Thursday, Sep 2 at 6:23 PM • Oakland Unified School District
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Dear Oakland Unified Community,
I hope the first four weeks of the school year have treated you and your student(s) well. Today is the final day of classes for students this week, as tomorrow is a Professional Development Day for our teachers. Professional learning opportunities such as these are essential for supporting our educators’ career development, giving them additional tools with which to support students, and achieving quality community schools.
I wish teachers a fruitful day working with their peers, learning from colleagues, and attending virtual summits of interest on relevant topics such as Implementing Racial Justice and Healing in Oakland Schools, organized by our own Office of Equity. OUSD staff can sign up for this summit at tinyurl.com/fall2021racialjustice.
Outlined below, please find COVID-related updates. If you haven’t already done so, please remember to get vaccinated as soon as you can, and wear a mask, to protect yourself, your family and friends, and our community.
As always, I thank you for your partnership in safeguarding the health of our school communities and ensuring our students continue to thrive during these challenging times.
I wish you and your family a restorative Labor Day weekend.
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell
Travel with Caution:
As we head into the holiday weekend, I want to remind everyone in our community to travel with caution. The CDC and CDPH recently released their updated travel guidance, urging anyone who is not fully vaccinated to delay their travel plans – or if you must travel – to get tested before and after traveling. Post-travel quarantines are also recommended for any unvaccinated individual.
Layers of Protection are Working:
The good news that has us cautiously optimistic is that the measures we have in place seem to be working, as the numbers of cases among students and staff appear to be declining. If the measures were not working, we would expect to see the numbers rising.
I want to thank you – all of our staff, family members, and students – for your hard work following our public health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks, getting vaccinated, staying home when you have symptoms, keeping our ventilation systems running, and getting tested during modified quarantine. Because of your diligence, we have been able to bring more than 34,000 students back to school in person.
The COVID Case Dashboard shows the latest data available in OUSD. There was a spike in positive cases at the start of the school year, which was expected as we returned to campuses from the summer break. And while in the first four weeks of school we had 11 classrooms that went through full at-home quarantine, modified quarantine and secondary vaccination rates allowed the vast majority of our sites to keep our 2,300+ classrooms open across the District.
Ensuring that students have access to school every day, in person, would not have been possible without everyone doing their part to keep all of us safe–we are profoundly grateful for our entire community taking all of the necessary precautions to keep our campuses safe and our children in school.
Update for High Schools:
As of this week, we are no longer having classes at the high school level enter modified quarantine following a notice of a positive case exposure, in which students stay at school and get tested twice a week. In these cases, classes will do a full quarantine at home. Fully vaccinated students who are asymptomatic may continue attending school in-person, regardless of their prolonged close contact status. We are asking everyone in our high school community to focus on getting vaccinated as the best form of protection against COVID-19.
In terms of testing, this change in guidance means that the District’s rapid response teams are no longer testing at high schools, and instead focusing on our elementary and middle school students, who are almost entirely unvaccinated. Staff and students who would like to access testing can do so at our ten testing hubs, with their healthcare providers, or at community testing sites.
We continue to hear your concerns with regard to limited testing and availability of tests. We share your frustration and are doing everything we can to make testing more consistent and available, and to procure more tests for our school sites. Lack of testing kits is not an OUSD specific problem; as shared last week, there is currently a shortage of COVID tests in California and we are on the verge of a national shortage, as the models of tests purchased by CDPH for school districts are backordered.
We are currently running very low on at-home and PCR tests across the District, as we are trying to conserve those tests in short supply for individuals who need them the most. We are in frequent contact with our partners at the state level and continue to advocate for Oakland students and staff.
Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. We are partnering with the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) to host vaccination pop up clinics at several OUSD school sites where any student or family member 12 years of age or older can get vaccinated for free.
Upcoming vaccination pop ups will be held at Fremont High, Oakland High, Oakland International High, Oakland Technical High, Skyline High, and United For Success Academy. Also, clinics at Madison Park Academy, Rudsdale School, McClymonds High, Castlemont High, the Youth Heart Clinic at MetWest High, La Escuelita and Dewey Academy are all in the works. For details on all the school-based vaccination events, and additional community-based vaccine clinics, please visit www.ousd.org/vaccine.