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Oaklasnd Unified School District  
Connecting with Kyla  
November 5, 2020
Kyla
Dear Oakland Community,

I am writing today to provide a general update on the following topics:
  • Returning to in-person learning: What you need to know
  • Meeting with OEA to discuss the possibility of launching in-person instruction 
  • Working with our labor partners on the details for staff returning to sites
  • Surveying families with the Fall Family Feedback Survey
  • Preparing for in-person learning and launching a Readiness Dashboard
  • Opening small learning pods 
Returning to in-person learning: What you need to know
  • Except for a very few students, we expect that OUSD students will be in full distance learning until at least January, 2021.
  • When we do launch in-person learning, we must comply with applicable safety requirements (e.g, physical distancing). This means we are not likely to return to a “traditional in person learning model.” There will be an option for any student to remain in distance learning.
  • We must negotiate the impacts of returning to traditional in-person instruction during the pandemic as identified by OEA (teachers’ union). We currently have agreements with all other labor partners that would enable in-person learning.
  • In-person learning and instruction will happen in alignment with public health guidelines plus any additional conditions agreed to at the bargaining table with labor partners.
We believe that in-person instruction is best for our students. We are meeting with OEA to discuss the possibility of launching in-person instruction and particularly for our most vulnerable students with access issues or unfinished learning.
In July, our COVID-19 working group drafted a set of recommendations for returning students and teachers to the classroom. The core elements of those recommendations still guide our planning:
  • Phased-in approach:  The recommendations call for bringing more students back to school sites in phases over time.
  • Small Cohorts and Equity: The recommendations suggest that the first students to return should be those for whom distance learning is truly not working.
  • The Four S’s: We remain guided by Science, Safety, Staff support, and Student learning. This approach is consistent with the Alameda County Public Health Guidance (e.g., small cohorts, physical distance, masks for all, symptom screening, safety protocols, etc.).
Working with our labor partners on the details for staff returning to sites.
We have MOUs (agreements) with most unions regarding these details. Many classified staff and administrators have slowly and safely been starting to work on-site. We are now focused on bargaining with OEA in order to explore in-person instruction with teachers in the classroom.
Preparing for  in-person learning and launching a Readiness Dashboard.
Our OUSD Readiness to Return Dashboard reflects our most up-to-date COVID-19 preparedness efforts and the steps we have completed to meet the standards from the Alameda County Department of Public Health (ACPHD) to ensure safety for our students and staff. It will be updated weekly. Learn more at www.ousd.org/readinessdashboard. Here is a small sample of how we have been preparing for in-person learning:

  • We are evaluating and improving ventilation on our campuses and setting up classrooms for socially distanced spaces for students
  • A volunteer team of architects and designers are working on plans for increasing our use of outdoor space at the elementary school level
  • Based on the work of Alameda County, we have found a company with whom to create  a plan for how/when staff regularly on campus are getting tested.
Surveying families
In the spirit of looking ahead and improving how we are serving our community, we launched our Fall Family Survey (click here for email). It is open until Nov. 12th. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts on distance learning, the desire to return to in-person learning, and other areas. Family feedback is incredibly important. On the website, there is an update video, presentation materials, and a summary of health and safety standards - all translated into Spanish, English, Chinese and Arabic. 
Opening small learning pods
We are working with our partners at the Oakland City Parks & Recreation Department who have been providing facilities and supervision for students for over a month now. More recently, we have begun piloting extremely small learning pods on a few OUSD sites supervised by non-profit agencies and OUSD staff. This month, we expect to open up services at several sites for some of our Special Education students who have significantly regressed in their skills because of this interruption in their schooling.

I really appreciate the leadership and thoughtfulness of people around our community and on our staff as we work toward an approach to help keep our community safe and on the path to reopening. 

There is no straightforward path to reopening, but I have the utmost confidence that everybody in our community will bring their best selves, perspectives, and thoughts into this space as we move forward together.
Please share your thoughts on this message
In Community,
Kyla Signature  
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell
Superintendent
www.ousd.org
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