San Francisco is suing its own school district to reopen classrooms that have been closed for nearly 11 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the city announced Wednesday.
The school district and its independently elected leaders have failed to put in place a reopening plan, as demanded by state law "to offer classroom-based instruction whenever possible," according to the suit filed in city court by San Francisco prosecutor Dennis Herrera.
"Not a single San Francisco public school student has set foot in their classroom in 327 days," Herrera told a press conference.
"More than 54,000 San Francisco schoolchildren are suffering. They are being turned into Zoom-bies by online school. Enough is enough."
The legal move is backed by Mayor London Breed.
"This is not the path we would have preferred, but nothing matters more right now than getting our kids back in school," Breed tweeted.
San Francisco schools were granted permission to reopen in September, and nearly 90 percent of schools in neighboring Marin County have already done so, Herrera said.
More than 100 private and religious schools have reopened in San Francisco itself, he added.
Teachers' unions in San Francisco -- as in Los Angeles and other major US cities -- have opposed reopening schools until teachers are vaccinated, despite mounting public and government pressure.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that schools can reopen as long as appropriate health measures are observed.
"There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen, and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely," said Rochelle Walensky, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Wednesday.