Student and Family Updates, Right to Recover, COVID Vaccine Information, Shelter in Place Rooms, Neighborhood Meetings, and More
Happy Women’s History Month, belated wishes to all for Black History Month, and a happy Lunar New Year to everyone! The pandemic hasn’t stopped our community from welcoming the Year of the Ox.
In this newsletter, I will give you the latest updates on:
Public School Recovery, Reopening, and Summer PLAY
Keeping Unhoused Residents Safe
Strengthening the Right to Recover Program
COVID Vaccine Info and New Testing and Vaccination Sites
Bernal and Portola Community Meetings Recap
Portola Lunar New Year and Alemany Maze Bikeway
Please sign up at https://myturn.ca.gov/ and get the vaccine as soon as you’re eligible, and remember to continue to stay at home as much as possible, protect yourself and others by wearing a mask correctly, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently.
My office may not be in City Hall these days, but we are still here for you. We are available by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415-554-5144 (leave a message, and we will call you back-- we are checking voicemail frequently). Check for updates on my Twitter and Facebook.
Updates for Students and Families
Unanimous Support for Students & Families RISE
While I do not have direct authority to reopen our schools and will continue to support those who do, I do have the ability to help prepare for what schools will look like when we are back. It has been a rough year for everyone connected to the San Francisco Unified School District, but we have some bright news.
The entire Board of Supervisors unanimously co-sponsored and passed the legislation I authored with Supervisor Myrna Melgar and School Board Commissioner Kevine Boggess to establish the Students & Families RISE Workgroup.
Get every SFUSD student to grade-level proficiency in core academic subjects.
Increase SFUSD enrollment to stem the negative impacts of family out-migration during distance learning and the COVID pandemic.
Create full-scale enrichment programs at every school site - arts, music, sports, libraries. We must nurture the full minds and bodies of students in our schools.
RISE establishes a workgroup made up of teachers, parents, and other public education stakeholders to advise the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, and SFUSD on post-pandemic recovery strategies that we will implement during the 2021-22 academic year.
We will use both philanthropic and government funds to get these efforts started, but intend to have 100% public permanent funding. Our public schools have been resource-starved for years. This is an ambitious effort but one we must accomplish if we are to do right by San Francisco’s children, educators, and families.
SF PLAY - Free Summer Programming for SFUSD Students
I am also working with SFUSD and the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families on a robust expansion of summer program opportunities for SFUSD families. This week, Supervisors Connie Chan, Matt Haney, Myrna Melgar, and I introduced the Summer PLAY initiative (Programs, Learning, and Activities for Youth) . Summer PLAY will significantly expand the number of subsidized summer programming spaces available to SFUSD elementary school students at either Community Hubs or Rec & Park summer camps.
The motivation behind this proposal is to give parents and children a nine-week reprieve during the summer and to begin to make up for learning loss and social isolation over this past year. If the city cannot secure enough staff to run these programs, we will explore providing children with subsidies or scholarships to attend private summer camps as an alternative. As a public school parent myself, I deeply understand the need for accessible and reliable summer programming like this.
I have been working closely with everyone involved in the safe reopening of public schools. This includes the unions, SFUSD, Board of Education, Department of Children, Youth & Their Families, DPH, the Mayor, and many others. Here’s where we are:
In early February, the unions representing educators and all other school staff reached an agreement with SFUSD on the health precautions that must be in place to reopen schools. Educators will return in the Red Tier if they are vaccinated and in the Orange Tier without the vaccine. In addition, while in the Red Tier, SFUSD will be required to test all staff and students for the COVID virus every two weeks.
Educators are currently eligible to be vaccinated and began receiving vaccination codes on March 3. In December, the Board passed my resolution urging Governor Newsom to prioritize providing educators access to the COVID-19 vaccines. I am working with the Mayor’s Office to get all remaining educators and school site staff vaccinated who are set to come back to school sites in the coming weeks. SFUSD staff who have yet to be vaccinated will be able to receive a vaccine on site at SFUSD Headquarters at 555 Franklin Street between March 11-13.
On March 5, with support and mediation from Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, SFUSD reached an agreement with the district unions on the schedule for in-person instruction -- the final agreement necessary to begin the gradual return to schools. Many elementary schools will open for in-person learning starting April 12th. This is great progress!
As we reach the 1 year anniversary since kids have been at school, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to safely reopen our schools as soon as possible. I hope and call on SFUSD to announce commitment to the full return to schools for all grades in the fall barring any unforeseen changes in the pandemic and vaccine efficacy.
