Frustrated OUSD father describes school enrollment process last-minute, confusing

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Frustrated and confused — An East Bay father is voicing his concern about getting his son ready for school as thousands of students are expected to start Monday morning.

Oakland Unified School District is set to resume distance learning in less than a week.

KRON4 talked to a parent who describes the process as last minute and confusing.

It is a series of texts that reads:

“Please take a moment to fill out this survey to let us know what your tech needs are.”
“It’s mandatory to register your child to assign them a teacher.”
“Yes. All students need to register.”

“School starts on Monday and to receive texts this week, one week before school starts, asking parents to register, asking parents asking parents if they have access to electronic devices?” John Jones III said. 

That is the look of some serious parental frustration on the face of John Jones III.

He says he received the texts this week from Horace Mann Elementary School in Oakland regarding what he has to do to get his 5-year-old son ready for the first day of school Monday. 

The problem he says? Conflicting messages. 

One text says all students need to register but he says on the OUSD’s website it says returning students do not have to reapply.

“But it is still confusing,” Jones said. 

He says this text containing three links for completing the registration didn’t help.

“You register. It’s asking for a verification code. There’s no link, prompt or information letting me know how to access that verification code and I’m someone who is somewhat savvy when it comes to navigating the websites. If I am having that difficulty I can imagine the parents having a harder time,” Jones said. 

The only option left is to complete the registration process in-person, which is a major challenge for this single father who is also a working parent.

“That means I have to do two things. I have to find time to take off of work to go there in-person and number two, I have to secure child care. Once again we’re talking about the pandemic at a time where parents don’t want to have their kids at different places,” Jones said. 

KRON4 reached out to OUSD to find out why returning students don’t automatically advance to the next level. Still waiting for their reply.

Jones says the problem extends beyond him and his son Josiah.

“At this point when you’re requiring every student, you’re talking about tens of thousands of students which is impacting tens-of-thousands of family members. You could have alleviated that by just waving that requirement right there,” Jones said. 

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