Parents call on Oakland school district to implement weekly COVID testing

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Just days before students are set to head back to the classroom, members of the Oakland community are urging the Oakland Unified School District to take more precautions.

Parents and staff have started a petition to demanding that the board put in place weekly onsite COVID testing for anyone who wants it.

KRON4’s Amanda Hari spoke to the woman who started the petition about why she started it.

The woman, who is a teacher, says she has been very concerned about the health and safety of the students from the beginning of the pandemic.

She wants more people to be aware that weekly testing is a precaution that the district has the ability to take.

“I feel like this is something really, really important to help keep our community and our kids safe,” Olivia Udovic said.

Udovic is an Oakland Unified School District kindergarten teacher and a mother of two OUSD students.

She says the schools have great ventilation, HEPA filters, and masking — but the school board could be doing more.

“Testing is a really critical area,” she said.

So she started this change dot org petition Thursday night calling for the board to provide the testing — it has already received hundreds of signatures.

“We delivered it in person Shanthi Gonzales house, she’s the school board president,” Udovic said. “She wasn’t there but we left a message with her husband.”

Oakland school board district 5 director Mike Hutchinson says he supports the petition.  

“It is a bare minimum safety requirement to have COVID testing offered at all of our schools,” Hutchinson said.

He says he is pushing the board to make sure it happens.

“I’ve introduced a resolution which will be coming at Wednesday’s school board meeting to call for weekly testing.”

Hutchinson says OUSD has $300 million from the state of California in COVID relief funds that could be used towards this effort.

“I’ve introduced a resolution which will be coming at Wednesday’s school board meeting to call for weekly testing.”

Hutchinson said he’s disappointed that the first board meeting is Wednesday when school starts on Monday.

But he’s hopeful things will be set in motion at that meeting.

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