reopening schools

Parents Concerned After Oakland School District Delays Some Reopening Plans

According to Oakland school officials, some of their teachers say they are not ready to go back

NBC Universal, Inc.

It’s going to be another week of Zoom classes for thousands of Oakland Unified School District students.

At first, the district and the teachers’ union agreed to reopen all elementary schools for certain grades and vulnerable students by Tuesday, March 30.

According to Oakland school officials, some of their teachers now say they are not ready to go back.

That means that less than half of all Oakland elementary schools will reopen on time. Next Tuesday was going to be a big day for five-year-old Bruce Casey.

Bruce’s father Shay Casey told NBC Bay Area that his son is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

Wearing a face mask and carrying a bookbag, little Bruce was going to be ready for in-person kindergarten at Martin Luther King Elementary in Oakland when they got an email.

“Later in the day from the principal, we got an email saying, oh yeah, the Special E.D. classes are not starting until April 19,” Shay Casey said.

For Bruce Casey, next Tuesday is going to be another day in front of a computer screen. “It’s hard for him to pay attention and to stay on task. he wants to get up and run around,” said Shay Casey.

Despite an agreement between the district and the teachers’ union to reopen schools starting March 30, the district says only 33% of teachers said they were ready to return to the classroom by Tuesday.

Oakland mother Meghan Kelley has two boys at home. One of them attends Oakland Tech High School and the younger son is going to be a freshman there next year.

Kelley said delaying schools from reopening is only going to make education more inequitable.

“I have two tutors. Three times a week. There’s just not enough instruction,” she said.

District officials say 83% of teachers say they will return to school by April 14, when teachers and staff are required to be back.

The district has yet to say when it’s time for all high school students to return to school.

“My greatest is concern that we’re not going to be ready for re-entry in the fall,” Kelley said.

Editor's note: This story was updated to remove an inaccurate statistic from the previous version.

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