|OUSD press release|
Oakland, CA — Five weeks into the COVID-19 school closures, Oakland Unified School District is announcing that two employees/volunteers involved in the food distribution program and the device distribution program have tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, all of our distribution events have extensive health and safety protocols in place to mitigate such an incident and help protect everyone involved.
In each instance, the employee/volunteer worked at distribution events while experiencing no symptoms, and then within days of their last visit to a school, they developed symptoms, and later tested positive. Once each of these individuals felt symptoms set in, they self-isolated, reported the situation to their supervisor, and got themselves tested. OUSD is not identifying the individuals because of privacy laws, and the District is not publicly releasing the names of the sites where they worked, as that information could lead others to know the individuals’ identities. In both cases, it has now been more than a week since the individuals were at a school site.
OUSD protocols call for our custodial staff to deep clean any site potentially affected by a case of COVID-19 per CDC guidelines before anyone returns. During the food distribution events, all protocols were followed regarding social distancing, cleaning regularly, and the proper use of gloves and masks. Any employee or volunteer showing symptoms is ordered to stay home and away from work in alignment with CDC recommendations.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across our region and the nation, this development was not unexpected, although the District and our staff continue to do everything possible to minimize the risk of infection. Like grocery store workers and first responders, our nutrition services staff and volunteers are front line workers whose jobs are critical to the students and families of Oakland. That’s why the impacted sites are quickly cleaned and returned to service, since our District community depends on them.
We are thankful for the support of the city of Oakland, which gives our essential workers and volunteers who have been at the sites priority access to COVID-19 testing in case of potential exposure.
For our 12 food distribution sites, OUSD created an internal Health and Safety Team which visits all sites to observe practices and provide feedback for improvement. Every day, the team makes recommendations for improving safety practices (e.g., physical distancing, effective use of masks) and ensuring staff members feel appreciated and cared for. County Health Department food inspectors have visited our sites and told us they are impressed with our food safety and COVID-19 safety practices.
Additional OUSD employees or volunteers testing positive for COVID-19 will not be unexpected in a global pandemic. If and when that happens, OUSD will inform the local site staff and community as appropriate.
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
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