State Watch

San Francisco files emergency order to reopen public schools

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ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
Chairs, desk and other school furniture is stacked outside a classroom at a public elementary school in Glendale, California just north of Los Angeles, August 17, 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

San Francisco on Thursday filed an emergency court order calling for public schools within the city to reopen for in-person instruction despite surging coronavirus cases.

In the order, the city criticized the school district for keeping schools closed during the coronavirus pandemic. It alleged that the closures violated students’ constitutional rights and called the move “unconscionable and unlawful.”

The emergency order comes just a week after the city filed a lawsuit against the school district.

“The Board of Education and the school district have had more than 10 months to roll out a concrete plan to get these kids back in school. So far they have earned an F. Having a plan to make a plan doesn’t cut it,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said at the time, according to CNN.

Many officials as well as teachers unions have pushed back on reopening schools, citing health and safety concerns.

Earlier this week, a teachers union agreed that it would support resuming in-person teaching in the event that the city meets reopening criteria or vaccinates all school staff. San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) said that under those requirements it is unlikely that schools will reopen this year, CNN reported.

“We wholeheartedly agree that students are better served with in-person learning,” the school district said in a statement to CNN. “This is a frivolous lawsuit and is taking resources away from the reopening process. We have called on the City to make vaccines available and to support staff and student surveillance testing. These calls have not been answered but are exactly what we need to move this process forward.”

The issue is set to go to court on March 22. 

San Francisco County has seen nearly 32,695 coronavirus cases and 351 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Almost 134,921 vaccines have been administered, according to the L.A. Times

Tags California Coronavirus schools

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