OAKLAND (KPIX) — The first day of school is three days away and the Oakland Unified School District and teachers’ union are still at odds over how classes will be conducted on Monday. That has a lot of parents and students nervous about what to expect.
The good news is: both sides were still at the negotiating table Friday night. The bad news: there still is no deal. A source told KPIX both sides are getting closer. Whether there is a deal or not, school will start on Monday.
“We’re just confused as to what’s going to happen,” said parent Chiang Pinckney. “It’s the first time we’ve been through anything like this and it’s kind of scary.”
Here’s what we do know. School will start in distance-learning mode. It will be like a soft opening for the first two weeks so teachers can get to know their students and their families. That information will help teachers develop a lesson plan.
“We’re going to be doing professional development with our staff and connecting with families to explain how schedules at their schools will work,” said Oakland Unified spokesman John Sasaki.
At this point, parents don’t even know what to do come Monday. “We’re just waiting for a response from her new teacher,” Chiang Pinkney said.
As the school district and teachers try to overcome their differences when it comes to details such as minutes devoted to live instruction versus prerecorded, the uncertainty has taken a toll. Parent Mike Avila lost his job when the pandemic hit and told KPIX “It doesn’t just impact (my son). I don’t have work right now and it’s difficult to find work because I don’t know what’s going to be happening with him during the day.”
As for the digital divide, the district says it’s trying to bridge that gap. In early June, OUSD ordered 25,000 computers. They are expected to arrive next week and will be distributed to students later this month.