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San Francisco Health Network

Schools and Childcare Issues During COVID-19


Re-opening Schools


On Friday September 4, the DPH Schools Hub sent an email to all TK-12 schools (public, private, parochial) to provide an overview of school re-opening process.

In summary, all 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.


On August 20, 2020, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, San Francisco's Health Officer, issued a letter to School Administrators providing information on how San Francisco was planning to manage the waiver process to allow schools for TK - 6th grade to open for in-person learning while SF was on the county monitoring list.

On August 28, 2020, the State of California switched to a tiered system instead of a county monitoring list, and stated that schools can reopen for in‐person instruction if a county remains in the red tier or below for 14 days.

On September 1, 2020, the local Stay Safer at Home Order was revised. Section 5.a.2 of the revised Order states that once San Francisco has been in the red tier (or lower) for 14 consecutive days, "TK-12 schools and school districts may open for in-person instruction but only upon advance written approval of the Health Officer or the Health Officer's designee of a plan to open for such purposes." (Emphasis added)

TK-6 schools that have already submitted a waiver application.

  • If your school's waiver application has already been approved when San Francisco hits to 14-day benchmark, your approved waiver will constitute advance written approval of the Health Officer to reopen for in person instruction within the meaning of Section 5.a.2 of the Stay‐Safer‐at‐Home Order;
  • If your waiver application is still pending review, it will be treated as a plan for the Health Officer's approval as set forth in Section 5.a.2 of the Stay‐Safer‐at‐Home Order.
    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.

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.

More detailed information about the plan approval process will be available soon, and will be sent directly to all schools and school districts that have submitted an LOI. In the meantime, for planning purposes, please be advised that first priority will be given to elementary schools in September, with middle schools targeted to be able to reopen in October and high schools in November—depending on the COVID indicators and community transmission rates.


SFDPH Resources for Schools, Childcare, and Youth Programs:



Directives & Guidance for Schools, Childcare and Youth Programs




Resources and Health & Safety Plans (HSP)


Specialized Support Services

   2020-26 (September 4, 2020) *** NEW ***


HSP for 2020-26



Higher Education Programs

   2020-22b (September 1, 2020)


Guidance for Higher Education Programs

HSP for 2020-22



Out of School Time Programs

   2020-21b (September 1, 2020)


Guidance for Out of School Programs

HSP for 2020-21



This Preliminary Guidance for TK - 12 School reopening was updated on August 10, 2020

                         中文 | Pilipino | Español


Preliminary Guidance for Learning Pods was released on August 13, 2020.



Childcare Providers

   2020-14d(updated September 1, 2020)

Guidance for Childcare

  Updated translations for 2020-14d Guidance is forthcoming.

  Translations for the previous version of the guidance:   中文 | Pilipino | Español

HSP for 2020-14



Summer Camps

   2020-13b (updated June 5, 2020)

Guidance for Summer Camps

HSP for 2020-13

  中文 | العربية | Pilipino | Español | Tiếng Việt