SFUSD multilingual town halls

by Daphne Young

In preparation for the beginning of the school year, 2021-22, the San Francisco Unified School District is hosting a series of multilingual town hall information sessions for families and teachers. 

On Aug. 16, 2021, SFUSD is preparing to return to in-person learning, five days a week. So now, SFUSD has teamed up with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to help inform students, parents and staff about the health and safety protocols that will need to be in place, per state and county guidelines.

UCSF CARES Taskforce members and SFUSD leaders are inviting families with students who attend SFUSD schools to tune in to one of the multilingual town hall sessions being planned for July 6, 7 or 8. The events will be available via Zoom, or families can watch the district’s livestream on the SF Unified Facebook page.

The goal is for families and educators to learn more about health and safety information as it relates to 1) safety protocols, 2) state and county guidelines and 3) the science behind COVID-19 transmissions. The UCSF CARES Taskforce will also take questions during the multilingual town hall sessions.

“We are looking forward to welcoming all students back in the fall and appreciate the support from UCSF to ensure our families and staff are ready for a safe return,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “It takes a village, and I’m grateful for this partnership with local health leaders so our SFUSD community can receive the best possible guidance and information as we navigate through this pandemic.”

Dr. Matthews also noted that many of the guidelines for SFUSD K-12 schools are still pending. 

Specifically, SFUSD plans to share up-to-date information about plans and health information with families, and specifically those who identify as African American, Latinx, Asian, Samoan and Pacific Islander.

So, in addition to the town halls that are being planned for the broader community, the UCSF CARES Task Force will consult with SFUSD senior leaders and the community to help engage with community-based organizations that are partnering with the district. Specifically, SFUSD plans to share up-to-date information about plans and health information with families, and specifically those who identify as African American, Latinx, Asian, Samoan and Pacific Islander.

The UCSF CARES Task Force and SFUSD also plan to align their work with the guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).

“This past year has been challenging for all children and their families,” said Lee Atkninson-McEvoy, MD, pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “We are pleased to partner with SFUSD to hear from parents and community groups on how best to help families feel confident as they return to school full-time this fall,” said Dr. Atkninson-McEvoy.

SF Board of Education Commissioner Jenny Lam added, “We are excited to team up with the UCSF CARES Task Force as we welcome students back in the next school year. UCSF is an important partner in providing necessary information about health protocol and guidelines, and the latest COVID-19 developments to families as we work toward fully reopening PK-12 schools,” said Lam. “The most important part of this process is ensuring that we keep families well-informed of our district’s plans and health guidelines, so that our students’ education and safety take priority.”

Next week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – SFUSD leaders and UCSF health experts invite families and educators to tune into the upcoming Town Hall Sessions as they share health and safety information and answer questions, in multiple languages, about COVID-19 prevention and the reopening of SFUSD schools in the fall.

All of the town hall sessions will be available in multiple languages, with additional interpretation available upon request. You can click on the Zoom links (below) or watch the livestream on the SF Unified Facebook page. And, for more information, visit the San Francisco Unified School District website, at www.sfusd.edu.

  • Tuesday, July 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m.: ENGLISH with interpretation if requested. PLEASE RSVP by July 2 – Zoom link.
  • Wednesday, July 7, 5:30-7:00 p.m.: SPANISH with English interpretation – Zoom link.
  • Thursday, July 8, 5:30-7:00 p.m.: CANTONESE with English interpretation – Zoom link.

Daphne Young is the new Education Reporter at the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. The Chicago native began her journalism career as an intern at the Chicago Daily Defender, once the largest Black newspaper in the country. Since then, she’s covered breaking news, crime, politics, education, entertainment and sports at several radio and TV stations around the country: WBBM-AM, WSB-AM, WBGO, WIOD, WSFA-TV, KERO-TV3, KESQ-TV3, KDWN and iHeart Radio SF. Daphne is also a contributing producer for the environmental podcast Climate One. Daphne and her family live in the Bay Area. Contact her at education@sfbayview.com