Exactly One Month From First Day of 2020-21 School Year, OUSD Announces Plans for Start of School Which Will Include Students Returning to Class in Phases, Starting with a Period of Distance Learning for all Students
Text Of Friday July 10th 2020 OUSD Press Conference At End Of This Post
Oakland – As Oakland and the rest of the country work through the challenges of a global pandemic, OUSD is announcing that the 2020-21 school year, which begins on Monday, August 10, will start with students in distance learning. This recommendation was generated by the OUSD COVID-19 Action Team which is made up of school site staff including custodial, clerical, teachers, principals, as well as central office department leaders. In addition to our COVID-19 Action Team, we have consulted with public health experts and been in on-going conversation with our labor partners. Collectively, the latest information led District leadership to determine the best course of action for all our stakeholders is to begin the school year in distance learning where students will be home, learning virtually.
The recommended plan from the Action Team is to begin in distance learning and introduce phases of blended learning, meaning opportunities for specific groups of students to both attend school in person and continue with some distance learning. We are aiming for this first phase to last up to four weeks in order to ensure our school sites are well-prepared to implement our COVID-19 safety plans, and staff is able to attend training in both safety and instruction, and orient students and families to the flow of subsequent phases of blended learning. The transition into the first blended learning phase will depend on specific science, safety, student learning and support details, and we will use an equity lens for prioritizing in person instruction for targeted students.
OUSD has heard from many of our families and staff members. Some say they are ready for in person instruction and some are not. The district is looking for ways to meet everyone’s needs. District leaders have been negotiating with our labor partners on the best way forward. All involved are clearly concerned about the health of students, families and staff.
“You might think that with COVID, this decision would be easy, but it’s not,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “We want to have our students back in class as soon as possible and welcoming them back to school has to be safe. But there is inherent tension between the ever-changing science, keeping students and staff safe, and providing the services that students need. The health and well-being of our students, staff and family members is, of course, paramount. We know that this extended time away from school and away from their peers is causing serious issues to our students’ emotional well being. We are working to balance the risks of COVID with the impact of social isolation and the lack of in-person learning. At this point, we feel the best course of action is to open with distance learning, then transition to a blended model in which we can get our students and staff back together where they are bound to flourish.”
The time around the start of school coincides with the beginning of the rush of new computers getting to our students through the #OaklandUndivided campaign that we created in concert with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Oakland Public Education Fund and Tech Exchange. We raised $12.5 million in the first phase of the project to buy thousands of computers and internet hotspots that will go to our students who lack the technology at home. In order to ensure we are getting the devices to the students who truly need them, we are working with a Salesforce-based software development company to create a platform that will determine which students need the computers, catalogue the inventory, and track distribution and any service needs for the devices.
Given the timing for all of this to occur, if needed, OUSD will maintain and expand the Chromebooks loaner program while we transition to the personal at home devices provided by #OaklandUndivided. Our goal is that all student homes are connected at the start of the school year and most already are.
This afternoon, we met with our District and site leadership to update them on our plans for a strong start to the school year in which our school staff is able to truly connect with our students. As stated above, the plan to start the year in distance learning and build robust foundational distance learning practices for students and staff will lead to a phased in approach to a resumption of in-person teaching and learning. We plan to progress into different phases of school-based instruction as conditions allow and as will be defined by our on-going negotiations with our labor partners. We will continue to update the community weekly with additional information.
At 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 13, OUSD will hold a Community Town Hall meeting about the start of school. Media and others can watch the meeting at: https://www.youtube.com/OUSDlive
OUSD Press Conference Text Transcript
00:06:27 Doug Sovern: Ada! Nice to see you! Fingers crossed….
00:06:58 Doug Sovern: And hello to all my Chabot buddies…
00:14:17 Amber Blackwell: Are children going to have access to zoom. Currently the chrome books students have from the schools cannot access zoom consistence. only google classroom.
00:14:31 Wanda Wilkerson: What will distant learning look like for student with Special Needs Ed?
00:14:38 Angela Ruggiero: Angela here from the East Bay Times. Can you please explain what the threshold wold be to move to the next phase? Also what does “equity lens” mean? Thanks
00:15:15 Kate Larsen: John – I have a few more. Would like to ask verbally if poissible
00:15:31 heididipippo: When will chrome books be distributed?
00:15:41 carmen beltran : meeting has translation in Spanish
00:16:35 Nina Perls: with school budget cuts, how will OUSD provide necessary safety implementations such as touchless thermometers, automatic sanitizer dispensers, etc
00:16:44 Luis Moran: Will the training for parents be offered in Spanish as well?
