After months of silent hallways and screen-based learning, student voices can be heard again at Catholic schools in San Francisco.

Since Sept. 21, San Francisco has approved applications from 28 private schools to reopen on-campus classes, including four Catholic schools.

At St. Vincent de Paul School, where in-person classes began Sept. 28, teachers were glad “to have live, cute adorable children in the classroom,” principal Marguerite Pini said. “It’s so hard to teach to an empty classroom and screen. They were ecstatic to have kids in the building and the kids were thrilled.”

In-person attendance is currently limited to students in grades K-2. The school will continue adding grades every two weeks, and hopes to welcome students from eighth grade to in-person classes by the first week of November.

In order to lower the number of students in the building, each grade is divided into two cohorts that attend in-person classes on different days of the week. One cohort will be on campus Mondays and Tuesdays, while the other will go Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday is a distance-learning day for all students, and the school continues to provide full-time distance learning to families who opted out of in-person attendance….

In order to re-open in San Francisco, private schools must submit a safety plan to the city, undergo two reviews and pass a site inspection. Schools need to meet state as well as local safety standards for reopening.

As of Oct. 5, San Francisco had approved re-opening plans from Convent & Stuart Hall, St. Anne, St. Finn Barr and St. Vincent de Paul. Twenty-eight applications for K-8 on-campus learning at private schools have been approved by the city in total, and 68 schools have completed applications. High schools cannot open at this time. San Francisco Unified School District has not released a timetable for reopening.

On Sept. 22, California’s public health officials moved San Mateo County to the red tier, the state’s second tier for reopening. If the county stays in that tier for two weeks, schools may apply to incrementally reopen their campus to students. In their application, schools must present their Covid-19 staff testing plan and their plans for hygiene, physical distancing, face coverings and gatherings.

In Marin County, some schools received approval to reopen as early as Sept. 9. On Sept. 15, the county moved into the red tier, which allowed for greater freedom in reopening. At press time, the county has approved six Catholic schools’ plans for campus-based classes….


The above comes from an Oct. 5 story in Catholic San Francisco.