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San Francisco Health Network

Schools and Childcare Issues During COVID-19


Re-opening Schools

Please see the Schools Reopening Dashboard to see the status of TK-12 schools for reopening.

Skip down the page for tips for TK-12 schools completing applications

Information on Higher Education Programs reopening may be found in the materials shown in the table below.

Overview for TK-12 Schools

TK-12 schools will have to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to SFDPH followed by an application/plan for Health Officer review and approval before re-opening for in-person instruction.


A school or school district that has a pending or approved waiver application does not need to submit a separate plan for the grades covered by the waiver application.


Schools and school districts that have not submitted a waiver application—and schools that want to resume in-person instruction for grades not covered by the waiver—will be required to submit a plan to the Health Officer for approval prior to reopening for in-person instruction.


The first step in that process is to submit an LOI to SFDPH. The LOI should be submitted to The letter should include:

  • contact name and email address to send waiver application form,
  • the number of schools involved,
  • name(s) of schools,
  • proposed grades to re-open,
  • number of children and staff involved per site,
  • and any requested dates for school re-opening, if already determined, in order to allow SFDPH to assess the risk associated with the school opening.

Submission of the letter of intent does not guarantee that the school will be able to open on the proposed date, which will be dependent on final approval of the plan.


TK-12 Application Tips

Tips for Completing Applications

The application is structured like a checklist, make sure that every item on the checklist is addressed in the application

  • In the section outdoor instruction, please describe how your school will consider the use of outdoor spaces for instruction, not just PE. Classes that are held outdoor are generally safer than indoor instruction and have a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission for students and teachers. If you are not going to consider outdoor instruction, please specify and explain the reasons why. 
  • Please specify the name of the private lab or the insurance provider of staff who will be tested for COVID-19
  • In the section on staff consultation, we need 2 pieces of documentation that demonstrate some degree of staff support for reopening in person. Examples can include letters of support, staff surveys demonstrating support. It is not enough to show that you have consulted with teachers, we need some evidence of staff support. 
  • In completing the section on ventilation, we encourage reviewing  this guidance on ventilation.
  • Make sure to include the social distancing protocol.
  • Regarding the community pledge, this is to be thought of as a pledge that families and students will practice safe covid-19 practices OUTSIDE of school. The idea is that safe COVID-19 practices elsewhere (such as wearing face coverings) will help to reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 into the school. 
  • Regarding the equity pledge, this is for schools to address their commitment to equity and fairness with the idea that we know that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations.

Tips for Onsite Reviews

  • Entry protocols—Ensure you are asking all individuals to perform hand hygiene, place floor markers at entrances, and post social distancing protocol at entrances
  • Staff lounges—Ensure proper signage is posted and layout promotes 6 ft of distancing.
  • Cohorting—Ensure all cohorting lists are complete prior to site visit, with students assigned to specific staff members.
  • Public spaces—Ensure that signs are posted limiting occupancy (based on 6ft of social distancing) in areas where students and staff congregate. Ensure that infection control signs are placed throughout the facility.

Tips on Facilities

  • Ensure that the building water system will be flushed within five days of reopening and that this is stated in the Google Form self-attestation that you submit.
  • Ensure that mechanical ventilation systems are set to maximize outside air intake, not to recirculate it, and are operated continuously despite weather conditions.
  • For rooms that rely on a passive ventilation system (windows and fans), ensure that your reopening plans have plans for poor weather/ bad air quality.


SFDPH Resources for Schools, Childcare, and Youth Programs:




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