Along with student board directors Samantha Pal and Natalie Gallegos, I am hosting a community meeting next Thursday, August 26, from 6:00 to 7:15, on Oakland Unified’s COVID safety plan.
The panel discussion will include Dr. Nicholas Moss, the Alameda County Health Officer; Chaz Garcia, second Vice President of the Oakland Education Association (OEA); and school district staff. There will be time for Q&A from the public after the panel.
You can join the webinar on Thursday at: https://ousd.zoom.us/j/89513202835
It’s been so moving to see how glad students are to be back on campus, but of course we are all anxious about their well-being at this time. The delta variant continues to spread, yet we know that hospitalization rates are very low for children and for vaccinated adults.
I am so grateful to all the teachers and school employees that are helping our kids stay masked and in school as much as possible, and to all the effort from families to support students through this challenging time.
Nine classrooms across the district are currently in quarantine, and over 100 positive cases have been identified, with 6,210 people tested so far.
Oakland Unified has worked with the county and labor to design its plan to come back to schools safely. On Thursday, the student board directors and I will ask the panelists about what has worked so far and what needs to improve.
For example, it is clear that we need to radically increase our testing capacity. OUSD is dramatically increasing the number of contracted testers this coming week.
I believe we also need to think outside the box and start training other district employees to act as testers, with the goal of offering tests to all students and staff weekly or biweekly. At the same time, we need to continue prioritizing rapid response teams so that in cases of exposure, every exposed student and employee is tested as soon as possible.
To reduce the infection rate, we urgently need everyone who can get vaccinated to do so. This week, I met with county health workers about efforts to vaccinate our teenagers, since less than 60% of Oaklanders aged 12-17 are fully vaccinated.
We now have two new mobile vaccination clinics set up next week, with more on the way:
- Oakland Tech HS, Thurs., Aug. 26, 9:00-1:00
- Skyline HS, Thurs., Aug. 26, 12:00-4:00
As smoke drifts into the East Bay, we are also fortunate to have high quality air purifiers in every classroom that can clean both virus and ash particles from the air, even when the doors and windows are closed. You can read the district’s plan for smoke days here.
I hope you can join us Thursday, but if not, I will post a recording of the meeting on my website afterwards.