Well, this is certainly some good news in what's become an increasingly bleak picture for schools throughout the country. Instead of shutting things down and going back to remote learning like so many school districts in the South are doing, health officials are optimistic in San Francisco about keeping their schools open.
San Francisco has a highly vaccinated population, especially among those aged 12-17, probably the highest in the country with over 90% now vaccinated. Mask-wearing, social distancing, hand sanitizing, and all the other helpful measures are strictly enforced as well.
The San Francisco Health Department released new data Thursday, showing not only has the city's school district avoided a COVID-19 surge, but it hasn’t had a single case of transmission at any of its schools.
“We wanted to have enough data to go to the public and say what we’re seeing within these initial three to four weeks is assuring,” said Dr. Naveena Bobba, deputy director at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
She says with children back to in-person learning, it's important to make sure parents know their classrooms are safe and low risk as long as guidelines are followed.
“Nationally we are seeing throughout the country that is a large portion of pediatric cases occurring as well as hospitalizations but clearly that is very different in California and San Francisco and that’s because of such a high vaccination rate,” said Bobba. “I do have to say those that are 12 to 17 have achieved a 90% fully vaccinated rate.”
The overall numbers are encouraging.
While the department reported there have been 227 COVID-19 cases — out of 52,000 students and nearly 10,000 staff — the "vast majority" of those cases are occurring outside of schools.
Serious forms of pediatric COVID-19 are even more rare, with less than five children hospitalized for the virus at any given time in San Francisco. There are currently no children who are hospitalized for COVID-19 in the city, the health department said.
San Francisco schools haven't had any COVID outbreaks.
Health officials said vaccines "are our best defense to protect children" — adding that most of the city's pediatric COVID cases came from unvaccinated adults in a household getting sick and passing it to unvaccinated kids. pic.twitter.com/0xdjYhdSKY
— NPR (@NPR) September 10, 2021