OUSD and the Oakland Education Association Reach Tentative Agreement to Bring Students and Teachers back to Campus Starting March 30
Oakland, CA -- The Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association (OEA), the teachers’ union, came to a tentative agreement (TA) over the weekend to bring all OEA members, including all teachers, back to campuses and open schools for in-person instruction.
In-person instruction on OUSD campuses will be phased in and begin just over two weeks from now.
In-Person Instruction - Phase 1 (Starting March 30, 2021): In-person instruction for grades PK-2 and priority students.
In-Person Instruction - Phase 2 (Starting April 19, 2021): In-person instruction will be expanded up through fifth grade and at least one secondary grade.
Phase 1 will launch through an opt in process for teachers. Those who opt in will return to start preparing for the transition on March 25, 2021. All remaining OEA members will return to campus to start preparing on April 14, 2021.
Campuses will operate at a limited capacity due to public health guidance to maintain physical distance and small and stable cohorts. Families will be able to keep their students in distance learning if they prefer.
Over the past month, OUSD staff has been prioritized for vaccines under the state program. OUSD and the Alameda County Office of Education have given out educator vaccination codes to our staff members to help make this happen, and we know other staff members have also been vaccinated. We expect that all staff members who want a vaccine should be able to receive at least the first dose by April 19, 2021.
The TA includes important safety measures which have been or will be addressed by the District’s preparation and aligned with public health guidance for staff, students and families (e.g., ventilation, PPE, testing and contact tracing for students).
The members of OEA will vote on the TA this week. If passed, the OUSD Board of Education will have to vote to ratify it, as well.
“This is a critical step forward for our students, families and staff, as we all can now see the light at the end of the tunnel of this year-long ordeal,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “I want to express my deepest appreciation to our teachers for working so hard to get us to this point and supporting their students through distance learning. I also want to thank OEA leadership for reaching this agreement, which directly helps the families who want and need their students back in class. As promised, it also allows for any students to remain in distance learning, if they so choose. I look forward to March 30 with great excitement for students and staff who are eager to be together again.”
“We reached a tentative agreement that is just, equitable, and most importantly, safe. We believe that phasing in student return on April 19 allows all educators to complete their vaccinations, if they so choose, and for California's targeted vaccination program to reach our most vulnerable communities,” said Oakland Education Association President, Keith Brown. “This agreement also provides time to engage in the work of setting up the next agreement for a comprehensive hybrid model, which would meet the unique needs of our students, families, and members.”
“After weeks at the bargaining table, our tentative agreement is one based on science, safety, and meets the unique needs of our school community. Recognizing that communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, we agreed on an equity-based model that prioritizes the distribution of resources to those communities,” said Oakland Education Association Second Vice President and Bargaining Chair, Chaz Garcia. “The pandemic has exacerbated a lot of the issues (funding, classroom sizes, ventilation, conditions of schools, etc.) we have been battling with for decades. We knew that disinvesting will only put us back at square one.”
“This year has been hard for everyone, especially our students,” said OUSD Board of Education President, Shanthi Gonzales. “Getting our students safely back to a more normal routine will go a long way to fostering their education and their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.”
More details will be released over the next week.