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San Francisco schools, unions reach agreement over Covid protections

The unions of the San Francisco Unified School District reached an agreement with district officials Thursday night that protects the health and safety of educators, staff and students while keeping schools open during the Covid-19 crisis, according to one of the unions.

The agreement consists of the proposals made by the unions a week ago, according to Cassondra Curiel, president of United Educators of San Francisco. The proposals agreed upon guarantees N95, KN95 or KF94 masks for all students and workers along with guaranteed weekly testing at all school district locations, including each district school, for all students and employees who request it.

Curiel added that 10 days of supplemental paid sick leave has also been agreed to so that employees who test positive for Covid-19 or have symptoms can stay home.

The agreement is between the school district and the following unions: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21, San Francisco Building Trades Council, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, United Administrators of San Francisco Local 3 and United Educators of San Francisco.

Curiel said:

Educators and all school workers have been keeping our schools and communities safe in the midst of incredible challenges. … This agreement with SFUSD will provide the necessary testing, masks and COVID sick leave to provide for safe schools now. All of us want to be able to do our jobs so students can learn safely. Though we should have had this agreement a week ago, we are proud of the big step forward that was made tonight.”

Michael Essien, president of United Administrators of San Francisco, said:

UASF would like to thank all SFUSD unions who collectively negotiated for health and safety conditions. … We feel the agreement between the SFUSD unions and the district will allow us to continue serving the students and families of SFUSD. And I would like to thank the district negotiating team for their efforts. We are stronger together.”

SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews said:

We remain committed to putting into place the highest safety standards and protocols at every campus. … I’m grateful to our labor partners for their work in ensuring we can continue to support students where we know they learn and thrive best — in school. We are glad to be able to provide additional sick leave in recognition of our employees’ ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our school communities.”

Thursday night’s agreement affirms the district’s ongoing commitment to provide high quality face masks to students and staff who wish to use them and surgical grade masks for others, according to a district statement.

The district and the unions have an agreement through July 31, which is intended to keep all schools and district facilities open for safe, full in-person instruction at all grade levels.

This week, district officials have been working to reach agreement with its unions on health and safety terms. The district passed proposals to all the unions Tuesday and Wednesday before meeting at the bargaining table Thursday.

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