OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Monday will be the first day of school for Oakland Unified School District students.

The fall semester will begin virtually as the teachers’ union and district hash out plans for the school year.

The two sides are figuring out a final plan on what a school day will actually look like virtually – as of friday no agreement has been made but the district says students will be learning from home for the foreseeable future.

“Families can expect to be hearing from their schools if they haven’t already and they can always reach out to their schools as well,” Oakland Unified School District spokesperson John Sasaki said.

On Monday, thousands of students with OUSD will report to class virtually.

In a Zoom call Friday, Sasaki had little to say about specific teaching plans – partly because the district is still in negotiations with labor partners.

“The beginning of the year is so important for teachers to bond with their students, to get to know their students, to know their backgrounds and things they deal with outside of school and they can’t do that because we are all distance learning,” he said.

The teachers’ union and district have been negotiating logistics – teachers are asking for a reduced schedule working five hours a day.

The Oakland Education Association posted their proposal on Facebook asking for more time to plan for distance learning and an hour of live interaction with students.

OUSD posted their proposal on July 29 – requesting that teachers and other oea members work their normal hours which is up to six and a half hours.

The district spent the week distributing computers and WiFi hotspots to students.

School Board President Jody London had this to say about the new normal.

“To students, I know this is going to look very different than what you’re used to and what you’re hoping for and we’re going to get there,” London said. “We’re going to make it work. We’re going to figure out how to make the best of this situation and how to make some lemons out of lemonade.”

Attendance is mandatory for students for every class. As long as Alameda County remains on the state’s watch list, Oakland city schools cannot reopen for in-person learning. That of course applies to all schools within the county.

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