OUSD COVID-19 Action Team Updates
July 10, 2020
OUSD is announcing that school will begin on August 10, 2020 with all students in distance learning.
From there, students will be brought back to campus in phases for in person instruction as safety allows.
- The opening phase of all distance learning will last up to four weeks.
- During this time we will implement our COVID-19 safety plans, attend training in both safety and instruction, and orient students and families to the phases of blended learning.
- The transition into the next phases will depend on specific science, safety, student learning and support details. We will use an equity lens for prioritizing in person instruction for targeted students.
- Families may choose to remain in full distance learning regardless of phases.
- The recommendation for a phased in approach was created by the OUSD COVID-19 Action Team composed of school site staff including custodial, clerical, teachers, principals, as well as central office department leaders and parents.
Please join us for a community meeting on Monday July 13 from 5:00-7:00. Click here for details for logging on.
OUSD has heard from many of our families and staff members. Many say they are ready for in person instruction and many 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 to move forward.
We have learned a lot about distance learning since March and we are creating plans for increased support for students, and school staff, including more support for families, more access to shared online resources, and weekly learning goals.
Stay tuned for updates soon about technology distribution, school registration, and other important topics.July 7, 2020Science and Safety Update from Preston ThomasJuly 3, 2020Community Meeting Follow Up from COVID-19 Action TeamDear Oakland Community,
Yesterday evening, OUSD families and staff members heard an update on the progress OUSD is making on recommendation for reopening schools. Click here for the video of the presentation. It has a summary of key survey feedback, a message from our Superintendent, a presentation by Dr. Lee Atkinson-McEvoy on the latest science around COVID-19, and recommendations for an instructional model for this fall from our working group.
These recommendations and/or scenarios are not final because they depend on a number of factors such as conditions within Oakland, guidance from public health officials, financial implications and other constraints. Additionally, many of our major decisions are going to be made in negotiations with our labor partners as part of an ongoing process required by law.
Your voice is critical in these decisions on how we will be approaching this fall.
Currently, there are two ways to give feedback:
- Take the OUSD Family Return to School Survey: This broad, family-based survey will help OUSD make plans based on family feedback on issues like your schedule preferences, transportation, and childcare. It closes on July 9.
Each of our seven working groups has been working on their recommendations for reopening OUSD schools this fall for the past month. The 105 members of these working groups are administrators, classified staff, community members, parents, and teachers. Certificated and classified staff members were appointed by five unions. The parents are from representative bodies such as the Parent Student Advisory Committee. We are indebted to these working groups. As we prepare for school in a nearly unprecedented situation, this group of people rolled up their sleeves and did the work to help Oakland move forward together.
- Comment on the working group recommendations: Each working group provided an executive summary on their respective topic, along with recommendations. This an opportunity for the community to learn more about specific topics such as instructional models and protective equipment, and leave feedback and/or questions in the comment boxes.
OUSD’s Senior Leadership Team will make recommendations for reopening this fall. Planning for this school year will be on ongoing process and the recommendations will be based on all of the following factors:
- Working group recommendations,
- Ongoing negotiations with our labor partners,
- Community feedback,
- Updated guidance from the state of California (e.g., attendance, and other requirements), and
- Updated public health guidance and science.
On July 10, we will communicate the decisions and agreements we have made at that point (some unresolved issues will likely remain).
On July 13, from 5:00-7:00p.m., we will be hosting a community meeting to share updated information. We will provide meeting details as soon as they are finalized.
We look forward to negotiations with our labor partners, finalizing plans, and communicating with our community.June 19, 2020
Summary Update and Timeline
Almost 100 central leaders, teachers, classified staff, parents, and principals are working on seven different Working Groups: Instruction, Operations, Technology, Finances, Facilities, Wellness, and Community, to create proposals for fall 2020 school operations. Click here to see who is involved and some of their work.
By the end of June, each working group will share recommendations with OUSD’s Senior Leadership Team about what the beginning of next school year could look like with 1) a full distance learning model and 2) a blended model (a combination of distance learning and in-person instruction). These recommendations are being created based on public health recommendations, state and county guidance, and community and staff feedback. Using these recommendations, the Senior Leadership Team - including Supt. Kyla Johnson-Trammell - will finalize recommendations and work with our labor partners. Ultimately, many of the decisions before us are joint decisions around which OUSD must build consensus with our labor partners and community.
On July 10, 2020, OUSD will communicate some preliminary decisions and labor agreements regarding how the school year will start. All plans, of course, are subject to collective bargaining with our labor partners, affordability (or other constraints on feasibility), and may change as we learn more about the virus, and as new state or county public health guidance is provided. Click here for the overall timeline.
