COVID-19 in Oakland: OUSD and al fresco dining updates

An image of a desk with a few books, an apple, and ABC blocks
Photo by Element5 Digital via Unsplash.

Oakland now has 3,259 positive COVID-19 cases. Alameda County is at 8,478 cases (data as of July 14), nearly doubling the number of cases from just a month ago (there were 4,390 cases on June 14). The county is on the state’s watchlist.

High Cases Delay Students Returning to Classrooms in August

Last Friday, OUSD announced that K-12 district schools will not be physically open to students for up to four weeks beginning August 10.

On Monday, the district held a virtual parents’ meeting (watch meeting on YouTube here) with some more details, although it also leaves a lot of questions. The district announced that re-opening will first focus on elementary students and “those who need it the most, such as special education, homeless or those in foster care” (via SJ Mercury News). In addition, the students who need laptops will be given Chromebooks and wifi hotspots, according to the district.

Oakland Education Association, the teachers’ union, was upset that the district announced plans while still in the midst of bargaining. One of the main points is the lack of discussion around teacher protection and safety. It seems there is no clear plan on how often and when teachers would be tested for COVID-19, and would be left up to teachers themselves to find test sites. There is not clear contact tracing plan, either.

In Arizona, a teacher who worked in a classroom with two other teachers this summer passed away from COVID-19, even though there were no students in class. (Some recent studies show that transmission of COVID-19 is more likely to occur between adults, rather than from children to adults; however, children are not tested much in the U.S.).

Oakland Voices will an update about the labor negotiations with OUSD. Stay tuned.

Outdoor Dining Open in Oakland

After some back and forth, outdoor dining resumes in Oakland. Alameda County is on the state’s watchlist for having too many and an increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases. The county applied for a variance to allow outdoor dining and also for the Oakland Zoo to open, both of which have been approved. Masks are required for al fresco dining, except when eating and drinking.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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