A Lack of Transparency and Planning
We are a group of OUSD parents deeply concerned about the impact of distance learning on our children and the lack of transparency & urgency in our school’s plans to reopen.
School districts throughout the nation have reopened and most have been able to do so successfully. The Bay Area is at the forefront of innovation in so many aspects of society and should be leading the charge to safely reopen public schools as well, but we remain very far behind many peer cities across the country. Let’s set the standard for what it means to provide quality instruction to children in all circumstances, while keeping student and teacher safety at the forefront.
Since we launched our petition in October, we are pleased to see that OUSD has made progress in the following areas:
Released a plan to reopen schools for some groups of students beginning on January 25th (Update: now postponed with no date set)
Surveyed parents about their intent to return to school and experience so far with distance learning
Released a Readiness to Return dashboard:
Given what has been done, we ask that:
1. Parents should receive weekly updates on where we stand on:
Negotiations between the Oakland School District (OUSD) and the Oakland Teacher’s Union (OEA). We believe the negotiation process should be transparent to all who are most impacted (OUSD parents and teachers most notably). If parents and teachers are not able to watch negotiations, we need to be kept updated on the latest offers and status on a weekly basis.
Teacher Safety. We ask that Governor Newsom declare teachers as Essential Workers and that they be next in line to receive the vaccination for COVID-19. While schools can be reopened safely before this, it is crucial teachers are prioritized for the vaccine. (Update: Teacher's will be in 1b phase)
Obstacles and costs. The community needs awareness as to what these issues are as soon as possible to start working on how to creatively problem solve, including fundraising for items and upgrades if needed.
2. Parent & Teacher survey: OUSD immediately distribute results of parent’s opinions of school reopening and solicit teacher input on school reopening plans:
Anonymously survey teachers to determine willingness to safely return and release results publicly.
3. Given the fact that OUSD has now released an initial plan and shown the steps they have taken to ensure a safe reopening in accordance with Alameda County guidelines, we expect that OEA should also release its requirements for a safe return and share this with parents.
We do not want or believe this should be an adversarial process. We continue to appreciate the heroics of all of our educators and administrators to bring distance learning to life during a global health crisis. For parents not comfortable with a return to in person learning, there should be the option to remain in distance learning, as demonstrated by similar processes in neighboring districts.