OUSD Covid-19 and Fall 2020 update
Fri, Jun 19 11:14am
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Oakland Unified School District
June 19, 2020
Dear OUSD Staff & Community:
Outlined below, please find an update on COVID-19/Fall 2020 highlighting:
  • Our Timeline
  • New State and County Guidance
  • Key Issues Raised by Community and Staff
  • Community Engagement So Far
  • Safety is the Primary Concern
  • Our Commitment to Supporting Students in the Fall
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OUSD Communications 
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 the COVID-19 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 is a Primary Concern for Everyone

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 with Joy, Warmth & 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 covid19-response-team@googlegroups.com. 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.
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