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Oaklasnd Unified School District  
Connecting with Kyla  
October 1, 2020
Dear Oakland Community,

Earlier today, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) issued a new order which includes a new timeline under which schools may start the process to reopen for in-person learning pending county review. To be clear, this would not be normal school. It would be some kind of blended/hybrid learning model which meets all health and safety requirements. Below you will find information about the conditions established by the county as well as the additional issues that OUSD must address BEFORE we are able to reopen schools in Oakland.

OUSD will likely remain, primarily, in distance learning through the end of December 2020.
As we shared in a previous message, we remain focused on the 4Ss (Science, Safety, Staff Support, and Student Learning) when working toward re-opening our schools. Additionally, we are committed to the following conditions in our reopening plan:
  • Retaining a distance-only option for families:  There will be a distance-only option for any student wishing to remain in distance learning all year.
  • Aligning to public health guidance:  Returning to in-person instruction will only be done in alignment with local public health guidance.
  • Reaching an agreement with our labor partners:  Returning to in-person instruction will only be done in agreement with our labor partners.
  • Offering targeted in-person supports:  We remain steadfast in our approach to prioritizing in-person services for our highest need students first, in small groups across the district.
There are new requirements from the County for when schools are eligible to reopen.
When Alameda County was in the Purple Tier, opening schools for any in-person instruction required a waiver issued by the County. We are now in the Red Tier. This means that schools still cannot just reopen immediately, but are required to submit a "reopening plan" for review by the County. The new public health order also includes a timeline for when different schools/grade levels are eligible to reopen upon county review of their reopening plan:
  • Elementary Schools (TK - 6):  According to the new health order, “As of October 13, elementary schools (transitional kindergarten-6th grade) that complete a COVID-19 health and safety reopening plan are permitted to open.” Elementary schools are required to submit their plan in advance to the Alameda County Office of Education for review and then to post their reopening plans to their school or school district website.  Schools planning to open must notify the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency of their decision and provide the website link to their plan.
  • Middle Schools (7-8) and High Schools (9-12): According to the release, “Alameda County will consider permitting middle and high school students to return to in-person education in four to twelve-week phases as local disease conditions allow.” 
Reopening Plan Requirements
The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) issued a statement today in which County Superintendent Karen Monroe said:

“These [reopening] plans must adhere to the state’s guidance for schools and school-based programs, as well as guidance and direction from ACPHD that include the implementation of face coverings, physical distancing, stable cohorts, health screenings and cleaning and disinfection protocols, among other measures. They must establish and post a comprehensive reopening plan which must be publicly available to students, staff and community. Those plans will be submitted to ACOE in advance of opening, reviewed for completeness and forwarded to county public health where they will also be posted on the ACPHD website.”

Aligning to public health and safety conditions
The minimum health and safety standards OUSD would have to meet can be found on the Alameda County Office of Education’s webpage. It covers a range of issues such as face masks, social distancing, and use of small cohorts.
Additionally, we will reopen for blended/hybrid instruction subject to agreements with our labor partners.
Another condition to reopening for in-person instruction is, of course, the need to reach agreements with our labor unions. We recently reached an agreement to open small learning hubs for special education students with the support of AFSCME members (see below for more information). AFSCME represents OUSD’s Paraeducators, LVNs, Custodians, 504 Technicians and Food Service Workers. OUSD and OEA, our teachers union, agreed to return to negotiations on in-person learning, which will begin in October. We look forward to jointly shaping a hybrid model through this process with OEA and all labor groups involved.

As a reminder, we are currently in the Red Tier because our countywide COVID indicators have been improving. If those numbers worsen, we could go back to the Purple Tier and revert to the  previous set of rules and guidelines about schools.

OUSD is moving forward with opening learning hubs. 
Initially, the learning hubs are being operated by the city at city facilities, with staff from partner agencies. Soon, however, we hope to add new learning hubs at District campuses starting with hubs for students with special needs. This is consistent with the “phased in” approach to in-person learning we shared in the summer. With these hubs, we want to provide services and support to students who need it the most - students with certain disabilities and students who have, or are at greatest risk of  experiencing significant learning loss. These supports will have extensive safety protocols in place.

We are mindful of the strong opinions within our community. Some families will not consider any in-person options while others are urging our District to provide an opportunity for in-person learning. We empathize with all of our families under these extraordinary circumstances and are working to serve families as best we can given our COVID-19 circumstances.

Thank you for your continued patience and support during these difficult times. Please know that we are working hard to create the best and safest learning environment possible for our students, staff, and community.
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Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell
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