The San Francisco Unified School District has warned parents that it may not have enough substitutes to cover in-person classes for nearly 300 teachers who have received medical exemptions to keep working remotely.
The message to parents last week fell on the same day the district welcomed back preschool through third-grade students at 22 of the city’s 64 elementary schools. It was the first day of in-person learning for San Francisco students since March 2020, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down the state because of the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic.
But despite the return, the district warned there remains a “limited pool of substitute teachers” and there “may be an instance where a substitute teacher will not be available to cover an in-person classroom teacher’s absence.”
Because of the limited pool of substitutes, the district said there will be instances when it can’t cover an in-person classroom in a teacher’s absence and students may have to temporarily go back to distance learning.
The district said it will let families know with as much notice as possible when no substitute teacher is available to cover the next day’s class.
Though in-person learning is resuming and COVID cases are subsiding, there are still many teachers and district staffers who have requested to keep working remotely. Of the 584 SFUSD staffers who have requested a medical waiver, the district has approved 290.
SFUSD has 140 substitute teachers on hand and is looking to hire approximately 90 more, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Fox News has reached out to SFUSD with a request for comment but did not hear back before publication.
California has pushed teachers to the front of the line to get vaccinated. Newsom announced in February that 10% of vaccines – or roughly 75,000 vaccines per week – would be reserved for teachers and other school staff starting on March 1.
As of this week, nearly every California teacher has had the opportunity to be vaccinated.