OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – A tentative agreement has been reached between the Oakland Unified School District and the union that represents Oakland teachers.
“Our focus right now really is opening in the Spring,” Oakland Unified School District spokesperson John Sasaki said.
Now that a tentative bargain has been reached between the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association, when will students return to their classrooms?
“Our plan is to have students back in class starting on March 30th, which is Tuesday, just two weeks from tomorrow. We are certainly hoping that we get to a point, very very soon, whether it’s for Summer school or Fall, where it will be much more like a 5-day a week model but, I don’t think that will be happening in the spring,” Sasaki said.
March 30th represents the first phase of students returning to school. It includes pre-kindergarten to second grade as well as priority students. the second phase starts on April 19.
KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun: “So April 19th represents the full return of all students at OUSD?”
Second Vice President Chaz Garcia: “Potentially but, really what I am learning in conversations with the district is that there are a large number of students especially in secondary who want to remain in distance learning.”
In fact, the lead negotiator for the teachers’ union Chaz Garcia says distance learning will remain an option for both teachers and students.
“Yes! Distance learning will remain a piece of what we’re doing until the end of the year,” Garcia said.
Teachers being vaccinated for COVID-19 is also optional for phase 1 according to the tentative deal.
“We wouldn’t make them mandatory but we did put it into the language that to be a volunteer phase they need to be vaccinated. The rationale for that is while things are much better and things are opening up we’re still in a dangerous zone so, we want t have every mitigating factor in effect,” Garcia said.
Local school districts receiving money from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will help modify OUSD schools.
“Somewhere in the neighborhood of $12.5 million. That’s going to help us a lot, making a big difference in making sure that we are able to do all we need to do to ensure we do this safely,” Sasaki said.
Next steps are the agreement being put to a vote by union members.
Then the final vote will be held by the school board. If all goes well the deal can be finalized sometime next week.