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And then there were 4: Recalled SF school board members ditch final meeting

Three chairs were conspicuously empty at Tuesday night’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Education. Outgoing President Gabriela López and Commissioner Alison Collins skipped out on what would have been their last session before they are set to be replaced by appointments chosen by Mayor London Breed.

With López absent, Vice President Jenny Lam presided over the meeting. Commissioner Faauuga Moliga left the board just one day after his recall

Collins and López did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The three commissioners were recalled by an overwhelming majority of voters last month but had until March 11 to serve out their terms—one month past the certification of the February election. It’s not yet clear who Breed plans to appoint in their place, but her picks will serve on an interim basis until November’s election.

Starting next week, school board meetings will go back to being fully in-person ahead of the end of the month, when the state’s emergency declaration is set to expire. District staff said they would work to figure out a hybrid access login option for members of the public that prefer to stay at home to watch or make comments. 

Also on the agenda tonight was a discussion about the district’s decision to lift its mask mandate for middle and high school students on March 12 and plans for state funding to the tune of $550 million, $3.5 million of which is set to head to the district. 

The pandemic remained central to Tuesday’s discussion, with Superintendent Vince Matthews announcing that all students and staff will get two test kits before spring break to take before they return to classrooms. 

The Parent Advisory Council echoed some parents’ continued Covid concerns now that masks are coming off next week for upper grades and April 2 for elementary students, and advocated for continued masking indoors.

“If even one student, teacher, staff or family member is harmed as a result of this decision, then the school district should be held accountable,” PAC Coordinator Michelle Jacques-Menegaz said. 

But many members of the public logged in to say the PAC’s report did not reflect their perspectives and that they support following state and local health orders. The board ultimately voted to approve the health agreement with unions that officially lifts the district’s mask mandate for older students next week. 

The district did not discuss its budget crisis tonight due to an extension it got from the state to submit its March interim budget report, Commissioner Matt Alexander said. 

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