Oakland

Oakland Students Skip Classes Over COVID Safety Concerns

NBC Universal, Inc. Some high school students in Oakland plan to skip classes Tuesday in protest of COVID practices on campus. Cierra Johnson reports.

Some high school students in Oakland skipped classes Tuesday in protest of COVID practices on campus.

About 1,200 students who signed a petition to boycott classes at MetWest High School took action after Oakland teachers earlier in the month held a "sickout" over COVID-19 safety concerns, forcing several schools to close down during the planned demonstration.

Some high school students in Oakland are planning to boycott classes over COVID-19 safety concerns.

The student petition called for the following from the Oakland Unified School District:

  • Classes moved to online instruction
  • PCR and rapid testing twice a week
  • KN95 and N95 masks for all students

Teachers from three elementary schools also planned a "sickout" Tuesday in solidarity with the students' safety demands.

The three schools participating are Acorn Woodland, Bridges Academy, and United for Success Academy.

Here's a statement the Oakland Unified School District provided on Monday:

“The District is aware of a petition that some OUSD students are circulating. We share the students’ concern about the spike in omicron cases of COVID-19. That concern is why we have distributed KN-95 and N-95 masks to all staff. We have also received 200,000 KN-95 masks for all students. They are being distributed now. We have had the supplies for new covered eating spaces at dozens of schools, including new tables and shade structures, on order since, in some cases, last summer.

"Supply line issues have slowed their delivery significantly. Where deliveries have been made, our staff is already installing these structures at schools, and this process will continue as we receive more of the supplies. As far as testing goes, like we have been doing since last year, we have testing available to students at ten hubs across the District. We are also doing weekly pooled testing at elementary schools, and have bi-weekly drop-in testing for our secondary schools.

"We are already meeting, or are in the process of meeting, most of the demands noted in this petition. And we will continue to work towards fulfilling the rest in the coming weeks. The best thing that all students can do to protect themselves is to get vaccinated and boosted. We are offering vaccine pop-ups at multiple locations this month (as we did in November and December). We thank our students for staying in front of these issues, and bringing their concerns to District leadership. We will continue to follow the guidance from local, state, and federal COVID safety guidelines.”