New State and County Guidance Issued
The state and county both recently issued guidance. It provides some concrete information about what we can expect in our schools, once we are cleared to resume some in-person instruction. Face coverings, physical distancing, and stable, small groups of students are the primary recommendations, which are in line with other county offices of education around the state.
Updates on Key Issues Raised by Community and Staff
- Safety: We are currently purchasing PPE, including masks, face shields, disinfectant, sanitizer, and gloves in anticipation of 2020-21 needs. We will continue to purchase more/different equipment, as needed, once the instructional model and our labor contracts are finalized for the coming year.
- Support for young children: We are launching educational programming on KDOL-TV for children in a format that does not require the use of a computer.
- Technology Access: We have created a city-wide WiFi map for students, and have begun placing orders for new Chromebooks and hotspots for the 2020-21 School Year. Supply chains around the world are unstable and delayed right now, so early ordering around PPE, technology, and other materials is a high priority, even as we wait to finalize more concrete plans for the new year.
- Inclusion: We have parents, teachers, nurses, principals, and classified staff included on our Action Team, who are all tasked with helping create recommendations for 2020-21, in partnership with union representation and district leadership.
Staff and Community Members are Engaging in COVID Planning Process
We have had the great privilege of hearing from our community and staff members about their concerns for next year and ideas for being safe and successful this fall. So far,
- Over 500 individuals have participated in at least one of our Thought Exchanges, about half of whom identify as parents, and the other half as staff members.
- Over 350 individuals attended online parent and community meetings in English and Spanish
- Over 4,500 community members have taken the #SchoolAfterCOVID survey in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Cambodian.
- PSAC Leaders, principals, teachers, classified staff, and union representatives are participating on the district-wide COVID Action Team.
- Data coming back indicates that the community is split almost 50/50 about returning to some form of in-person instruction, with common ground shared around the need for heightened safety measures and improved access to technology for staff and students. A majority of parents who participated in the surveys are advocating for a return to some in-person learning next year.
Safety as a primary community concern
Overwhelmingly, the safety of students, staff, and community has come up as a primary concern. We, of course, share that concern and will adhere to state and county guidelines for safety procedures as we explore possibilities for in-person instruction.
We are reassured by the safe rollout and expansion of our Food & Technology Distribution programs. In spite of two early cases of COVID-19 positive volunteers in March, we have had no evidence of transmission at any of these sites and no additional cases of COVID-19 positive volunteers or staff members working at any of our Food Distribution sites. Though public health guidance was changing rapidly during the early days of our Shelter In Place order, our staff worked diligently to respond quickly by implementing new safety procedures, purchasing PPE, and training staff and volunteers to our new norms and expectations.
It is with this learning stance that we move forward: we are operating in a world where scientific knowledge and governmental guidance is constantly evolving. We will put students first as we respond to this changing landscape, constantly learning from each other, and continuously improving our services for the families of Oakland.
We will be ready to welcome our students into a new year with joy, warmth, and high expectations
Understandably, many parents, students, and staff are feeling anxious due to the tremendous uncertainty that we face. Here are a few things we can count on:
- OUSD will make the decision about how and when to move into a blended phase of instruction as a unified school district, not at individual sites, to help ensure equity of access and consistent safety procedures across our city.
- We will work diligently at each site to orient students who are new to our schools, and how we will transition students to new grades
- We will ensure daily contact with each child on our rosters, to meet their basic food and safety needs, to engage them with learning, and to connect them with greater opportunity.
- We will use what we learned during the spring around distance learning and technology distribution to improve student and staff access to technology and how we safely provide in-person services to students, when we are allowed to do so.
We plan on releasing our reopening guidelines on July 10, 2020 with information about how/when those plans may change throughout the year to align with updated labor contracts and emerging scientific and public health knowledge and guidance.
Thank you for your patience and continued partnership. If you have feedback for the COVID-19 Action Team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The next opportunity for community engagement in an online forum will be July 2, 2020. Details will be shared and posted at www.ousd.org/covid-19.June 11, 2020
- In the past week, both the state and the county have issued guidance about school reopening and we are currently reviewing it.
- Our Working Groups - made up of principals, teachers and parents - are developing first drafts for distance and blended models of instruction, based on research and recommendations.
- We are ordering PPE for staff and students, following state and county guidelines and advice from local pediatricians.
- We are ordering additional Chromebooks and hotspots in partnership with Tech Exchange.
- ICYMI, last week we shared a message with several opportunities for you to provide feedback. Your input is vital as we move forward together.