The Oakland Unified School District has announced that students will not be in the classroom when the new school year starts on Aug. 10.
The first day of school is a day that OUSD spokesman John Sasaki looks forward to all year. “It’s a very busy day but it feels like a holiday because it’s when we get back into our schools and we see all our kids and all our staff who are so happy to be back together with the kids. It’s just a day full of joy, and as it stands right now, we’re not going to have that kind of day.”
The district announced Friday that all students will be taught online for up to four weeks, before some students are allowed to return to the classroom.
“The plan is to begin with 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,” Sasaki said.
The details are still being worked out, but one proposal on the table is one cohort of students that will attend classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, with campuses closed on Wednesdays for deep cleaning, and then another cohort attending on Thursdays and Fridays.
“The kids that have the highest needs, we’ll be focusing on them first, to get them back into in-person instruction,” he said. “So that would be special ed, that would be homeless kids, that would be the foster kids.”
Sasaki says elementary school kids will likely come back before older ones because they have been shown not to spread the virus as efficiently, but the district is still working out the threshold levels that would allow them to move from one phase to the next.
Sasaki says teachers are getting training on teaching online, and the district is working to get more Chromebooks into the hands of students without access to a computer and instructions for parents.