throughout the day because we know this health and safety agreement is crucial in combating the spread, keeping everyone safe, and our schools operating. According to data collected by the District, over the first three days after winter break, the number of daily cases reported by SFUSD students and staff increased more than 13 times, from 9 cases reported on Monday, January 3 to 122 cases on Wednesday, January 5. We expect the District and City to treat this like the crisis that it is and provide the most basic mitigation strategies.
The Unions are willing to work tirelessly to reach an agreement on health and safety so our schools operate safely during this pandemic. Students and staff deserve to see the urgency from all of us that this surge is demanding. We urge everyone to contact District management and tell them to come back to the table now and get this agreement done! You can read our full press release here.