San Francisco Unified prepares to welcome back first wave of students

The San Francisco Unified School District will welcome some of its youngest students back to the classroom Monday.

It's welcome news for some parents who have dealt with more than a year of distanced learning.

"Getting schools to open next week is a huge win and an accomplishment," said Clifford Yee, the father of a first-grade student. He's also on the leadership team for the parent initiative Decreasing the Distance.

The group has primarily been responsible for Zoom-in protest, urging the school district to allow students back in the classroom.

"There was a challenge in communication and transparency around getting the word out and what's going on," he said.

According to the district's plan, 22 schools will partially reopen to TK to second-grade students.

Bryant Elementary is one of them.

"I know that we are going to have extra procedures in place and protocols but we don't have any doubts that our schools are ready to open in a safe and loving and caring way," said principal Laura Codicetti.

Classrooms will practice social distancing, be capped at 22 students, and be the new location for students to each lunch. Students will also notice clear partitions.

"We're really excited that students are going back to the classroom and I think there is still a lot that needs to be done," said Yee. "And I think that they will figure it out."

Other schools will begin reopening next Monday. The district has a list of what schools will reopen on its website.

By April 26, all elementary school students will offer in-person instruction. Some schools will offer up to five nearly full days of instruction or a hybrid model.

Yee hopes the district will use this time to prepare for a full return in the fall.

"What can we learn in the next couple of weeks?" Yee asked. "Where can we continue to work with partners and hold our elected officials accountable that has a clear plan, that's transparent and moves our district forward?"

Middle and high school students likely won't have the option to return to school until the fall. Students will have the option to stay in distance learning.