Keeping Unhoused Residents Safe
At the start of the pandemic, my colleagues Supervisors Dean Preston, Matt Haney, Aaron Peskin, Shamann Walton, and I pushed the City to house people experiencing homelessness. We wrote and unanimously passed legislation ordering the City to obtain thousands of hotel rooms so our most vulnerable residents could safely shelter in place and help slow the spread of COVID-19.
This has saved countless lives. Research has shown these hotels have been an effective public health response during the pandemic and kept us all safer. Isolation and quarantine reduced the strain on hospitals last year, according to study published by the Department of Public Health, UCSF, and San Francisco General Hospital.
With the federal government now reimbursing the City 100% of the costs, there is no excuse for us to leave our most vulnerable outdoors. We can and must do the right thing and house as many people as possible during the pandemic.
However, because the program has been dependent on private donations through Give2SF, the program has had to pause several times when funds ran out. The Mayor and I were able to identify an additional $6 million to immediately replenish Right to Recover, and I am ready to introduce a supplemental budget authorization if needed to make sure no one is left behind again. Several of my colleagues on the Budget & Appropriations Committee have already signaled that permanent public funding for this program will be among their top priorities.
Many thanks to the City and community partners who have made this indispensable program possible, including the Latino Task Force, Faith in Action Bay Area, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, SFDPH, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), Young Community Developers, Mayor Breed, and UCSF Unidos en Salud.
Vaccine and Testing Updates
As of February 24, San Francisco has been able to offer vaccines to people working in Tier 1B as well as Tier 1A.
If it does not allow you to schedule an appointment, it means there is not yet appointment availability at that moment. Vaccine supply is still limited, but keep checking the webpages. For assistance by phone, call the CA COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255 (M-F 8 am-8 pm, Sa-Su 8 am-5 pm).
You can also schedule appointments at CVS or Walgreens pharmacies. The vaccine is FREE.
If you'd like more information about the City's vaccination strategy and other related information on the City's COVID 19 response, please visit here.
If you have vaccine questions, always feel free to call my office at 415-544-5144 or email us at email@example.com
New North Mission Testing Site
On January 30, a new walk-up testing site was launched on 18th Street and Mission Street that anyone can access, operated by H.O.M.E.Y. and Faith in Action Bay Area. After months of operating a food pantry out of their space and fighting for more resources for the heavily impacted Mission community, H.O.M.E.Y. and Faith in Action successfully brought community testing to the North Mission. The same dedicated volunteers who have been feeding the community are now testing the community.
New Vaccination Site in the Mission
The new vaccination site in the parking lot at 24th Street and Capp is the first step in getting our community healthy again, by bringing vaccines directly to the most vulnerable people in the hardest-hit community.
Given that supply of the vaccine remains extremely limited, vaccinations at the new 24th Street site are available by appointment only. You can register for an appointment on-site.
This vaccination site is open Sundays through Wednesdays, from 9 to am to 2 pm. Vaccines are available for people over 65 years, healthcare workers, caregivers for elderly or disabled people (In Home Support Services workers), food and agriculture workers, educators and childcare staff, and emergency service workers.
While we’ve been keeping in close touch with many of you via email, phone calls, and this newsletter, there’s nothing like being able to connect in real time. In the recent weeks, we held community meetings for Bernal Heights and the Portola.
Bernal Community Meeting Recap
Thank you to the nearly 200 neighbors who tuned in last month for our Bernal Heights Public Safety Community Meeting . It was so helpful to hear from District Attorney Chesa Boudin, SFPD Ingleside Captain Chris Woon, and Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center Executive Director Gina Dacus about their strategies for addressing increasing crime in our neighborhoods and tips on what residents can do to keep themselves safe. Post-meeting update for Bernal neighbors: SFPD reassigned many precinct captains at the end of February, and our new Ingleside Captain is Nicole Jones.
Portola Community Meeting Recap
Thank you to all who zoomed in for this week’s Portola community meeting. You can watch it here. I gave updates about my second term priorities, the nighttime closure of John Shelley Drive through McLaren Park, and importance of Chinese speaking beat officers at the San Bruno substation, which is housed in the Portola Family Connections space at 2565 San Bruno Ave.
We introduced new SFPD Bayview Captain David Maron; you can keep up to date with what the Bayview Station is doing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to his newsletter. District Attorney Chesa Boudin introduced the District 9 liaison from his office, Azita Ghafourpour. Both the Captain and the District Attorney discussed the uptick in crimes and what people can do to help stay safe.
Yensing Sihapanya from Portola Family Connections announced their plan to work with my office and Faith in Action/ H.O.M.E.Y. to bring a food bank to the Portola, and Maggie Weis from the Portola Neighborhood Association talked about the various projects they are taking on, from beautifying the Portola with gardening to small business help.
