Blue sky seen from Junipero Serra Elementary School campus

In the News: SSFUSD Harnesses Ultraviolet C Rays to Protect Students When In-Person Instruction Resumes April 19

Parents with students in transitional kindergarten (TK) through fifth grade at South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) now have the option to bring their children back to campus for in-person instruction and academic support from April 19 through May 28.
“This is a crucial time for our district,” said SSFUSD Superintendent Dr. Shawnterra Moore. “We are aware of the new coronavirus variants, and we are committed to ensuring the health and welfare of our students and staff, which is why we’ve engaged in a process of meticulous planning that includes the use of new technologies to keep everyone safe.”
The technology in question is a hospital-grade, mobile disinfection unit that harnesses the power of ultraviolet C (UV-C) rays to sanitize and disinfect entire rooms. The so-called Arc UV-C machine can eliminate 99.99% of viruses and pathogens like the coronavirus from the air and physical surfaces in as little as three minutes.
“The school board authorized the purchase of 30 of these devices from a company called R-Zero in mid-March,” said SSFUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Ted O. “Our custodial and facilities staff are excited to put them to use.”
In the meantime, all middle school and high school students will remain in distance learning until the end of the 2020-21 school year.
This decision was unanimously endorsed by the school board at its March 18 meeting and informed by a March parent survey that showed about 63% of respondents (3,229 of 5,158) preferred to remain in distance learning.
Of the 2,475 elementary school parents who responded to the survey, however, about 45% (1,112) said they would consider participating in an afternoon session of in-person instruction.
Dr. Moore said the district will continue to look for opportunities to serve students struggling with distance learning by expanding learning hubs and other opportunities.
“I think it’s critical that we continue to think of ways to allow students to come back to campus, if that is what they want,” said Dr. Moore. “It might be a learning hub—but we’ve got to be able to provide some kind of academic and social support.”