00:16:53 Amy Prevedel: What will happen with music/band instruction? Will students have virtual classes?
00:16:55 Doug Sovern: Is there a timeline for the phases of “blended learning”…how much of it will still be distant, how much in person, and at what point might it be 50-50, or even more in person than remote?
00:16:57 Erikka Flores: how is this going to work with parents that work and rely on the schools and after care…am I going to have to quit my job to make sure the kids are in class?
00:17:41 Stewart Slafter: Based on OUSD’s equity lens which kids will be the last ones permitted to come back to school? How about the second-to-last? How about the third-to-last?
00:17:50 Ada Carter: zoom has been accessible from chromebooks
00:18:19 Nkiru Ajaelo: are there any other child care resources for parent who are essential workers and single parents.
00:19:44 Kate Larsen: why isn’t more than a week of training for teachers built into the schedule? Teachers are saying 5 days is not enough
00:19:48 Kee’s iPhone: students who have computers can only use them for them with OUSD accounts. this has prevented many of our students from utilizing these computers for Summer distance learning.
00:20:36 Amy Prevedel: Thank you!
00:20:48 Kee’s iPhone: only 30 percent of students were accessing distance learning in Spring? how do you plan to increase that for 8/10?
00:21:10 marlyn: thank you
00:21:14 Kate Larsen: any thoughts or plans to extend the school year through breaks or next summer to make up for missed learning?
00:21:23 Matthew Takimoto: How much input did teachers have on the construction of this model, and has OEA already provided you with a response to this model?
00:22:25 Vanessa Rancano: Under the union’s proposal, in-person classes wouldn’t start up until Covid infection rates are near zero for two weeks across the district. Does the district’s proposed criteria differ? If so, how?
00:22:35 Cheryl Perry: what will class room look like when they get inside how many students
00:24:57 heididipippo: Thank you
00:26:51 Kate Larsen: How many kids will be in each class once in person begins? whats the max number?
00:26:59 Nina Perls: in regards to cleaning- our school has 1 janitor for 576 kids and over 50 staff. how will OUSD deal with increase in cleaning needs? will you be hiring more staff?
00:27:12 iPhone: cleaning need to happen every day
00:27:15 Wanda Wilkerson: Most of OUSD Schools mainly in the underserved community schools are already have health codes that were not met or up to date. What is the plan for sanitizing and keeping them sanitized?
00:28:25 iPhone: how about sports
00:28:45 iPhone: how about After School Programs
00:31:02 Matthew Takimoto: So given the statement about the first four weeks of distance learning including trainings, is the expectation that schools will NOT have a fully-implemented distance learning plan on the first day of school?
00:31:34 iPhone: let’s not forget about title 9
00:32:17 Erikka Flores: how will this effect seniors in high school….they need the in person to help with college applications and support
00:32:23 Linda Wilbrecht: Will OUSD subsidize teacher fiber access? Some have unstable connections which heavily disrupt learning
00:33:36 Dominic: i second linda wilbrecht’s question
00:34:25 Erikka Flores: how does a teacher interact online with kids they have never even see before…they will not have the same respect or comfort level with someone they dont know
00:34:29 Kevin Newman: Are there any plans for on-site testing for students/staff? Also, is there a plan for food distribution during the blended phases? Will students who are off-campus on certain days need to come to campuses for food?
00:36:29 Kate Larsen: what happens if kids have technical issues on devices? how will they get help? what if their parents are not home or able to help?
00:37:07 heididipippo: Will children be able to bring their own lunch once in person instruction begins?
00:37:10 Wanda Wilkerson: Will Parents be subsidized since with distant learning the students will be spending more time at home with parents in the teacher role?
00:38:17 Amy Prevedel: Thank you very much. Please pass along my thanks to all your colleagues, too. No one has the answers, and personally, I can’t imagine a SAFE, in-person reopening for quite a while. Sad. I appreciate all the consideration, the problem-solving, and all the work everyone has put into this process.
00:39:35 heididipippo: Thank you
00:39:37 David Castillo: Thank you for this information. I understand this is a dynamic situation.
00:40:06 Kate Alessandri: Thank you for doing so much to consider the safety of our kids and teachers!
00:41:28 Sufiya: Thank you John!
00:41:28 Reyna: what about parents who wish to volunteer in their children’s classes?
About the Oakland Unified School District
In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
This post based on press release and files provided by the Oakland Unified School District and sent to, and downloaded and assembled by, Zennie62Media.