My office will continue to work closely with our SFPD Captains and our new District Attorney Community Liaison to help keep the entire District 9 community safe. If you need help in complex situations, please reach out to us by phone at 415.554.5144 or email at RonenStaff@sfgov.org.
Portola Lunar New Year and Alemany Maze Bikeway Celebrations
I couldn’t have wished for a better way to top off the Lunar New Year than with White Crane’s award winning lion dance crew in the Portola— we had many things to celebrate: the new Alemany Maze Bikeway, an incredible art installation by our very own Phillip Hua that reminds us that we will all be able to be together soon, the Shop Portola campaign, and our wonderful Chinese speaking SFPD Portola Officers Ng and Gong who keep our neighborhood safe.
For more than 50 years, the Alemany/San Bruno intersection has been essentially a freeway on-ramp, a deep scar between the Portola and Bernal neighborhoods. The Alemany Maze Bikeway includes new crosswalk striping, protected bike lanes, green painted bike left-turn boxes, and a lane reduction on Alemany Boulevard, making it safer and easier for people to bike and walk between the Portola and Bernal.
These improvements were suggested by Portola Neighborhood Association leaders and championed by former PNA President Chris Waddling and the SF Bicycle Coalition. Last weekend’s celebration marked the completion of the first phase of improvements. Phase II work will begin later this year—at long last, a safe and beautiful multi-use path across Alemany to the Farmers Market. Thank you to SFMTA | San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and especially to the Portola Neighborhood Association for putting together this wonderful event. And, thank you to Bank of the West for lending their parking lot for the New Year celebration and El Capitan for providing free tacos!
Happy Lunar New Year, and remember to shop locally to keep our businesses alive and our neighborhoods vibrant!
Relief for Small Businesses
The Minority Business Development Agency recently announced the MBDA Business Center Program to support innovative projects that promote and seek to ensure the growth and resolve the challenges faced by minority business enterprises. The application deadline is March 17, 2021. Please click here for more information.
2021 Downpayment Assistance Loan Program
$375,000 can help you buy your first San Francisco home. Downpayment Assistance Loan Program (DALP) applications will be accepted 2/26/2021 - 4/27/2021. Buy a market-rate home with help from the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) while mortgage interest rates are low. Learn more here.
Traffic Court Citation Discounts MyCitations—a new online tool for people with low incomes or who receive public benefits to request a significant discount (up to 80% or more!) on their traffic court citations. This discount can be worth hundreds of dollars. Using the MyCitations tool, people can look up their traffic citations online, answer a series of simple questions about their eligibility, and submit a request for a discount of 80% or more on their traffic court fines and fees. The MyCitations tool can also be used to request a payment plan, more time to pay, or community service. Using MyCitations can also save people an in-person trip to San Francisco Traffic Court.
SFAC Looking for Advisory Committee Participants San Francisco Arts Commission is soliciting participants for the City's Monuments & Memorials Advisory Committee (MMAC). The MMAC is an advisory body that will host hearings with community members and establish the criteria and guidelines by which to determine the future of historic monuments in the City's art collection. The deadline for the application is Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 11:59 p.m. For technical assistance on the application, please contact Asif Majid at email@example.com.
Free Virtual Programming for Teens
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is excited to partner with The Mix at the San Francisco Public Library to offer free virtual programming for teens! Get creative through digital photography, animation, special effects for short films/social media, and more. With a number of classes beginning this week, be sure to register today! For more information and to sign up, click here.
Survey: Your Child, Your Voice
Calling all parents: Your Child, Your Voice gives parents of young children across San Francisco the chance to speak up for and make recommendations on behalf of their children, families, and community. Get registered and get prizes! www.yourchildyourvoice.org
呼吁所有父母：Your Child, Your Voice（您的孩子，您的心声）让三藩市各区域的儿童父母有机会代表他们的孩子、家庭和社区发生心声，提出建议。注册并获得奖品！www.chinese.yourchildyourvoice.org
Estamos haciendo un llamado a todos los padres: Tu Hijo, Tu Voz les da a los padres de niños pequeños en todo San Francisco la oportunidad de alzar su voz y hacer recomendaciones en nombre de sus hijos, familias y comunidad. ¡Regístrese y reciba premios! www.tuhijotuvoz.org
Essential Worker Ride Home: SF Environment the SFCTA (SF Environment and SF County Transportation Agency) launched a program to help essential workers commuting home late at night and don't have a reliable transit option. Click here for more.