Yesterday it was announced that teachers voted to approve the agreement with OUSD that goes through the end of this school year.
As a result, in-person instruction will start on March 30 for our most vulnerable students (such as students in SDC classes, English language learners, unhoused students, and foster youth) and all students in grades TK through 2nd grade who wish to attend. There will also be an option to remain in 100% distance learning for those families that chose to do so in the survey. By this date, Alameda County is very likely to be in the orange tier.
On April 19, all students in grades 3 through 6 will also have the option to come back for in-person learning.
I deeply appreciate the effort by teachers and school site staff to switch gears so close to the end of the school year and recognize that it is an enormous effort. The schedules for each site are still being determined and the hours of in-person instruction may be limited for this two-month period.
This should not be seen as reflecting plans for next fall, which will most likely be very different. Vaccination rates are increasing and infection rates are dropping, so by the fall we will hopefully be back in classrooms full-time, perhaps just with masks and air quality measures. However, district staff are also planning for the possibility of hybrid instruction in the fall, because it's too early to tell. On Friday, the CDC announced that 3 feet of social distancing is safe in classrooms which will allow more students to be in-person at any one time.
In the summer, there will be both hybrid and distance-learning-only options for families that want their students to get additional instruction and enrichment. Look for communication from your school very soon about how to sign up for summer classes.
Oakland Unified is going to receive significant one-time funding, over $200 million in COVID-19 relief dollars to help us have a restorative return to classrooms next year. We had a special board meeting on this topic last week and it was a very rich discussion, from mental health and social-emotional learning, to academic intervention, to extra support for high school students, and many more ideas. This is thanks to the Biden stimulus bill and Newsom's expanded learning fund, so we are grateful to have the support we need to address the many issues created by the long year away.
There will be an information session for families on Tuesday, March 23 at 6 pm on the return to in-person instruction. The Zoom information can be found at this link.
HOW TO VOLUNTEER AND SUPPORT
I asked principals at District 1 schools how people can help support this historic moment. Ms. Ahmad at Piedmont Avenue Elementary suggested that volunteers decorate the front of the school with signs to welcome back our students and staff.
Ms. Cannon at Chabot said that appreciation of teachers, whether cards, flowers, or lunch delivery, would be welcome. And Mr. Guikema said that at Sankofa United, volunteers can help with classroom and library setup, and campus beautification. People interested in volunteering are welcome to respond to me, and I can put them in touch with the school.
Joanna from the Friends of the Piedmont Ave. Library is coordinating a volunteer clean-up day at the Piedmont Ave. CDC, 86 Echo Ave., on Sat., April 10 at 10:00 AM. Please RSVP to her at joanna03 (at) sonic.net.
If your company or agency wants to offer a summer internship to an Oakland high school student, please fill out the interest form at this link.
Run/Walk/Ride 4 A Reason is a virtual event to raise funds for ten OUSD schools as well as the Equity Fund. You can sign up to participate on their website or sponsor me to run 100 km during the month of April. I can't wait until next year when we can have the ride in-person again. You can also donate directly to the Equity Fund, which supports OUSD schools of highest need, on their website.
There are also fundraising events coming up for the Oakland Public Education Fund, whose gala event is on Thurs., April 15, with a door prize of a Sonoma getaway, and Peralta Elementary, whose live auction and magic show is on Sat., April 17.