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OUSD parents, teachers concerned with lack of resources as distance learning start date approaches

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Distance learning starts Monday for thousands of students in the Oakland Unified School District.

But some parents and teachers are concerned that the technology will not be available for those who need it. However a school district official says there is no need to worry. 

You’re a parent expecting to receive computers so your children can participate in distance learning on the first day of school and…

“No they gave me booklets with two weeks of work for them to do,” Tamonie Benjamin said.

Benjamin says that has been her experience as a parent in the Oakland Unified School District with two children attending Madison Park Academy Primary School. She describes what happened after she took off work to attend a recent registration meeting at the school.

“They asked me if I needed computers for my students. I told them yes. They also asked me about WiFi, I told them yes because my students will be at daycare while I’m at work,” Benjamin said. “They told me they would contact me when it is time to get the computers. School starts on Monday — I haven’t heard anything.”

“We have educators who don’t have the technology,” Fruitvale Elementary School teacher Bethany Meyer said.

Meyer is a special education teacher at Fruitvale Elementary School. She says the students in the district are not alone when it comes to waiting for distance learning technology to arrive as promised.

“We have educators who need hotspots,” Meyer said. “We have district chromebooks. Some of them are very old. They don’t work very well for Zoom.”

“There is no reason to panic,” John Sasaki said. “We understand that some people haven’t got the technology yet.”

OUSD Spokesperson John Sasaki wants students and teachers to know the computers are on the way.

“This is obviously a part of the Oakland undivided campaign. That’s been kind of behind the 8 ball for a while because the supply lines have been disrupted,” Sasaki said. “Getting the computers in the quantity we ordered has not been easy. we ordered them in early june. This week they’re starting to arrive and won’t be ready to go as far the computers students get to keep for themselves until the end of the month.”

In the meantime?

“What we want is for our students and our families to get in touch with their schools,” Sasaki said. “They can email the office. Email the principal. Email their teacher.”

And for now, be patient while OUSD gets this all sorted out.

“I have never had an issue with this school,” Benjamin said. “I love this school. My daughter graduated from this school.”

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